The Forest Department is taking steps for growing mangroves along the coastline at a cost of nearly Rs. 75 lakh in addition to the existing mangrove belt spread along Bapatla, Karlapalem Nizampatnam, Pittalavanipalem, and Repalle mandals. An action plan is being prepared for the project which is aimed at augmenting the forest cover while protecting the coastal ecosystem.

The district has only about 22 per cent of its geographical area under forest cover against 33 per cent stipulated in the National Forest Policy.

The process of planting mangroves in 50 hectares along the coastline has begun and it will take several months for them to grow to full size capable of preventing erosion of the shoreline thereby saving lives during cyclones.

Eucalyptus and other trees having commercial potential are being grown on a massive scale along the 100 km-long coastline as part of the Social Forestry program. The augmented mangrove belt will be further strengthening the coastline, according to Additional Principal Conservator of Forests P. Bhaskar Reddy.

The services of Vana Samrakshana Samitis are being utilised for growing the mangroves. Bapatla and Nizampatnam mandals have tremendous potential for growing mangroves and due focus is laid on them.

Mangroves here are home for several valuable plant species and a few types of animals of which there is no proper census.

A comprehensive plan is being drafted keeping all conservation aspects in mind. A clearer demarcation of forest lands has already been undertaken with the aid of Differential Global Positioning System.