Kerala State Biodiversity Board would soon move the proposal to the State government for recognition

The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) plans to provide the mangrove forests of Asramam on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake in the city with a biodiversity heritage tag. The board would soon move the proposal to the State government for recognition, sources said.

Such a status for the Asramam mangroves had been a long-standing demand by environmental activists led by former professor of S.N. College N. Ravi.

The board cleared the status for the Asramam mangroves on the basis of a formal communication from Mayor Prasanna Earnest following a representation by environmental activists led by Prof. Ravi. He said the rich mangroves were destroyed for accommodating developmental activities there.

“Whatever remains should be protected in the larger interests of the environment and biodiversity.” He said there were moves on the part of the District Tourism Promotion Council to clear even the remaining mangroves for carrying out developmental activities under the guise of tourism promotion.

At one stage, even the intervention of the High Court at Prof. Ravi’s instance was needed to stop the destruction of the mangroves.

He said the Asramam mangrove spread was habitat to the highly endangered Syzygium travancoricum species of mangroves. If the area was not protected, even the remaining mangroves would vanish. In addition to being a major spawning ground for several edible marine species, the Asramam mangroves in the past was also home to otters and migratory birds. If proper protection was given these could be brought back, he said.

Prof. Ravi had petitioned the Mayor stating that the authorities of KSBB were keen to protect the spread subject to a recommendation from the Biodiversity Management Committee of the Kollam Corporation of which the Mayor is the chairperson.

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