Mangrove ecosystem of India: Conservation and management
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Mangroves are distributed to the lower latitude (32 degrees S - 3 degrees N) in the tropical regions. The maximum diversity and area cover lies in the regions between 25 degrees S - 25 degrees N. These habitats are ecologically productive and are of socio-economic importance. They play a significant role in the sedimentation helping in the land building process, and also protect the same by reducing erosion with the help of their specialised root network. It harbours various kinds of organisms including some of commercial importance. Mangrove regions being rich in detritus (organic matter), serve as a natural nursery for a variety of fishes and shellfishes, and hence are used for aquaculture practices. In spite of their importance, these valuable natural resource of the world are declining rapidly due to their over-exploitation for immediate commercial gains. India has a coastline of about 6,500 km along the mainland. In addition, it also has the coastline of the Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep groups of islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea respectively. Coastal wetlands area of about 63,600 sq km in the country hardly includes about 5% of mangrove cover. Due to unawareness regarding the importance and lack of management in the past has caused enormous damage to the mangrove habitats in the country. Lately, these habitats are categorised under ecological sensitive regions, vide Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). Act of the country (Anon. 1990). The present document discusses major biotic constituents of the mangrove ecosystem from India and its conservation and management aspects.
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