This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “Mangroves”. The topic “Mangroves” has relevance in the Environment section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

About Mangroves ?

Key Characteristics of Mangroves?

Mangrove Cover in India?

For Mains:

GS 3: Environment

Significance of Mangroves?

Challenges for Mangroves?

Government Initiatives Related to Mangrove Conservation?

Way Forward?

Why in the news

On the occasion of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, West Bengal, which houses approximately 40% of India’s mangrove forests, declared the establishment of a dedicated ‘Mangrove Cell’ within the state.

About Mangroves:

Mangroves are distinct coastal ecosystems that occur in tropical and subtropical regions.They consist of dense forests of salt-tolerant trees and shrubs that thrive in intertidal zones, where the land meets the sea. These ecosystems possess remarkable characteristics that allow them to thrive in challenging conditions, such as saline water, tidal fluctuations, and oxygen-poor soils.

Key Characteristics of Mangroves:

  • Viviparous Reproduction: Mangroves exhibit viviparity, a unique mode of reproduction where seeds germinate within the tree while still attached. The seedlings, known as propagules, grow until they are ready to drop from the tree and take root in the surrounding mud. This adaptation enables successful germination in the saline water, giving them a head start in establishing themselves.
  • Salt Secretion and Exclusion: Some mangrove species have specialized mechanisms to deal with excess salt. They secrete salt through their leaves or block the absorption of salt at their roots, preventing it from accumulating and harming the plant.
  • Specialized Roots: Mangrove plants have evolved various types of roots to cope with the challenging tidal environment. Prop roots grow vertically from branches and provide stability to the trees in muddy and unstable substrates. Pneumatophores, on the other hand, are specialized roots that protrude from the mud to absorb oxygen, allowing the plants to survive in waterlogged, oxygen-poor soils.

Mangrove Cover in India:

  • According to the Indian State Forest Report 2021,Mangroves cover an area of 4992 sq. km in India, accounting for approximately 0.15% of the country’s total geographical area.
  • Sundarbans in West Bengal is the largest mangrove forest region in the world, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Other regions with substantial mangrove cover include the Andamans, the Kachchh, and Jamnagar areas in Gujarat.


Significance of Mangroves:

  • Biodiversity Conservation:
  1. Mangroves provide unique habitats for a wide variety of plant and animal species, serving as breeding, nursery, and feeding grounds for marine and terrestrial organisms.
  2. Examples of species found in Indian mangroves include the Royal Bengal tiger, Irrawady Dolphin, Rhesus macaque, Leopard cats, and Small Indian civet.
  • Coastal Protection:
  1. Mangroves act as natural buffers against coastal erosion, storm surges, and tsunamis.
  2. Their dense root systems and prop roots stabilize shorelines, reducing the impact of waves and currents.
  3. During hurricanes and cyclones, mangroves can absorb and dissipate a significant amount of energy, protecting inland areas and human settlements.
  • Carbon Sequestration: Mangroves are remarkably effective at capturing and storing significant quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, acting as valuable carbon sinks by storing it in their biomass and sediments.
  • Fisheries and Livelihoods: Mangroves support fisheries by providing nursery areas for fish and shellfish, enhancing fishery productivity and contributing to livelihoods and local food security.
  • Water Quality Improvement: Mangroves serve as natural purifiers, capturing and eliminating pollutants and excessive nutrients from coastal waters, preventing them from reaching the open ocean.
  • Tourism and Recreation: Mangroves offer recreational opportunities such as eco-tourism, birdwatching, kayaking, and nature-based activities, promoting sustainable economic growth for local communities.


  • Habitat Destruction and Fragmentation:Mangroves are often cleared for agriculture, urbanization, aquaculture, and infrastructure development, leading to habitat loss and fragmentation.
  • Climate Change and Sea Level Rise:Rising sea levels due to climate change threaten mangroves, and extreme weather events like cyclones and storms can cause severe damage to mangrove forests.
  • Pollution and Contamination:Pollution from agricultural runoff, industrial discharges, and improper waste disposal contaminate mangrove habitats, affecting flora and fauna.
  • Lack of Integrated Management: Mangroves are often managed in isolation, without considering their interconnectedness with adjacent ecosystems like coral reefs and seagrass beds.


Government Initiatives Related to Mangrove Conservation:

  • MISHTI : Which stands for “Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats & Tangible Incomes,” is a government initiative aimed at promoting mangrove conservation and sustainable livelihoods for coastal communities in India. The program focuses on the protection and restoration of mangrove ecosystems while simultaneously generating tangible economic benefits for the local communities that depend on these habitats.
  • SAIME: SAIME (Sustainable Aquaculture In Mangrove Ecosystem) is a community-based initiative for sustainable shrimp cultivation in the Sundarbans region, primarily in West Bengal, India. The project, started in 2019, involves collaboration between NEWS, Global Nature Fund (GNF), Naturland Bangladesh Environment and Development Society (BEDS), government departments, academia, and research institutes.


Way Forward:

  • Drone Monitoring and AI: Employ drone technology with high-resolution cameras and AI algorithms for efficient and timely surveillance of mangrove health and detection of illegal activities.
  • Mangrove Adoption Program: Launch a public-driven initiative where individuals, corporates, and institutions can “adopt” a patch of mangroves for maintenance, protection, and restoration.
  • Mangrove Research and Development: Allocate funds for research to investigate innovative uses of mangroves, such as utilizing phytoremediation techniques for water purification or exploring the potential of mangrove plant extracts in the development of new medicines.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Foster collaboration among government agencies, local communities, non-governmental organizations, and researchers to develop integrated management plans for coastal areas. 
  • Climate Resilience: Incorporate climate resilience strategies in mangrove management plans to mitigate the impact of rising sea levels and extreme weather events. 
  • Awareness and Education: Conduct widespread awareness campaigns to educate the public about the importance of mangroves and the threats they face. 
  • Incentive Mechanisms: Establish incentive mechanisms to encourage sustainable practices among industries and communities. Offering incentives for eco-friendly fishing, tourism, and agricultural practices can promote responsible resource use and support mangrove conservation.



Q.1 Which of the following statements about the Sundarbans mangrove forests is/are correct?

  1. It is shared between India and Bangladesh, with about 80% of it lying in India.
  2. The Sundarbans houses species such as saltwater crocodile, and Irrawady dolphin.
  3. The mangrove species in the Sundarbans exhibit viviparity.

Select the correct answer using the code below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only 

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3


Q.2 Consider the following states:

  1. Maharashtra
  2. Gujrat
  3. Tamil Nadu
  4. Odisha

How many of the above states have Mangroves?

(a) One only

(b) Two only 

(c) Three only

(d) All of the above


Q.3 Discuss the significance of mangroves in India’s coastal regions and examine the challenges they face. Suggest policy measures and conservation strategies to ensure the sustainable management and preservation of mangroves in the context of climate change and increasing human activities.”

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