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Mangroves

Gulf of Kachchh harbours one of the major mangrove formations of India extending to an area of 980 km2. Investigating different ecological facets of mangrove formations of Kachchh in particular and Gujarat in general is a major area of research for GUIDE ever since its creation. Restoration ecology, vegetation characteristics, governing environmental water and soil quality and associated mangrove faunal components are some of the major areas of research in mangroves. As a part of its mangrove restoration and conservation initiative, nearly 5000 ha of mangrove plantation has been implemented through different research projects. Similarly, vegetation characteristics of mangroves of Gulf of Kachchh covering nearly 980 km2 of mangroves have been thoroughly studied and documented through publication of journal articles, reports and books. Governing water and soil quality of mangrove environs and their role in shaping the ecosystem has been investigated in major mangrove formations of Gulf of Kachchh and published. In order to inculcate mangrove restoration techniques to field managers, a mangrove manual dealing with different aspects of restoration ecology has been published.

 

Since coastal community is an indispensible part of mangrove conservation, projects dealing with community and coastal industries to restore and conserve mangroves have been implemented which attempted to create a model for community based mangrove conservation. Kachchh mangroves offer opportunities to achieve dual goals of poverty reduction and protection of marine carbon sinks if the ongoing plantation efforts by coastal industries are properly linked with the dependent coastal communities. Factors such as intensive industrial development in coastal realm, recurring drought and very high dependence of coastal communities on mangrove resources further strengthens the need to have a strong linkage between coastal industries and the communities which will foster a long term conservation of mangroves. These community based projects addressed empowering fully mangrove dependent communities and coastal industries to have a linkage for long lasting conservation of mangroves. In this process a skilled local work force through a village level community organisation (CBO) is created through a series of workshops and the community’s capacity was built on different aspects of mangrove plantation and post plantation care; awareness is generated among the community including industries on technical aspects of mangrove plantation, post plantation care, climate change and carbon economics potential of mangroves.