Protection of Coastal Districts of West Bengal with Mangrove & Associate Species Plantation – Forest Department, Govt. of West Bengal


SKOCH Award Nominee

Category: Environment – State
Sub-Category: subEnvironment – State
Project: Protection of Coastal Districts of West Bengal with Mangrove & Associate Species Plantation
Start Date: 2020-07-15
Organisation: Forest Department, Govt. of West Bengal
Respondent: Mr Saurabh Chaudhuri, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests
http://www.westbengalforest.gov.in
Level: Club Plus


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Case Study

West Bengal Develops Mangroves, Prioritises Coastal Protection

In recent times, cyclones like Amphan and Yaas have left the coastal regions of the Sundarbans devastated. These calamities coupled with the challenges posed by industries, population, settlement etc., have had a grave impact on the natural assets of the region.

Problems

Coastal margins are very vulnerable, especially against natural calamities such as floods and hurricanes. These regions are typically heavily populated, which means that in the event of a calamity, the risk of destruction, damage and death is also much higher. Apart from natural disasters, these regions have also been impacted by the settlement and subsequent developments. A large portion of the mangrove cover has been damaged by the establishment of residential settlements. Commercial and livelihood activities like aquaculture have also further contributed to the deterioration of these places. The mangrove cover strengthens the soil and so, loss of the mangroves results in greater water encroachment and is likely to cause even more soil erosion in coming times.

Solutions

A plan to plant and protect mangrove cover has been designed. The local residents and women SHGs have been onboarded as part of the strategy to encourage local ownership of the project. Scientific planning and research have been used to design the strategy. Scientific selection of viable propagules, consideration for species-specific requirements and nursery procedures has been carried out. Protection buffers for the coastal areas are being established to safeguard against spikes in sea level.

Outcomes

5,000 Ha of mangrove cover has been achieved in 3 coastal districts. 23 Lakh man-days will be registered under the MGNREGS system. Frontline staff and field labourers received skill training to contribute to the project. The enhanced ecosystem services will generate greater food items and timber products. The green corridor is expected to provide safe cover to the Royal Bengal Tiger population.

Challenges

Raising awareness in the local population about the importance of the mangrove cover, getting them involved in the plantation drive and eventually in the protection of the saplings has been a central priority and challenge. The fringe population as well as the frontline workers have had to be trained in every aspect of the plantation process, from the collection of viable propagules to nursery planning and establishment and management. The programme has involved a lot of coordination and collaboration with the district administration to administrate the projects under the MGNREGS’ umbrella.

Identifying land banks in the non-forest spaces and addressing the challenges posed by the soil conditions as well as the geomorphic and biotic elements has been a challenge. Given the nature of the work and the terrain, transport and access has been difficult: especially in cases where the target area is situated in remote forest areas and/ or travel through water is needed.

Innovation

Women SHGs have been brought into the fold for nursery management and planting. Local practices and knowledge have been optimised to identify                mangrove propagules with potential and plan nursery management strategies. For instance, bamboo poles and fishing nets have been used to create ad-hoc barriers against grazing. The local calendar is used to design the plantation schedule on the basis of the moon’s phases and tidal patterns. Trenches and ‘fish-bone channels’ have been developed to trap newly-created silt to provide improved germination for the mangrove propagules. Research has been conducted to identify fauna that is complimentary to mangrove cover and can not only help bind the soil better but is also viable in high-salinity regions.

Opportunities

The administration intends to establish scientific silvicultural management for the plantations over the coming two decades. The goal is to ensure than the mangrove green belts are an enduring aspect of the landscape.

Future plans include mapping the blank areas and earmarking land banks for subsequent plantation. When near sea silt deposit areas arise out of siltation in the regions, they can be used to plant mangroves and other complimentary fauna.

There is an intention to study and identify vulnerable parts of the coastal region on an annual basis so that mangrove and other plantation can be implemented.

The Forest Department of the Govt. of West Bengal is working to promote, preserve and protect the mangroves and coastal areas with a view to protecting the future.


For more information, please contact:
Mr Saurabh Chaudhuri, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests at mswbza@gmail.com


(The content on the page is provided by the Exhibitor)

9 Comments

  1. I visit this page & also seen some video footage. I like this type of Project & We really thankful to Honarable Cheaf Minister Mrs. Mamata Banarjee for growing up this type of project and also best wishes to him for loking forward.

  2. Banglar Uchchashiksha – Department of Higher Education, Government of West Bengal is doing very well for digilize the databases related to higher education. It is a very appreciable initiative. It will help all the stakeholders and administrators associated with the Higher Education Sector.
    ……..Dr. Sk Rezaul Hoque, Assistant Professor & Head, Department of Education, Shirakole Mahavidyalaya, South 24 Parganas, W.B.- 743513.

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