There are hardly any mangroves left in Kerala, but now there is a realisation that preserving what is left and regenerating more will help combat climate change by sequestering carbon and buffering the effects of sea level rise

For a state that has 44 rivers and a wide network of estuaries and backwaters with tidal action, Kerala has a relatively small area under mangroves – just 25 sq km at present, down from 700 sq km in 1957. The mangrove patches that still survive are distributed across many coastal districts.

Mangroves have an important role in dealing with climate change. These evergreen close-canopy shrubs produce biomass and green leaves copiously all through their lives. In the process, they absorb atmospheric carbon in large quantities and help with sequestration. They also shed their leaves copiously, strengthening the nutrient cycle.

“Mangroves are also effective bio-shields, protecting the coasts from erosion”.Chettuva is one of the areas where the coastline is protected by an artificial sea wall. Kerala has artificial sea walls along more than half its coastline.

“The lesson that we learn from the last few decades of coastline protection activities is that the construction of sea walls and bay building are not as effective as the mangroves in calming down the invading sea.” So let’s do our bit in preserving the Mangroves.

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