Conservation and Restoration of Ecosystems

 / Research / In-House /CMR/ Conservation and Restoration of Ecosystems

The Project

Around 251 km2 of mangroves have been observed in Odisha. Kendrapara district, which includes the Bhitarkanika National Park, Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, and Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, has over 80% of Odisha’s mangrove cover. Natural disasters or manmade pressures have damaged the Bhitarkanika mangrove habitats in Odisha. Significant damage can be seen in the mangrove ecosystem. Though the Forest Department of Odisha provides significant protection and conservation efforts for mangroves, Environment Based Management of this unique ecosystem is lacking, and mangrove hazards are present. Based on maps provided by NCSCM, the study entails identifying degraded zones within the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary in Odisha.

Aim

This study aims to understand the cause of degradation and to provide effective methods of restoring and maintaining the Bhitarkanika Mangrove ecosystem.

Objectives

  • Identification of degraded mangrove areas within the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Assessing the current health status of that area

  • Suggesting specific restoration techniques and

  • Involving the local community in mangrove restorations

Key Findings

  • The mapped area of mangroves in Bhitarkanika in 2010 was 46.5 km2.
  • Between 2010 and 2016, around 1.48 km2 of mangroves were assessed to have been degraded. Using satellite imagery, however, a 0.88 km2 increase in mangrove cover was recorded within the same time period. Between 2010 and 2016, there was a net decline in mangrove cover (-0.6 km2).
  • In 2016, 1.3% of mangroves were degraded compared to 2010, with a total mangrove area of 45.9 km2. It was responsible for a 0.21% annual loss in mangrove area.
  • Unlike 2010-2016, Bhitarkanika saw an increase in mangrove cover from 2016 to 2019. Over the three-year period, satellite imaging research revealed a growth of 1.81 km2 of mangroves and a decline of 0.17 km2 of mangroves in Bhitarkanika.
  • Between 2016 and 2019, there was a net increase of around 1.64 km2 in mangrove area, with an annual increase of about 0.55%. The current amount of mangroves in Bhitarkanika has been measured at 47.6 km2 as a result of this increase.
  • The Bhitarkanika mangrove ecosystem has a net addition of 1.1 km2 of mangroves in a decade, showing an annual increase of 0.1%, with a combination of loss and gain.
  • The Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary is home to 29 true mangrove species from 15 genera and 10 families. In the study area, 72 species of mangrove-associated flora from 57 genera and 38 families were discovered.
  • Based on current data on soil types, hydrological conditions, topography, and elevation levels in the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, the Fish Bone method of canal construction is proposed for mangrove restoration in the Bhitarkanika areas.

Change analysis of Bhitarkanika mangroves during 2010-2016 and 2016-2019