Other States

Odisha bid to preserve all mangrove species in a small nursery

Saving from extinction: The mangrove nursery inside Bhitarkanika National Park.

Saving from extinction: The mangrove nursery inside Bhitarkanika National Park.

Odisha’s Forest and Environment department officials are elated over rise in mangrove forest in the State, but what excites them more is a small nursery, which may go on to become a field gene-bank for the coastal ecosystem, especially mangroves.

Conservation of many important species poses serious challenge as not all of them have seeds or capacity to reproduce vegetatively. Preserving important species in the field is considered as the best mode of conservation, and what can be the best place to preserve mangrove species than the Bhitarkanika National Park.

Odisha’s mangrove vegetation constitute only 5.17% of India’s total mangrove cover, but its species diversity is second to none in the country. As far as species distribution in global-level is concerned, only Papua New Guinea has more mangrove species than that of Bhitarkanika in Odisha.

Species diversity

“We have tried to showcase Bhitarkanika’s rich species diversity through a nursery being developed at Dangamal. So far we have managed to raise 32 species of mangrove in the nursery. We will double it up by collecting more species from Mahanadi delta areas in next six months,” said J.D. Pati, Divisional Forest Officer of Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division.

Mr. Pati said there are 88 species in mangrove, back mangrove and mangrove associates. “We usually use 22 species in plantation activities while rest grows in natural regeneration process,” he said.

Sundarbans, in West Bengal, is known as world’s largest mangrove ecosystem. However, species found in Sundarbans vary between 24 and 26. Bhitarkankia has got more than 60 species.

There has not been any nursery available in other districts such as Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Puri and Ganjam districts. The nursery being developed in Bhitarkanika would help provide saplings for propagation in other districts.

Moreover, if any species gets wiped out due to man-made or ecological reasons, the nursery will be in a position to replenish it for further propagation.

Significant gain

According to the biennial India’s State of Forest Report 2021, published by the Forest Survey of India, the States that have made significant gain in mangrove coverage are Odisha (8 sq km) and Maharashtra (4 sq km).

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Printable version | May 14, 2022 6:22:42 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-bid-to-preserve-all-mangrove-species-in-a-small-nursery/article38294479.ece