Importance of Mangroves

Mangroves are shrubs or small trees that grow in coastal saline or brackish water. The term is also used for tropical coastal vegetation consisting of such species.

The reasons why we must work towards conserving and planting more mangroves are given below:

 1. Fisheries

Mangrove forests are home to a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species. These fisheries form an essential source of food for thousands of coastal communities around the world. The forests also serve as nurseries for many fish species, including coral reef fish. A study on the Mesoamerican reef, for example, showed that there are as many as 25 times more fish of some species on reefs close to mangrove areas than in areas where mangroves have been cut down. This makes mangrove forests vitally important to coral reef and commercial fisheries as well.

2. Coastal protection

The dense root systems of mangrove forests trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land. This helps stabilizes the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons is much more severe. By filtering out sediments, the forests also protect coral reefs and seagrass meadows from being smothered in sediment.

3. Tourism

Given the diversity of life inhabiting mangrove systems, and their proximity in many cases to other tourist attractions such as coral reefs and sandy beaches, it is perhaps surprising that only a few countries have started to tap into the tourism potential of their mangrove forests. Places as diverse as Bonaire and offer snorkelling expeditions in and around mangroves to witness a marvellous variety of baby fish, jellyfish, and urchins against a magical background of interwoven roots delving deep into the sandy substrate. Great potential exists elsewhere for revenue generation in this manner, which values the mangroves intact and as they stand.

4. Protection from Global Warming

Mangroves are now looked after by scientists as saviors in the today’s scenario of global warming. We all know that most of the coastal areas throughout the world are going to be affected by sea level rise due to global warming. The effects of which are already visible. Therefore, when most of the coastal areas will be flooded, mangroves can possibly provide a gene bank for cultivating salt tolerant species of crops which could be our future resource.

Fact:The villages of Pichavaram and Muthupet in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were protected by mangroves and suffered less damage than villages without this natural barrier.

Vanashakti’s Mangrove related activities:
Vanashakti has been observing World Wetlands Day since 2011.
In 2012, organized nature walks and cleanup of wastes from mangroves along with Mangrove Society of India (Maharashtra Chapter), Maharashtra Nature Park and various local bodies.
In 2015, Vanashakti organized an event titled ‘Rural and Urban Wetlands: Partners in Co-existence’ in association with Maharashtra State Forest Department’s Mumbai Mangrove Conservation Unit (Mangrove Cell).
In 2016, Vanashakti participated in an event titled ‘Life in Wetlands’ organized by Maharashtra State Forest Department’s Mangrove Cell with a street play Saha Astitva (which means co-existence in Sanskrit on the interdependence of coastal and inland wetlands. Vanashakti also conducts research on Mangroves through “photo documentation, regular visits and archive databases”

6 reasons why we must plant more trees

We have always learnt that trees are life-giving, source of oxygen and lots more. We at Vanashakti have compiled 6 compelling reasons why we MUST plant more and more trees.

1.  7-8 trees are required to generate enough oxygen for one person.

Do you think your city has enough for all?

2. 160 trees per person is required in India to absorb all CO2 produced in the country.

That is by 2013 estimates. The requirement is increasing by the day due to increased emission of CO2.
Source : 1 & 2

3. Clean Air

Researchers at the Davey Institute found that urban trees and forests are saving an average of one life every year per city because of the particulates that they remove from the air. A study in the Journal of Preventative Medicine found that people experienced more deaths from heart disease and respiratory disease when they lived in areas where trees had disappeared. Trees are often referred to as the “lungs of the planet” because of the oxygen they provide to other living things.

4. Increased Property Values

People are drawn to homes and businesses near trees. The proof is in the prices: property values are 7 percent to 25 percent higher for houses surrounded by trees and consumers spend up to 13 percent more at shops near green landscapes. Workers in offices in wooded areas report more productivity and less absenteeism.
Source: 1 & 2

5. Temperature Control

The shade and wind-breaking qualities that trees provide benefit everyone from the individual taking shelter from a hot summer day to entire cities. The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. Planting trees reduces this “heat island effect”. And households with shade trees could spend 12% less on cooling costs in the summer.

6. Trees absorb and block noise and thus reduce stress.

A well placed tree can reduce noise by as much as 40 percent. Shouldn’t more trees be planted along side roads in metro cities such as Mumbai?

Aren’t these reason enough to plant more trees?