Study Shows Maharashtra’s Mangrove Cover Increased by 16 Per Cent Over a 14-year Period

Study Shows Maharashtra’s Mangrove Cover Increased by 16 Per Cent Over a 14-year Period

A new survey conducted by the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) has shown that the mangrove cover in Maharashtra’s coastal districts has increased by nearly 16 per cent between 2005 and 2019. This survey was conducted by the IIST on behalf of the Maharashtra Forest Department. 

The survey shows that while the state’s coastline had a total mangrove cover of 304.39 square kilometres (sq km) in 2005, the number has increased to 353.18 sq km which suggests a 48.79 sq km increase in mangroves. 

As per HT, six of the seven coastal districts surveyed during the period witnessed an increase in mangrove cover. The only exception was Palghar where mangroves were shown to be at a decline. Overall, all the districts surveyed as part of the study witnessed an increase in dense mangrove cover while sparse mangroves were on the decline. 

Even though Palghar added 8 sq km of mangroves during the survey period, the district reportedly lost 19 sq km of sparse mangroves.  

The study further shows that Raigad added around 22.20 sq km of mangroves to its coast during the survey period. This was followed by Mumbai and its suburban districts which saw 12.90 sq km of growth in mangroves. Thane reportedly saw the inclusion of 6.40 sq km of mangroves while Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg witnessed a 3.01 and 0.30 sq km increase in mangroves respectively. 

Also readMMRC Will Plant 9,000 Mangroves To Compensate The Ones Cut For Metro

Officials said that the contents of the survey will be sent over to the Bombay High Court in support of pending litigation. 

Environmentalist and director of NGO Vanashakti, Stalin D remained sceptical of the survey. “Depletion of sparse mangroves means that tidal flow to the land has decreased. Increase in density is not necessarily an increase in extent of mangrove cover,” he said.

He went on to say that mangroves that are too dense will reduce room for waders which in turn impacts the region’s ecosystem as well as the flora and fauna around it. 

ReadMaharashtra Govt Notifies 1,387 Hectares Of Mangroves In Thane As Forest Land

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Forest Department’s Mangrove Cell has said that these findings may need to be investigated further. 

Virender Tiwari, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Mangrove Cell) said, “The increase in mangrove cover is due to better legal protection as reserved forests under the Indian Forest Act. Sparse mangroves have now become dense mangrove. However, in some areas it may be due to mangroves coming on mud flats, thereby decreasing the width of the creeks, particularly Thane Creek. We are analysing this aspect.”

Also readMaharashtra Government To Take Action Against People Axing Mangrove Forests

MumbaiLive would like to send you latest news updates