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Sundarbans Mangrove under threat
Jul 05, 2017

In news:

Remote sensing and GIS-enabled data offer definite proof for the first time that the mangrove forest cover in the Sunderbans has been depleting alarmingly. From 1986 to 2012, 124.418 sq. km., or about 5.5% of the mangrove cover, was lost. Variable degrees of erosion was observed in at least 18 islands.

What are they?

  • A mangrove is a tree, shrub, palm or ground fern, generally exceeding one half metre in height, that normally grows above mean sea level in the intertidal zone of marine coastal environments and estuarine margins. 
  • A mangrove is also the tidal habitat comprising such trees and shrubs.
  • The word ‘mangrove’ refers to the habitat in the same way as we think of ‘rainforest’ with its mixture of plant types. Sometimes the habitat is called a ‘tidal forest’ or a ‘mangrove forest’ to distinguish it from the trees that are also called mangroves.

Source: The Hindu

Mangroves in India

According to a status report of the Government of India publication, the total area of the mangroves in India, was reckoned at about 6,740 km2. This covered about 7% of the world mangroves (Krishnamurthy, 1987) and 8% of the Indian coastline (Untawale, 1987). But a recent Indian Remote Sensing Data (Nayak, 1993) showed that the total area of the mangroves decreased to 4,474 km2 (Table. 1). The values shown by satellite data shows a decrease in the mangrove area, which may be due to several reasons such as

  • grazing by domestic cattles and exploitation of mangrove woods for fuel and timber
  • the neo-tectonic movement of river courses
  • abatement of upstream freshwater discharges due to construction of dams and reservoirs
  • rapid trend of reclamation of mangrove forests for habitations
  • pollutant discharges from cities and industries etc.

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