Abstract- Mangrove forests of India are globally unique to have the highest biodiversity, and the 'genetic paradise' for plants in Bhitarkanika and for animals in Sundarbans. A vast mangrove forest colonizes in rough coastal areas. The mangrove cover is increasing due to the conservation efforts. But, a large area of mangroves is poor with less than 40% canopy density. Much efforts are required to manage the mangrove forests in response to the growing threat of climate change.
Keywords-Mangroves, India, biodiversity, drivers, conservation and management
Mangroves are highly productive coastal habitats of tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. They are the only tall tree forest on the earth where land, freshwater and ocean mix. The mangroves are uniquely adapted to seawater, waves, winds, currents, tidal changes, and oxygen-poor muddy soil. They have breathing roots above-ground, extra-stem support structures, salt-excreting leaves, high intracellular salt concentrations for maintaining water content, and viviparous and water-dispersed propagules. No other groups of plants in the entire plant kingdom with such adaptations to thrive in the harsh coastal environment. The biomass production of mangroves is greater than any other aquatic ecosystem on the earth. Mangroves are a rare type of forest in the world with only about 80 species, occupying 13.8 million hectares in 118 countries and territories, and long-term survival of the mangroves is at a great risk. The mangroves are known as 'Coastal woodland', 'Oceanic rainforest' , 'Tidal forest' , 'Root of the Sea', and the only 'blue carbon forests of the ocean' (Duke et al.1998, 2007; Kathiresan and Bingham 2001; Kathiresan and Qasim 2005; Spalding et al. 2010; Tomlinson 2016; Duke, 2017;Kathiresan, 2018, 2018a, 2019).