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Conservation of mangroves in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika

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  • Published
    13th Sep, 2021


German government agency, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), will conserve mangrove and biodiversity of Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park, India’s second-largest mangrove forest.


About the project

  • The project aims to support implementation of livelihood-oriented conservation and restoration activities and train community members in alternative sustainable livelihoods.
  • The given ecosystem-based sustainable livelihood measures will be adopted— such as 
    • mangrove restoration
    • sustainable fisheries
    • handicraft-based activities 
    • science-led horticulture 
  • The project is supported by International Climate Initiative (IKI) of German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). 

What are Mangroves?

  • Mangroves are special types of trees and shrubs that are known to thrive in saline and low oxygen conditions.
  • These forests are critical habitats for a variety of wildlife and aquatic creatures.
  • Mangrove forests only grow at tropical and subtropical latitudes near the equator because they cannot withstand freezing temperatures.
  • The roots also slow the movement of tidal waters, causing sediments to settle out of the water and build up the muddy bottom.
  • Mangrove forests stabilize the coastline, reducing erosion from storm surges, currents, waves, and tides.
  • India has about 3% of the total Mangrove cover in South Asia.
  • West Bengal (2,112 sq km) and Gujarat (1,177 sq km) are the top 2 states with the highest cover.

Major Mangroves forests in India

  • Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, West Bengal 
  • Bhitarkanika Mangroves, Odisha
  • Godavari-Krishna Mangroves, Andhra Pradesh 
  • Gulf of Kutch Mangroves, Gujarat
  • Mangroves of Thane Creek, Maharashtra
  • Pichavaram Mangroves, Tamil Nadu
  • Chorao Island Mangroves, Goa
  • Baratang Island Mangroves, Andaman

Bhitarkanika Indian Wildlife Sanctuary 

  • Spread in a vast are of 672 Kms Bhitarkanika Indian Wildlife Sanctuary Orissa is the 2nd largest Mangrove ecosystems of India. 
  • The National park is essentially a network of creeks and canals which are inundated with waters from rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra and Patasala forming a unique ecosystem.
  • It is the breeding place for the endangered salt water crocodiles which are the prime attractions of the sanctuary.
  • The Gahirmatha Beach which forms the boundary of the sanctuary in the east is the largest colony of the Olive Ridley Sea Turtles.

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