1. Agriculture World

Odisha Proposes to Preserve All Mangrove Species in a Small Nursery

Odisha's mangrove vegetation accounts for only 5.17 percent of India's total mangrove cover, but it has the highest species diversity in the country. In terms of global species distribution, only Papua New Guinea has more mangrove species than Bhitarkanika in Odisha.

Shivam Dwivedi
Mangrove Forest
Mangrove Forest

Officials from Odisha's Forest & Environment Department are ecstatic about the increase in mangrove forests in the state, but what excites them, even more, is a small nursery that could become a field gene-bank for the coastal ecosystem, particularly mangroves.

Many important species face serious conservation challenges because they lack seeds or the ability to reproduce vegetatively. Preserving important species in the field is thought to be the most effective method of conservation and what better place to do so than the Bhitarkanika National Park?

Odisha's mangrove vegetation accounts for only 5.17 percent of India's total mangrove cover, but it has the highest species diversity in the country. In terms of global species distribution, only Papua New Guinea has more mangrove species than Bhitarkanika in Odisha.

Rich Species Diversity

"Through a nursery being developed at Dangamal, we have attempted to highlight Bhitarkanika's rich species diversity." So far, we have successfully raised 32 different species of mangrove in the nursery. "We will double it in the next six months by collecting more species from Mahanadi delta areas," said J.D. Pati, Divisional Forest Officer of Rajnagar Mangrove (Wildlife) Forest Division.

According to Pati, there are 88 species of mangrove, back mangrove, and mangrove associates. "We typically use 22 species in plantation activities, with the remainder growing naturally," he explained.

The Sundarbans in West Bengal are home to the world's largest mangrove ecosystem. The number of species found in the Sundarbans, on the other hand, ranges from 24 to 26. There are over 60 species of Bhitarkankia.

There has been no nursery in other districts such as Balasore, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, and Ganjam. The nursery is built-in Bhitarkanika will aid in the propagation of saplings in other districts.

Furthermore, if any species is wiped out due to man-made or natural causes, the nursery will be able to replenish it for future propagation.

Significant Increase in Coverage:

According to biennial India’s State of Forest Report 2021, published by the Forest Survey of India, the States that have made a significant gain in mangrove coverage are Odisha (8 sq km) and Maharashtra (4 sq km).

The officials of Odisha's Forest & Environment Department made a wise decision. The forest departments of other coastal states should take similar steps to save mangroves from extinction!!

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