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Mangroves Vegetation in India


General Information

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Mangroves are a special type of vegetation found in intertidal regions where freshwater and saltwater mix, such as bays, estuaries, creeks, and lagoons. These salt-tolerant plants can survive harsh conditions and are economically and ecologically significant.

Characteristics of Mangroves

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Important Points
  • They represent the littoral forest ecosystem.
  • Found in low-lying areas of tropical and subtropical regions (24°N to 38°S).
  • Also known as Halophytes - salt-tolerant plants.
  • Trees grow 8-20 meters high with thick leaves.
  • Require high solar radiation to filter saline water through roots.
  • Have pneumatophores (blind roots) for respiration in anaerobic soils.
  • Viviparity: seeds germinate on trees before falling.
  • Different root types: Prop (into water), Air (vertical from mud), Stilt (emerging from trunk).
  • Types of Mangroves: Red, Black, White.

Major Mangroves in India

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  • Sundarban Groves
  • Mahanadi Mangroves
  • Krishna Godavari Mangroves
  • Mangroves of Gujarat
  • Ratnagiri Mangroves
  • Goa Mangroves
  • Cauvery Deltaic Mangroves
  • Andaman Nicobar Mangroves

Mangroves in Sundarbans

Mangroves and Carbon Sequestration

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Mangrove habitats, like those in Kochi, can store significant amounts of carbon long-term despite being fragmented. They play a crucial role in carbon sequestration, comparable to mangrove forests globally.

Kochi Mangroves

State Forest Report 2019

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  • Mangrove cover in India increased by 54 sq km from 2017 to 2019.
  • Major challenges: Lack of oxygen, high salinity, tidal inundations.
  • Adaptations: Succulent leaves, sunken stomata, pneumatophores, vivipary, stilt roots, buttresses.
  • India has 3% of the total mangrove cover in South Asia.
  • Important species: Avicennia officinalis, Morinda citrifolia, Rhizophora mucronata, and more.

Importance of Mangroves

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Key Points
  • Protect coastal areas from tsunamis, storm surges, and soil erosion.
  • Help in sediment deposition and reduce seawater pollution.
  • Provide breeding grounds for many fish species and fauna.
  • Source of livelihood for local communities through honey collection, tanning, wax, and fishing.
  • Act as significant carbon sinks.

Conservation of Mangroves

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Conservation Techniques
  • Gujarat: Direct seed sowing, raised bed plantations, fishbone channel plantations.
  • Andhra Pradesh: Eco-Development Committees, Van Samrakshan Samithi for conservation projects.
  • Maharashtra: Restoration, protection, regeneration, and maintenance techniques.