Ecologically Sensitive Area &

Critically Vulnerable Coastal Area

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The Project

In order to aid in expanding the areas under spatial management measures, a framework for estimation of conservation value of coastal ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) has been developed by NCSCM with the support of MoEF& CC. This will aid in identification and demarcation of highly stressed zones (HSZ) within these sensitive ecosystems. A total area of 34127.20 sq. km was mapped under ESAs as part of this study, where in 744 contiguous patches representing mangroves (5590, coral reefs (1439), seagrass (518), salt marsh (600), sand dunes (325), mudflats (3558) which are biologically active and, turtle nesting grounds (179), horse shoe crab habitats (70), nesting grounds of birds (5386), areas/ structures of archaeological importance and heritage sites (5.78), national parks, marine parks, sanctuaries, reserve forests, wildlife habitats, other protected areas (16455) have been demarcated.

Ecologically Sensitive Area & Critically Vulnerable Coastal Area


The Coastal (Regulation) Zone, 2011 notified under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 has listed various coastal ecosystems, habitats, geo-morphological features, habitats and other areas such as archaeological and heritage sites, national parks, sanctuaries and reserve forests as Ecologically Sensitive Areas.


  • Mapping of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) – I Area

  • Mapping boundary of protected areas

  • Development of Criteria for delineation of ESA/CVCA: Guidelines for IMP

  • Identification of ESA (highly sensitive and sensitive areas) & CVCA within CRZ I area

  • Stakeholder consultation and Review

  • Preparation of IIMP for Lakshadweep

  • Project Management and Development of Knowledge System on ESA/ CVCA


Mapping of coastal Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA)

Figure: Extent of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) along Indian coast

As per the CRZ 2011 notification, 12 sites have been identified as Critically Vulnerable Coastal Areas (CVCA) namely the entire Sunderbans mangrove area (2) Gulf of Khambat& Gulf of Kachchh in Gujarat, Malvan&Achra-Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, Karwar &Kundapur in Karnataka, Vembanad in Kerala, Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu, Bhitarkanika in Odisha, Coringa, East Godavari & Krishna in Andhra Pradesh with the objective of promoting conservation and sustainable use of coastal resources and habitats. In order to aid in demarcation of CVCA, a framework has been developed for scientific assessment of the extent of dependence of coastal community on the resources and, their ability to govern them. About 16000 geo-coded household data have been collected using an android application from various coastal villages around the resource areas of all CVCAs notified. The CVCA thresholds have been estimated and detailed CVCA frameworks have been prepared for all the notified locations which will help in preparation of the Integrated Management Plan for aid development activities in these areas.

Figure: CVCA demarcated along India’s coast