T.N. plans to increase the existing mangrove cover in five years

Fifteen hectares of mangroves planted at Killai in Cuddalore district under Green Tamil Nadu Mission; 67.8 sq km of mangroves will be cultivated in the next five years, says Supriya Sahu

Updated - February 19, 2023 01:17 am IST

Published - February 19, 2023 01:00 am IST - CHENNAI

The fishbone model is used to allow water to reach every nook and cranny of the mangrove area by diverting water from the existing creeks and channels. 

The fishbone model is used to allow water to reach every nook and cranny of the mangrove area by diverting water from the existing creeks and channels.  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Nearly 15 hectares of mangroves have been planted at Killai in Cuddalore district in a fishbone model by the Forest Department as part of the Green Tamil Nadu Mission.

The State plans to map and restore the degraded areas in Pichavaram and increase mangrove cover by 0.6 square kilometres. According to government estimates, the mangrove cover in Tamil Nadu is 44.94 square kilometres (sq km), out of which 7.73 sq km is in Cuddalore.

Supriya Sahu, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Environment, Climate Change, and Forests, said, “Under the Green Tamil Nadu Mission, we will add more mangroves than the total mangrove cover in the State now. About 67.8 sq km of mangroves will be cultivated in the next five years,” she said.

The fishbone model is used to allow water to reach every nook and cranny of the mangrove area by diverting water from the existing creeks and channels. “The fishbone model, also called mitochondrial model, is one way to conserve mangroves and enhance biodiversity as they are breeding grounds for shellfish,” said Perumal Murugesan, Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Annamalai University.

The model has found success in earlier applications at Pichavaram. According to a research paper published in Remote Sensing, a peer-reviewed journal, a considerable extent of non-mangrove areas were converted to mangroves between 2003 and 2019. “This conversion was mostly the result of the efforts undertaken by the State Forest Department to (re)introduce mangroves in Pichavaram through the implementation of fishbone plantations,” the study noted.

The area of natural mangroves increased by 62 ha — from 600 to 662 ha — while the area of mangroves planted in fishbone plots expanded by about 139 ha, from 118.5 to 257.7 ha, the study found.

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