mangrove forest in india

“Unlocking the Wonders of Mangrove Forest in India” [Map] 2023

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Mangrove forest

Mangroves are salt-tolerant plant communities found in tropical and subtropical intertidal regions of the world. Such areas are characterized by high rainfall (between 1,000 to 3,000 mm) and temperature (ranging between 26°C-35°C). Mangrove species including mangrove forest in India have a wide range of adaptations in their morphology, anatomy, and physiology to help them survive in waterlogged soils, high salinity, and storms and tide surges.

Mangroves are coastal trees that can be found in tropical and subtropical areas. They are unique because they grow in salt water and their pneumatophores (air roots) allow them to breathe even when the water is high. Mangroves provide a number of benefits, including acting as a natural barrier against storms and floods, protecting coastal habitats, and providing a nursery for marine life.

  • “State of World Mangroves 2022” highlights the significant carbon storage capacity of mangroves, estimated to hold up to four times more carbon than other ecosystems.
  • The report warns that even a 1% loss of remaining mangroves could result in a loss of 0.23 gigatons of CO2 equivalent, equivalent to over 520 million barrels of oil.
  • India is a member of the Mangrove Alliance for Climate, having joined at the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties in Egypt.

India budgets for mangroves and wetlands

India’s 2023-24 budget has unveiled two significant programs, MISHTI and Amrit Dharohar, aimed at promoting mangrove afforestation and wetland conservation. These initiatives are part of the government’s latest annual budget and will focus on protecting the country’s unique and valuable ecosystems.

MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes)

MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes) is an innovative program promoting mangrove afforestation along India’s coastlines and saltpan lands. The program will focus on the intensive plantation of mangroves to protect shoreline habitats and generate tangible income. 

The program will be implemented through collaboration between the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) Fund, and other sources. MISHTI represents a promising effort to address environmental degradation and economic challenges in India’s coastal regions.

  • MISHTI is a new initiative aimed at promoting mangrove plantations along India’s coastline and saltpan lands.
  • The program will focus on the intensive afforestation of coastal mangrove forests.
  • The implementation of MISHTI will be achieved through collaboration between MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme), CAMPA Fund (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority Fund), and other sources.

Amrit Dharohar Scheme

Amrit Dharohar Scheme is a new initiative aimed at promoting the sustainable use and preservation of wetlands in India. Over the next three years, the program will focus on enhancing biodiversity, increasing carbon stocks, creating eco-tourism opportunities, and generating income for local communities. 

The scheme recognizes the importance of wetlands for the environment and aims to involve local communities as caretakers of these ecosystems. By focusing on the optimal use of wetlands, Amrit Dharohar Scheme will contribute to the conservation of India’s valuable natural resources and support sustainable economic growth.

  • Amrit Dharohar Scheme is a new program aimed at promoting the sustainable use and preservation of wetlands in India.
  • The program will be implemented over the next three years.
  • The goals of the program include:
    • Encouraging optimal use of wetlands
    • Enhancing biodiversity
    • Increasing carbon stocks
    • Creating eco-tourism opportunities
    • Generating income for local communities
  • The scheme places importance on the preservation of wetlands and recognizes the role of local communities as caretakers of these ecosystems.

Geographical Location

  • Mangroves are only found near protected coastlines in tropical or subtropical latitudes, as they are unable to tolerate cold temperatures.
  • They have the remarkable capacity to flourish on saline soil close to the shoreline.
mangrove forest
mangrove forest

The term “mangrove” is derived from the Portuguese word “mangue,” which means “tree,” and the English word “grove,” which refers to trees and shrubs found in shallow, sandy, or muddy areas. Mangroves have prop roots that arise from the trunk and descend into the water. These stilt roots serve as anchors in muddy substrates and also absorb nutrients from the water. Mangroves are important nursery habitats for many marine species, including shrimp, crabs, and fish. They also play a critical role in coastal erosion control and storm damage mitigation.

Mangroves are important places for coastal bio-diversity to hide. They also act as bio-shields to protect against extreme weather events like floods. Mangrove ecosystems are used by a lot of people, mostly in rural areas, for a wide range of biomass-based jobs.

Importance of Mangroves

  • Ecologically mangroves maintains and helps in building the soil. They act as a reservoir in the tertiary assimilation of waste, like the East Kolkatta Wetlands.
  • Mangroves provide protection against cyclones, dissipation of winds, and tidal and wave energy.
  • Mangroves Promote land accretion and fixation of mud banks. 
  • Mangroves protect the coastline by effectively minimising erosion caused by storm surges, currents, waves, and tides.
  • Mangroves enhance water quality by collecting nutrients from runoff that might otherwise contribute to toxic algal blooms offshore.
  • Mangroves make up less than 2% of marine ecosystems, however they are responsible for 10-15% of carbon sequestration. As the leaves and older trees die, they fall to the seabed, taking the carbon with them to be buried in the soil. This carbon is referred described as “blue carbon” because it is stored in coastal ecosystems such as mangrove forests, seagrass beds, and salt marshes.
  • Coral reefs and sea grasses depend on the water-purifying capacity of mangrove forests to maintain clean, healthy water.
  • Mangroves are homes and safe places for many different kinds of animals, including birds, fish, invertebrates, mammals, and plants.

Mangrove Forest Cover Worldwide

As per Global Forest Resource Assessment, 2020 (FRA 2020), world over, 113 countries have Mangrove forests covering an estimated 14.79 million hectares.

  • The total mangrove cover in the globe is 1,500,000 square kilometres.
  • Asia contains the greatest amount of mangroves in the world.
  • South Asia accounts for 8% of the global mangrove cover.
  • India contributes 8% of South Asia’s total mangrove cover.

The largest Mangrove Forest area 2021 is reported in

Asia5.55 million hectares
Africa3.24 million hectares
North and Central America2.57 million hectares
South America2.13 million hectares
Oceania1.30 million hectares
Mangrove Forest

More than 40 percent of the total area of Mangroves was reported to be in just four countries:

Indonesia19 percent of the total
Brazil9 percent
Nigeria7 percent
Mexico6 percent
Mangrove Forest in India

Types of mangrove forest in india

Mangroves offer habitats for a diverse range of species. According to the Champion and Seth Classification, mangrove forest in india are classified as Type Group-4 Littoral & Swamp Forests and are sub-classfied as.

  • Littoral forest,
  • Mangrove scrub,
  • Mangrove forest,
  • Saltwater mixed forest (Heritiera)
  • Brackish water mixed forest (Heritiera)

Important species of mangrove forest in india

  • Avicennia officinalis,
  • Rhizophora mucronata,
  • Sonneratia alba,
  • Avicennia alba,
  • Bruguiera cylindrica,
  • Heritiera littoralis,
  • Phoenix paludosa,
  • Morinda citrifolia.

Spread of Mangrove forest in India

The South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal exclusively accounts for 41.74 % of the mangrove forest in india.

On satellite photos, mangroves have a distinct tone and texture. The government of India has classified the mangrove forest in india as

  • Very Dense (canopy density of 70% and above).
  • Moderately Dense (canopy density of 40% and more but less than 70%).
  • Open categories (canopy density of 10% and more but less than 40%).
mangrove forest in india
mangrove forest in india
mangroves sites in india map
mangroves sites in india map- Mangrove Forest in India

Mangrove forest in india (2021 Assessment)

According to the government’s current estimation for 2021, Mangrove forest in india is 4,992 square kilometres or 0.15 per cent of the country’s overall geographical area.

  • Very Dense Mangrove – 1,475 sq km (29.55 %)
  • Moderately Dense Mangrove – 1,481 sq km (29.67 %) 
  • Open Mangroves – 2,036 sq km (40.78 %). 
  • The Sundarbans: In West Bengal is the world’s biggest mangrove forest zone. It is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Tigers, dolphins, and crocodiles inhabit the forests.
  • Bhitarkanika Mangroves: The second biggest mangrove forest in India, generated by the two river deltas of the Brahmani and Baitarani, is located in Odisha. It is one of India’s most important Ramsar wetlands.
  • Godavari-Krishna Mangroves, Andhra Pradesh: From Odisha to Tamil Nadu, the Godavari-Krishna mangroves stretch.
  • There are mangrove forests in the Ganges, Mahanadi, Krishna, Godavari, and Cauvery river deltas.
  • Kerala‘s backwaters are densely populated with mangrove forests.
  • Pichavaram, in Tamil Nadu, contains a wide area of mangrove-covered water. It is home to several kinds of aquatic birds.
  • Mangrove forest in india has increased by 17 square kilometres since the last evaluation in 2019.
  • Odisha (8 sq km) and Maharashtra (4 sq km) have seen considerable increases in mangrove coverage.
  • The reason for the growth in Mangrove cover in Odisha is mostly due to natural regeneration and plantation efforts on suitable terrain such as river banks along the estuary and intertidal mud-flats linked with locations that are inundated by seawater on a daily cycle. Mangrove forest cover has increased in State Odisha in districts of Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, and Balasore.
  • The rise in Mangrove cover in Maharashtra is primarily due to natural regeneration. The rise has also been noted in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas area.
SI. No.State/UTVery Dense MangroveModerately Dense MangroveOpen MangroveTotalChange with respect to ISFR 2019
9West Bengal9946924282,1142
3Gujarat01691,0061,175-2
10A&N Islands399168496160
1Andhra Pradesh02131924051
6Maharashtra0902343244
7Odisha8194842598
8Tamil Nadu12717450
2Goa0216271
4Karnataka0211133
5Kerala05490
11D&NH and Daman & Diu00330
12Puducherry00220
Total1,4751,4812,0364,99217
Source: ISFR 2021

Here is the list of all 38 Mangroves sites in India in 2021 according to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) (Source: Annual Report MoEF&CC 2020-21). The highest number of mangroves sites in a state is in Maharashtra that is 10 and second on list with 7 sites is Orissa. Also, the four Coral Reef Sites of India is at the end of the article.

Mangroves sites in India

State/Union TerritoriesMangrove Sites
1West BengalSunderbans
2OrissaBhaitarkanika
3OrissaMahanadi
4OrissaSubernarekha
5OrissaDevi
6OrissaDhamra
7OrissaMangrove Genetic Resources Centre
8OrissaChilka
9Andhra PradeshCoringa
10Andhra PradeshEast Godavari
11Andhra PradeshKrishna
12Tamil NaduPichavaram
13Tamil NaduMuthupet
14Tamil NaduRamnad
15Tamil NaduPulicat
16Tamil NaduKazhuveli
17Andaman & NicobarNorth Andamans
18Andaman & NicobarNicobar
19KeralaVembanad
20KeralaKannur (Northern Kerala)
21KarnatakaCoondapur
22KarnatakaDakshin Kannada/Honnavar
23KarnatakaKarwar
24KarnatakaMangalore Forest Division
25GoaGoa
26MaharashtraAchra-Ratnagiri
27MaharashtraDevgarh-Vijay Durg
28MaharashtraVeldur
29MaharashtraKundalika-Revdanda
30MaharashtraMumbra-Diva
31MaharashtraVikroli
32MaharashtraShreevardhan
33MaharashtraVaitarna
34MaharashtraVasai-Manori
35MaharashtraMalvan
36GujaratGulf of Kutchh
37GujaratGulf of Khambhat
38GujaratDumas-Ubhrat
This Table contains the List of Mangroves sites in India in 2021 ( Source Annual Report 2020-21,
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change)

As of 2021 there are 4 Coral Reef Sites in India according to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) (Source: Annual Report MoEF&CC 2020-21).

Coral Reef Sites in India

StateSite
1GujaratGulf of Kutch
2Tamil NaduGulf of Mannar
3Andaman & NicobarAndaman and Nicobar Coral Reef
4LakshadweepLakshadweep
Coral Reef Sites in India --Source: Annual Report MoEF&CC 2020-21

Threat to Mangrove forest

Biotic pressure and natural disasters have a significant negative impact on Mangrove ecosystems. Growing land reclamation for agriculture and industry along coasts, as well as the discharge of untreated home sewage and industrial effluents, are threatening these trees. Upstream actions such as river training and natural erosion and accretion have an impact on the health of mangroves because the appropriate biological flow in rivers is required to flush silt and other pollutants from the mangroves. Many studies have highlighted these issues, and extensive conservation efforts are required to assure the survival of these vulnerable ecosystems.

  • The commercialisation of Coastal Areas: Aquaculture, coastal expansion, rice and palm oil cultivation, and industrial activities are quickly displacing these salt-tolerant trees and the ecosystems they sustain.
  • In the previous 40 years, mangrove coverage has fallen by half. Mangroves make up less than 1% of tropical forests.
  • Temperature Issues: A ten-degree variation in a short amount of time is enough stress to harm the plant, and freezing conditions for merely a few hours can kill some mangrove species.
  • Soil Issues: The soil in which mangroves are rooted is difficult for plants to grow because it is deficient in oxygen.
  • Excessive Human Intervention: Mangroves were able to spread further inland with previous fluctuations in sea level, but human civilisation is now a barrier that restricts how far a mangrove forest may migrate in many areas.
  • Oil spills are another common threat to mangroves.
  • Shrimp Farms: Shrimp farms are responsible for at least 35% of the entire loss of mangrove ecosystems.

Conservation of mangrove forest in India

Mangrove forest in India are under ongoing threat in most nations due to the increasing human population in coastal areas and rising demand for land, wood, fodder, firewood, and other nonwood forest products. Appropriate management strategies are essential for efficient Mangrove conservation.

Sunderban is the world’s biggest single patch of Mangrove Forests, located in the northern Bay of Bengal. Sundarban, which spans around 10,000 square kilometres in Bangladesh and India, was the world’s first Mangrove forest to be scientifically managed, beginning in 1892.

Recognizing the significance of mangroves, the Government of India established a National Mangroves Committee in 1976 to advise the government on problems concerning the conservation and development of mangrove forest in India. The Committee stressed the importance of conducting a survey of the country’s current Mangrove regions. Following it, the government devised a plan for mangrove conservation and protection.

  • UNESCO Designated Sites: Including mangroves in Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage sites, and UNESCO Global Geoparks improves the knowledge, management, and protection of mangrove ecosystems across the world.
  • The International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems (ISME) is a non-governmental organisation founded in 1990 to promote the study of mangroves in order to improve their protection, rational management, and sustainable use.
  • The International Blue Carbon Initiative focuses on reducing climate change by protecting and restoring coastal and marine ecosystems. Conservation International (CI), IUCN, and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission-UNESCO coordinate it (IOC-UNESCO).
  • UNESCO marks International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem on July 26 to increase awareness of mangrove ecosystems and encourage sustainable management and conservation.
  • IUCN and UNDP launched the “Mangroves for the Future” (MFF) programme to encourage investment in the conservation of coastal ecosystems. Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam are among the member states.
  • National Mangrove Committee: In 1976, the Indian government established the National Mangrove Committee, which advises the government on mangrove protection and development.

Download Mangroves sites in India Map HD


Conclusion

  • Mangrove Forest in India are a unique and valuable ecosystem found along the coastlines of India.
  • Mangrove Forest in India provide important habitats for a variety of plant and animal species, including commercially valuable species such as shrimp and fish.
  • Mangrove Forest in India as a critical barrier against coastal erosion and storm surges, protecting coastal communities and infrastructure.
  • They are estimated to hold a high level of carbon, making them an important component in the fight against climate change.
  • Despite their importance, Mangrove Forest in India are facing threats from human activities such as deforestation, land reclamation, and pollution.
  • The government of India has recognized the importance of mangroves and has taken steps to conserve and restore these ecosystems, including initiatives such as MISHTI and the Amrit Dharohar Scheme.
  • The participation of local communities is crucial in the conservation and restoration of Mangrove Forest in India, and efforts to educate and involve them in these initiatives are underway.
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