1 Tahrcountry Musings: MANGROVE INITIATIVES IN KANNUR - Guest Post from K.V Uthaman

Friday, January 22, 2010


Initial protection before planting at Nettur on the bank of Kuyyalipuzha during 1997

Mangrove raised during 1997 is just coming up at Nettur

Mangrove raised during 1998 is coming up at Nettur-photo of 2000

Mangrove plantation during 2004 at Nettur

Mangrove restoration is not a pipe dream. Here is an example of what dedicated work can do.

Now read on what Uthaman writes.


Mangrove forests are comprised 0f special plant community, which are salt tolerant and thrive in intertidal zones of sheltered tropical shores and estuaries. Mangrove trees have specially adapted aerial and salt-filtering roots and salt-excreting leaves that enable them to occupy the saline wetlands where other plant life cannot survive. Mangrove species can propagate successfully in a marine environment because of special adaptations like viviparity. Mangrove forests are vital for healthy coastal ecosystems. The forest detritus, consisting mainly of fallen from the mangroves, provides leaves and branches nutrients for the marine environment and supports immense varieties of sea life in intricate food webs associated directly through detritus or indirectly through the planktonic and epiphytic algal food chains.

Mangroves are highly productive habitat. They stabilize shorelines, providing them with protection from storm surges and ocean currents. Mangroves serve as a buffer zone between land and sea. Mangroves help prevent soil erosion & reclaim land from seas. They serve as a breeding area and nursery grounds for a number of marine organisms. An estimated 75% of fish caught commercially spend some time in the mangrove or are dependent on food chains, which derive from these coastal forests. Mangroves shelter for many wildlife species. The surface soil of mangrove swamp is alternatively inundated and drained. It supports animals such as crabs, amphibians, reptiles, air-breathing fishes, and mammals, whose distributions are governed by degree of tidal penetration and by nature of the substratum. Sediments trapped by the mangrove roots prevent silting of adjacent marine habitat. Mangrove plays a great role in nutrient cycling & carbon export. There is constant movement of living matter into and out of the mangrove swamp. They serve as a reservoir in the tertiary assimilation of waste.

Kerala had good extent of mangroves over 700 Km2. But most of them destroyed in the flood of development. They were treated as wastelands. A report by Dr. Chand Basha shows the extent as 16.7 Km2 during 1992. At present only a few pockets of remnants are found in the estuaries of Kerala. Major portion of existing mangroves come across in Kannur District. Kerala Forest Department initiated protection and afforestation of mangroves during 1997. The mangroves raised during that period are coming up well. The regeneration works of mangroves started with ‘rubber band’ technology where in the wildling/seedling is tied, to a bamboo stake/splits which is driven in mud flat, by rubber band. This was warranted for protecting the seedling from the wave action felt in shores. Afterward the seedlings were raised in nursery and planted in the field giving support with bamboo stakes. The mangrove afforestation works at Thalassery, Kannur, were done when I served as Range Officer.


Thank you Uthaman .That sure is an eye opener. I would like to get more success stories from you.


Sita Raghavan said...

Thank you Uthaman and Mohan. That sure was an eye opener.We need more such work along our sea coast. Apart from protecting the coastline they act as nurseries for several species of fish.

T.K Swaminathan said...

Good to know that Mangrove restoration need not be a pipe dream.
The Govt: should take up the work on a war footing.Spread awareness also.