Degraded mangroves in Sunderbans
Bio-restoration is helping revive degraded mangroves in Sunderban: Planting native salt-tolerant grasses and a broad assortment of carefully selected mangrove species in various zones of degraded mangrove patches is part of the bio-restoration process that is helping to recover degraded mangroves in the Sunderban.
In the Sunderbans of West Bengal, a new technology developed by Indian scientists for ecological restoration is assisting in the restoration of mangroves that have been destroyed as a result of rising sea levels, climate change, and human interference. This technology was developed for use in the Sunderbans of West Bengal.
The process of ecological restoration involves reviving new ecosystems in degraded areas while maintaining the diversity of the native flora and fauna through the use of a regeneration cycle that lasts between four and five years. The process of spontaneous regeneration takes significantly more time.
Part of the restoration technology developed by Krishna Ray (West Bengal State University, Kolkata) and Sandip Kumar Basak involves the planting of natural salt-tolerant grasses and a varied variety of carefully selected mangrove species in different zones of degraded mangrove patches (Sarat Centenary College, Dhaniakhali). In addition to that, it involves the utilization of bacteria that stimulate growth.
The Sundarbans have been given the status of both a protected wetland by the Ramsar Convention and a Unesco World Heritage Site by the latter organization. The small coastal patches of mangroves are exceedingly fragile, and the fragmentation of their environment is preventing the migration and distribution of species.
The restoration strategy has been studied on a two-hectare degraded patch of mangroves in Ramganga village over the course of the past five years, and it has been determined to be more successful than monoculture mangrove plantations, which is the usually used form of mangrove reforestation.
The Department of Biotechnology was instrumental in the launch of the project in 2013, which is currently anticipated to expand to cover an area of one hundred acres.
The first step in the restoration process is planting native grasses that are resistant to salt. This helps to stabilize the entire restoration site. An on-site mangrove nursery was developed in order to facilitate the propagation and transplantation of mangroves.
In addition to the native mangroves and other species connected with them, the nursery also cultivated endangered, vulnerable, and threatened species. In total, 22 different species of mangroves and plants connected with them were cultivated in order to protect the native biodiversity.
Degraded mangroves in Sunderbans
The transplantation started in November 2014, and the initial area to be transplanted was a patch that was only mildly deteriorated. After that, the area being transplanted was enlarged to include severely degraded zones.
“Mangrove forests that are home to a complex mixture of different species have a greater capacity to withstand the effects of rising sea levels than those that are home to a similar number of species but a lesser diversity of those species,” Ray explained to India Science Wire that the species chosen for plantation in various zones with varying degrees of saline were selected on the basis of the levels of salt tolerance they possessed.
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