Mangroves are the plant communities occurring in inter-tidal zones along the coasts of tropical and sub-tropical countries. They are one of the most productive ecosystems. Mangroves represent a rich and diverse living resource and are valuable to both the economy and protection of coastal environments. Mangrove plants belong to several families but possess marked similarity in their physiological characteristics and structural adaptations to similar habitat preferences. Mangroves have been variously described as “coastal woodland” and “inter-tidal forest”.
MANGROVES OF AP
Andhra Pradesh has the geographical advantage of having most of the east flowing rivers in the heart of the state bringing in copious supplies of sediments from the Western and Eastern Ghats and Deccan Plateau up to the coast. The major, medium and minor rivers, which flow through the state, are about 40. Out of these, the most important rivers are The Godavari, The Krishna ,The Pennar and The Vamsadhara. The majority of mangroves are present in the estuaries of these rivers. The Godavari mangroves are located in the Godavari estuary in the East Godavari district. Krishna mangroves are located in the Krishna estuary of Krishna and Guntur districts. Apart from these estuaries, mangroves are also found in small patches in the coasts of Visakhapatnam, West Godavari, Guntur and Prakasam districts.
Corangi Reserved Forest
Nature lovers in the region have been making a beeline towards the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, which is popular for its picturesque location as well as for the sighting of rare flora and fauna.
The Mangrove vegetation in this R.F. is dense. The total area as per the forest department is about 4,242 ha. out of which 2,951 ha. is with dense mangroves. It is the second largest stretch of mangrove forests in India.
DISAPPEARANCE OF MANGROVES
The dams constructed across the River Godavari at Dowleswaram and Almatti in Karnataka and the Prakasam barrage at Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh across Krishna River for increasing the cultivable areas has resulted in the reduced river water flow and thus the nutrients required for the mangroves. A cumulative effect of these factors inhibited the natural regeneration and sapling establishment of mangrove species. This has in fact resulted in the gradual disappearance of some of the mangrove species.
Over the past three months, coastal Andhra Pradesh has lost several acres of mangrove cover, near the fishing villages outside Kakinada town. An extension of East Godavari’s Mada (mangrove) forests, the land has been levelled by the state government authorities, for a housing scheme. Under ‘YSR Pedalandiriki Illu’ (housing for the poor), one of the flagship schemes of the YSRCP government, the government plans to use the land to build houses for beneficiaries of the scheme.
DEGRADATION OF MANGROVES
Since 1893, mangroves have been subjected to heavy exploitation for fuel wood. The Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary and the other areas in Godavari mangrove forest were subjected to heavy felling and feral cattle grazing, resulting in large scale depletion of the Godavari mangroves. The loss of mangroves due to sustained human intervention, more than natural causes is a known fact. The consequences of mangrove destruction or degradation is often only realised when natural calamities bring about losses to human lives and properties.
For further information about mangroves of AP,do attend the webinar conducted by JV Ratnam, founder of green climate NGO. They’re going live at 4pm today(24th of June) on their YouTube channel named ‘FRIDAYS FOR FUTURE INDIA’.
They’re also conducting a webinar on the Conservation of Mangroves in AP on 26th of June at 4pm.
DM for ZOOM link : 8500937355
Inputs from Vuha Kunapareddy