Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation
International Day for the Conservation of the mangrove Ecosystems – 26th July
International Day for the Conservation of the mangrove Ecosystems – 26thJuly
The International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem is adopted by the UNESCO in 2015 and celebrate annually on July 26th aiming to increase awareness of the significance of mangrove ecosystems.
A mangrove is a shrub or tree that grows in an equatorial climate, typically along coastlines and tidal rivers. They have special adaptations to take in extra oxygen and to remove salt, which allow them to tolerate conditions that would kill most plants. Mangroves have exposed supports roots called prop roots and respiratory or knee roots. The trunks and branches of most mangroves species constantly produce adventitious roots, which descending in arched form, strike at some distance and send up new trunks. Many mangroves are viviparous; their seeds germinate while still attached to the parent tree.
Mangroves are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. Mangrove flora can be categorized as true mangroves and mangrove associates. True mangrove species grow only in mangrove environment and do not extend into terrestrial plant community whereas mangroves associates are found within or in the peripheral areas of mangrove wetlands.
Mangroves provide habitats, feeding grounds, nursery and hunting grounds for animals, protect the lagoons and the estuaries from erosion, reduce pollution of near-shore coastal waters by trapping pollutants, provide recreational grounds, field laboratory for researchers, food and fodder for animals, medicines, pigments, fuel wood, timber for constructions, furniture and for boat building.They make a critical contribution to climate regulation through carbon capture. Unlike terrestrial forests, which store most of their carbon in the trunk and branches, mangroves store most carbon in their root systems and neighboring soil acting as carbon ‘sinks’, locking it away for generations. Also, unlike terrestrial forests, the risk of fire and the accompanying loss of stored carbon is much less likely to occur, making them a safe long-term carbon ‘investment’. Economically, mangroves provide livelihood opportunities for coastal communities through fisheries and ecotourism. The fish, shellfish and other food sources obtained from them play a vital role in the food security of neighboring communities.
50% of global mangrove cover has been lost over the last 50 years. Mangrove ecosystems are under extreme pressure due to human activities. Mangrove are being cut back for firewood, coastal development and for shrimp farming. Pollution from inland sources such as discarded plastics, untreated sewage and nutrients from agriculture badly effect on mangroves. Blue carbon emissions have increased significantly as a result of mangrove deforestation. Mangrove losses for the period 1980–2005 are estimated to be more than 3 million hectares.
The largest tracts of mangrove habitats in Sri Lanka are found in Puttlam Lagoon, Kala Oya basin and Trincomalee. The country is home to nearly 16,000 hectares of mangroves. Sri Lanka has stepped forward to be a Commonwealth Blue Charter Champion and lead an Action Group on Mangrove Restoration.
– Source: Internet –