Why in news? Mangroves got big push in the Union Budget for 2023-24 that announced an initiative for mangrove plantation along the coastline and on salt pan lands, under MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes).
What are mangroves?
- Mangroves are salt-tolerant plant communities found in tropical and subtropical intertidal regions.
- They are important refuges of coastal biodiversity and also act as bio-shields against extreme climatic events.
- The IFSR report also points out that there has been an increase in the mangrove cover from 4,046 sq km in 1987 to 4,992 sq km in 2021.
Where do mangroves grow in India?
- India has about 4,992 sq km (0.49 million hectares) of mangroves, according to the Indian State of Forest Report (IFSR) 2021.
- Mangroves in India are distributed across nine States and three Union Territories with West Bengal having the highest mangrove cover of 2,114 sq km.
- The mixing of freshwater and saline water which help in gradual formation of the mangrove forest
What are the threats to this ecosystem?
- India’s mangrove ecosystem faces constant pressure due to increasing population in coastal areas and the rising demand for land, timber, fodder, fuel-wood and other non-wood forest products like fisheries.
- Along the country’s coastline, land reclamation for agriculture, aquaculture and industrial activities have occurred in areas which are under the Coastal Regulation Zone.
- Discharge of untreated domestic and industrial effluents into the rivers impede the natural inter-tidal flow along the coast
What are the types of mangroves ?
The tree species that form a mangrove forest or ecosystem are broadly classified as true mangroves and mangroves associates.
- True mangroves are the ones which display morphological adaptations for a high saline mangrove ecosystem such as pneumatophores, vivipary or crypto vivipary germination and salt-secreting cells.
- The term ‘mangrove associates’ was coined for flora representing non-arborescent, herbaceous, sub-woody and climber species that are found to grow mostly in regions adjoining the tidal periphery of mangrove habitats
Which agency will be responsible for it?
- The Budget states that MISHTI will be implemented through convergence between the MGNREGS (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme), CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) Fund and other sources.
- The initiative requires extensive work with local communities.
Why is it crucial for fighting climate change?
- The ‘State of World Mangroves 2022’ points out that mangroves are estimated to hold up to four times the amount of carbon as some other ecosystems.
- The loss of even 1% of remaining mangroves could lead to the loss of 0.23 gigatons of CO2 equivalent(equating to over 520 million barrels of oil), the report states.
- An initiative like MISHTI is in line with India’s Nationally Determined Contributions announced by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, through additional more forest and tree cover by 2030.
- India joined the Mangrove Alliance for Climate, at the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties in Egypt.