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Chapter 12
Recent Trends in Biodiversity of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 161-171, 2010

MANGROVE DIVERSITY AND PROSPECTS OF RESTORATION AND MANAGEMENT IN ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS
OSWIN D. STANLEY*
Eco Balance Consultancy, 6 B, Umiya Park Scoiety, Subhanpura 390 023, Vadodara, Gujarat, India INTRODUCTION Forest Survey of India statistics (2003), portraits the total area under mangrove vegetation in India as 4,461 km2. Out of this, 671 km2 area (dense mangrove 262 km2, moderate mangrove 312 km2 and open mangrove 97 km2) of mangrove vegetation occurs in Andaman and Nicobar Islands (15.04 per cent of the total mangrove area of the Indian Territory). In Andaman district, the area under mangroves is 644 km2 (dense mangrove 262 km2, moderate mangrove 286 km2, and open mangrove 96 km2); while in Nicobar district mangroves occupy only 27 km2 (moderate 26 km2 and open mangrove 1 km 2 ). The luxuriant mangroves are seen in Shoal Bay (South Andaman), Yerrata (Middle Andaman), Austin Creek, Kalighat Creek and Cadell Bay (North Andaman). The Andaman and Nicobar Islands comprise a chain of 572 islands, islets, reefs and isolated rock outcrops spread in the Bay of Bengal. They extend to a length of 700 km between the lower Myanmar and the upper Sumatra region of Indonesia (Fig. 1). Mangroves in India account for about 5 per cent of the Worlds mangrove vegetation and are spread over an area of about 4,500 km2 along the coastal States/UTs of the country. We have lost over half of our planets original mangrove forest cover today; roughly 16 million hectares remain from a former area of 32 million hectares. Yet, our planet is losing 2,25,000 ha of mangroves annually. Overall our nation has lost around 21 km2 whereas, Andaman and Nicobars has lost around 118 km2 mangrove area during the years 2001 to 2003. The decrease in Andaman and Nicobar Islands is justified by FSI as interpretational corrections as some open forest was incorrectly classified as mangrove in the earlier assessment. However, encroachment and reclamation of mangrove areas in Andamans for agriculture and for settlement is prominent. In many places the process starts with dumping the soil in mangrove area or disrupting the water regime, subsequently planting a small temple in the degraded area and elaborating reclamation. Encroachment regularization (Supreme Court of India order dated 07.05.2002) needs to be reinforced before further losing mangrove areas. Earthquake (9.0 Richter scale) which struck Andaman and Nicobar Islands on 26 December 2004 and the consequent tsunami have caused considerable change on the mangrove stands of Andamans. Press Information Bureau, Government of India (2008) states that Mangroves have undergone severe destruction in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the extent of 18 per cent. In Andaman Islands 3850 ha of mangroves were lost, while, 7750 mangroves were damaged. In Nicobar about 390 ha of mangroves were

*E-mail : ebcbaroda@yahoo.co.in; oswinbaby@rediffmail.com

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Fig. 1. Mangrove Area Coverage (in km2) in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, FSI 2003

damaged. It is revealed that the mangroves, coral reefs, beaches etc., are in the process of reformation and revival of these features and ecosystems would take about 5 to 10 years. However, it is suggested that, the process of restoration of mangroves can be facilitated and accelerated by Ecological Mangrove Restoration Technique (EMR). MATERIAL AND METHODS Having personal experience in mangroves, especially in Andaman mangroves before and after Tsunami, the information on mangrove floral diversity of the islands were collated along with personal observation from all possible sources like reports, papers and articles. This would serve as a valuable document for the researchers, students, policy makers and law enforcing agencies to conserve the wealth of the biological paradise of our country. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Need for Mangrove Diversity Preservation and Restoration Mangroves are dominant ecosystems interfacing the land and the sea in tropical and sub-tropical regions and gains importance in the economy of many of these areas in terms of mangrove-linked fisheries and forestry. The amount of fish caught in ocean is directly proportional to the area of healthy mangrove waters. One hectare of mangroves can yield 767 kg per year of wild fish and crustaceans. Each

hectare of managed mangrove system produces as much as $11, 300 (Rupees. 5, 31, 100) a year (Primavera, 1991). Intertidal occurrence of mangroves makes the ecosystem likely to be the early indicators of the effects of climate change. Of late, mangroves have been of particular interest globally, because of the possible high carbon sequestration as well as being in the forefront of any sea-level change. Recent studies reveal that one hectare of mangroves sequesters 3.2 tonnes of carbon per annum (Quarto, 2007). Wetlands Evaluation Estimate reveals that the total value per hectare specifically for tidal marshes and mangroves is $9,990 per annum. Total global value per year for tidal marshes and mangroves is $1.6 trillion. Ecosystem services used to come up with these value figures include gas regulation, disturbance regulation, water regulation, waste treatment, habitat refuge, water supply, food production, flow materials, recreation, and cultural services (Costanza et al., 1997). Recent global awareness on the role of mangroves and coastal vegetation in protecting the coastal and inland resources including human lives during oceanic natural disasters is a good sign. The major cause of the extensive damage in the coastal states identified by local and international agencies is the decrease in the mangrove cover along the coasts and unsustainable mangrove management systems. Hence it is mandate to preserve the existing mangroves and restore the degraded coastal areas.

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Ecology of Mangroves The historical interest has been largely engendered by the unique adaptations (eg. Prop roots, pneumatophores, and viviparous seeds) of certain mangrove species and by their ubiquitous ability to function in a saline environment. Coping with saline situations Mangroves have specific adaptations both in leaves and root, morphologically, anatomically and physiologically. These survive in the hyper saline situations with their salt coping mechanism. Based on the mechanism adapted by each species, mangroves can be classified into three categories. Salt excluding-Ultra Filtration Mechanism Mangroves such as Rhizophora, Ceriops and Bruguiera species are salt-excluders. These species prevent much of the salt from entering the plant system by filtering it out at root level by the ultra filtration mechanism in the root caps. Some species can exclude more than 90 per cent of salt in seawaters Salt Excreting Species such as Avicennia, Sonneratia and Acanthus are salt-secretors. These plants perform quick excretion of salt, which has entered the system through the special active salt-secreting salt glands on the lamina. The pure form of salt crystals can be viewed or tasted from the surface of the leaf blades. Salt Accumulating Lumnitzera, Avicennia, Ceriops and Sonneratia species and mangrove associates such as Sesuvium, Suaeda, Salicornia, are salt accumulators. These species concentrate the salt entered inside the plant system in the bark or in older leaves, which carry it with them when they fall off. Some mangroves apply only one of these methods but there are species having more than one type of salt coping mechanism. In addition, a number of features serve to prevent water loss from the plant. These include a thick waxy cuticle or dense hairs to reduce transpiration. Most evaporation loss occurs through stomata, so these are often sunken below the leaf surface where they are protected from drying winds. Leaves are also

commonly succulent, storing water in fleshy internal tissue. Coping with shifting mud and anoxic conditions Mangrove substratum is water logged, muddy and unstable with shifting nature due to the tidal forces. Therefore an extensive root system is essential to keep the trees upright. Mangroves do not have established deep tap root system as the substratum that they live lack good oxygen supply. Hence many mangroves are adapted with unique root systems like prop/aerial stilts (Rhizophora), buttress (Heritiera), Cable Knee roots (Bruguiera, Xylocarpus granatum is buttressed with cable knee roots) and pnuematophores (Avicennia) for better anchorage and gas exchange. The mangrove substratum is rich in sulphurdi-oxides and poor in oxygen. Species such as Avicennia, Kandelia, etc. is adapted with roots systems called breathing roots or Puematophores. These roots have small pores on the surface called lenticels to enable diffused atmospheric gaseous exchange. The lenticels are inactive during high tide. Sedimentation is a major threat to the pneumatophores where silt interfere gas exchange and suffocates the plants. In a normal mangrove ecosystem the sedimentation rate is 1.5 to 2 cm per year (Walshand and Nittrouer 2004). Special adaptation for seed dispersal Dispersal of seeds in the unstable environment is another challenge for the survival of mangroves. Mangroves such as Rhizophora, Ceriops and Bruguiera produce the seeds, which matures while attached to the parent plant. When ripe, these seeds eventually would fall in the muddy substratum underneath the parent and start growing. This adaptation is called Vivipary (embryo germination begins on the parent tree itself, accumulating the carbohydrates and other compounds required for later autonomous growth and developed embryos dropping as propagules). The propagules of Rhizophora may float in the waters even up to one year, travel to other shores and stay viable. However the duration of viability varies with species and environmental conditions. Soil conditions and environment preferred by different genus of mangroves is presented in Table 1.

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Table 1. Soil conditions and environment preferred by different genus of mangroves Species Acanthus ilicifolius

Soil Sand clay Silt clay


Environment/Remarks Colonize highest high tide water Suitable for areas with high organic load Thrive well in abundant flow of fresh water Adapted to early colonization Able to tolerate low temperatures and variety of other inter tidal conditions Colonize newly-emerged mud banks Found throughout river systems, including the upper limit of tidal influence where fresh water is abundant Prefer middle tide amplitude Survive better in mean tide water Prefer soil with high organic load Resistant to high solar radiation Cannot tolerate long period of pheumatophore submergence Prefer low tide amplitude Thrive well in abundant flow of fresh water

Avicennia sp.

Wide range of soil conditions Dry Tidal lands, river banks or high saline flats, arid zones Sandy areas Broad tidal mud banks or shallow sand banks in the seaward edge Borders coastal saline herb lands

Bruguiera sp.

Stiff clay containing little organic matter Sand/loam substrate Less saline soils covered with a thick forest Sand/loam substrate Bordering coastal saline herb lands C. tagal-High saline areas Sand/loam substrate Sand/loam substrate Main river bank or lagoon Fringing Soft humus Rich mud Mouth of tidal creeks and rivers where salt and fresh water mix

Ceriops sp.

Zone inundated only by periodic spring tides at the times of new and full moons C. tagal-Not suitable for areas with high rate of sand movement Colonize highest high tide water Prefer low tide amplitude Prefer low tide amplitude Can colonize highest high tide water Water front Prefer high tide amplitude Survive on aged mangrove mud rich in Hydrogen sulphide Muddy environment Resistant to high solar radiation and UV-B tolerance Respond well to CO2 for biomass production Tolerant to high wind action (Cyclone/ Storms) Suitable for the sites with metal and oil pollution

Excoecaria agallocha Heritiera sp. Nypa fruticans Rhizophora sp.

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Table 1. Contd. Species Sonneratia sp.


Soil Sandy areas Broad tidal mud banks or shallow sand banks in the seaward

Environment/Remarks Water front but a more tropical species Newly-emerged mud banks Prefer high tide amplitude Thrive well in abundant flow of fresh water S. alba-close to sea, high saline areas edge Prefer low tide amplitude Thrive well in abundant flow of fresh water Low saline areas

Xylocarpus sp.

Sand/loam substrate

Biology of Mangroves

Andaman

and

Nicobar

The mangrove vegetation of these islands constitutes 9.4 per cent of the land area or 10.85 per cent of the total forest area (http:// forest.and.nic.in). Mangroves occurring in these islands are mostly fringing the creeks, backwater Table 2. Mangrove Flora of Andaman S. No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. Mangroves of Andaman Acanthus ebracteatus A. ilicifolius Avolubilis Acrostichum aureum Aegialitis rotundifolia Aegiceras corniculatum Avicennia alba Avicennia marina Avicennia officinalis Bruguiera cylindrica Bruguiera gymnorrhiza Bruguiera parviflora Bruguiera .sexangula Ceriops decandra Ceriops tagal Excoecaria agallocha Heritiera littoralis Kandelia candel Kandelia rheedii Lumnitzera littorea

and muddy shores. Along the creeks the width ranges from 0.5 km to 1 km. Mangroves do occur on rock shores subjected to tidal action and regular deposits of mud. Mangroves in Andaman are represented by 35 species and other common associated flora represents 62 species (Tables 2 and 3).

Family Acanthaceae Acanthaceae Acanthaceae Pteridaceae Plumbaginaceae Myrsinaceae Verbenaceae/Avicenniaceae Verbenaceae/Avicenniaceae Verbenaceae/Avicenniaceae Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Euphorbiaceae Sterculiaceae Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Combretaceae

166 Table 2. Contd. S. No. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

Recent Trends in Biodiversity of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Mangroves of Andaman Lumnitzera racimosa Nypa fruiticans Phoenix paludosa Rhizophora apiculata Rhizophora lamarckii Rhizophora mucronata Rhizophora stylosa Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea Sonneratia alba Sonneratia apetala Sonneratia caseolaris Sonneratia griffithii Xylocarpus granatum Xylocarpus mekongensis (= X-gangeticus) Xylocarpus moluccensis Palmaceae Arecaceae

Family Combretaceae

Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Rhizophoraceae Rubiaceae Lythraceae Lythraceae Lythraceae Lythraceae Meliaceae Meliaceae Meliaceae

Table 3. Other Mangrove associated coastal flora in Andaman 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. Adenanthera pavonina Aglaia cucullata Aisandra butyracea Ardisia solanacea Atalantia monophylla Barringtonia asiatica Barringtonia racemosa Boswellia serrata Brownlowia lanceolata Calophyllum innophyllum Centotheca lappacea Cerbera manghas Chydenanthus excelsus Clerodendrum inerme Cocos nucifera (introduced between the years 1789 and 1796) Cycas rumphii Cynometra iripa Cynometra ramiflora Cyperus kyllinga Dalbergia spinosa Dendrolobium umbellatum 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. Derris heterophylla Derris trifoliata Ehretia acuminate Euphorbia nerifolia Ficus altissimai Finlaysonia obovata Fimbrisstylis littoralis Glochidion calocarpum Glycosmis mauritiana Guettarda speciosaI Hernandia peltata Hibiscus tiliaceus Indigofera glandulosa Indigofera zollingeriana Ipomoea pes-caprae Ischaemum muticum Manilkara littoralis Messerschmidia argentea Mimusops species Morinda citrifolia Mucuna gigantean

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Table 3. Contd. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. Ochrosia oppositifolia Olax imbricata Ophiorrhiza mungos Pandanus andamanensis Pandanus leram Pandanus odoratissimus Pandanus tectorius Pemphis acidula Pongamia pinnata Scaevola plumierii 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. Scaevola sericea Scaevola taccada Sophora tomentosa Sporobolus virginicus Syzigium samarangense Tabernaemontana crispa Thespesia populnea Triphasia trifolia Vitex diversifolia Vitex trifoliata L.

Geology of Andaman and Nicobar Islands George Weber (2005) explains geologically, the Andamans and Nicobars represent the highest peaks of an under-water mountain range which is itself an extension of the Arakan range in Burma and the Sumatran Barisan ranges to the south. The islands lie parallel to a geological fault line to the east, crossing the Andaman Sea from north to south. The line marks two tectonic plates rubbing against each other: the eastern plate, an extension of the huge Eurasian plate, is stationary, while the Indian plate to the west is moving north to northeast at the rate of a few centimetres a year, taking the Andaman Islands with it. This slow movement is still pushing up the Himalayan Mountains and causes earthquakes and volcanic activity in and around the islands. Indias only active volcanoes, on Barren and Narcondam Islands, are caused by the fault line. The Andamans are rising and falling with the erratic local movement of the earths crust. On a geological time-scale these are mere shudders, small and rapid. While the large-scale geological trend still continues to cause a slow rising of the Andamans, in the relatively short term of a few thousand years, the islands have both sunk and risen. On the still shorter timescale of a few hundred years and quite independently of any geological movements, the sea has also been rising and falling. The interaction of all these movements has resulted in a complex rising and falling, a growing and shrinking of the land area available to plants, animals and people. (George, 2005). Recent tilting of Andaman plates during 2004 exposed or submerged several hectares of corals

and mangroves. In South Andaman, in particular localities 3080 per cent of mangrove stands got affected. In Middle Andaman the impact is negligible, whereas in the North Andaman due to tilting and elevation of land, the sea water is not reaching some of the mangrove stands. The tidal waves that swamped the mangrove stands have affected the giant fern Acrostichum aureum and the aquatic sedge Fimbrisstylis littoralis. The mangroves such as Rhizophora spp, Bruguiera spp, Avicennia spp, Sonneratia spp, etc. have also got affected in various degrees based on their physiological response to the continuous inundation or exposure under the changed scenario. Mangroves and Sea Level Rise Mangrove ecosystems could keep up with a sealevel rise of up to 8-9 cm/100 years, but at rates of over 12 cm/100 years could not persist. This is due to low rates of sediment accumulation, with limited sources from outside the mangrove zone, such as from rivers or soil erosion sources (Ellison and Stoddart, 1991). Scenario of overall impact on sea level rise would be different on Andaman Islands where mangroves are already restricted in areas by coastal topography and tidal amplitude. Mangroves in these areas, especially in Andaman and Nicobar Islands may come under stress or may not persist in moderate to high rate of sea level rise. As about 260 km of the coast of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are lined with mangroves and they have restricted scope of adjustment in response to sea level rise, the impact of climate change on extent and species composition of mangroves may be devastative

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when sea level rise exceed about 10cm/100 years (Singh, 2000). It is suggested that a rise in mean sea-level may be the most important factor influencing the future distribution of mangroves but that the effect will vary dramatically depending on the local rate of sea-level rise and the availability of sediment to support reestablishment of the mangroves (Field, 1995). Mangrove Restoration Practices There are basically three approaches which are used in mangrove restoration programs: 1) Hydrologic restoration with no planting 2) Hydrologic restoration with planting 3) Planting without consideration for hydrology Though method 1 and 2 are the best, however in India, method 3 is the only method tried and almost always has significant problems in achieving success. It is not easy to create a garden of mangroves where none existed before and ideal combination of factors for best mangrove establishment is depicted in Table 4. Understanding the restoration site Several efforts to restore coastal mangrove areas involved simple planting of mangrove seedlings and propagules. In many instances, seedlings raised in nurseries to be hand-planted in neat, regularly spaced rows, are often placed in inappropriate locations, such as mud flats or salt flats, where the present hydrology and soil conditions are all wrong and mangroves do not belong. Already, there have been numerous failures due to planting of inappropriate species, in inappropriate locations, but in general failure occurs due to a lack of understanding of the restoration site itself. Knowing not, the history, existed mangroves, area of existence, hydrological requirements of species, substrate depth in which mangroves were growing earlier, freshwater inputs during their existence, exchange of tidal and sea water regime in the past etc is the major drawback of any mangrove restoration attempt. Contrary to popular belief mangroves require some freshwater to grow well, and they are submerged only around 33 per cent of the time. Planting mangroves along an exposed coastline, in too deep water without fresh water input will also end up in failure (Lewis, 2005).

Planting on Mudflats Mangrove ecosystems are so specialized that any minor variation in their hydrological or tidal regimes causes noticeable mortality. Each species of mangrove occurs in ecological conditions that approach its limit of tolerance with regard to salinity of the water and soil, as well as the inundation regime (Blasco and Saenger et al., 1996). Generally coastal mudflats are defined as the potential sites for mangrove restoration by foresters and restoration practitioners. For example, Gujarat State government has notified large areas of coastal mudflats about 63,710 ha of mud flats as potential areas for mangrove restoration (Singh, 2000). Restoring mangroves does not mean converting one good habitat (i.e., mudflats or seagrass meadows) into mangroves. That makes no ecological sense (Lewis, 2005). Most of the attempts of mangrove plantation activities have been carried out in areas that previously did not support mangroves, like mudflats in front of existing mangroves. Essentially all of these projects, many costing several crores of rupees have not worked for success. If the mudflat did not normally support mangroves, there was a reason that mudflats are too wet to allow mangroves to grow. They are flooded too often. Like people, mangroves need to take a deep breath very regularly and can easily drown. This fact is not obvious to the casual observer who intends restoring mangroves. Potential Site Selection and successful mangrove restoration The six step approach of Ecological Mangrove Restoration (EMR) (Lewis and Marshall, 1997; Lewis, 1999; Lewis and Streever, 2000; Lewis 2005) on mangrove restoration projects are successfully evidenced in eleven countries, including Unites States, Nigeria, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cuba, Mexico, and Costa Rica and the technology is applicable all over the world. We along with Mangrove Action Project (MAP) suggest the active use of the six-step EMR method as an effective long-term solution to degraded mangrove forests worldwide especially in India. The initial act before restoration is finding a place that historically supported mangroves (based upon confirmation with maps, aerial photos and local knowledge) and finding out the reason for

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Table 4. Ideal Combination of Factors for Best Mangrove Establishment Parameters 23-30oC 23-28oC 5-30 ppt 5-25 ppt 7.5-8.5 7-8 Low Moderate to new Nursery 23-38oC 25-30oC 20-37 ppt 15-35 ppt 7.5-8.5 7-8 Low Moderate to new Very old degraded soils withoutgood flushing will be highly anoxic which restrict the growth of plants Silt Clay Loam Clay Banks of Back Waters Estuarine banks River banks (Increasing Mangroves in banks should not interrupt the hydrology or carrying capacity of the estuaries/ rivers in future) Degraded Mangroves Heavy Mild (3-4m) Semidiurnal Regular Big/Mature Good/un-infected by predators; healthy seedlings Direct Dibbling Nursery raised seedlings may be used if volunteer seedling fails in water front areas Ecological mangrove restoration Volunteer seedling establishment Little planting for acceleration a day) has been disrupted. Either too much water via impoundment, or too little via blockage of tides and rainfall entry or construction of dikes for other purposes ultimately disruption of normal hydrology. Establishment

Restoration of Hydrology should be the preliminary step to establish mangroves Temperature (Soil) Temperature (Water) Salinity (Soil) Salinity (Water) pH (Soil) pH (Water) Anoxic Condition Age of the soil

Soil Texture Area

Silt Clay Banks of Back Waters Estuarine banks River banks Shaded areas not much exposed to Sun/depending on species

Organic Load Land Elevation Tidal Pattern Inundation Pattern Seed Size Seed/seedling Quality Technique

Heavy/Moderate Mild Semidiurnal Regular Big/Mature Good/un-infected by predators Developing nursery in the plantation premises

Best Technique

Volunteer Seedling establishment

their absence today. The most common reasons perhaps are: (a) they have been cut so fast they could not re-grow or; (b) the normal hydrology for mangroves (i.e., tidal inundation for 2-5, hours a day on average, year round, and dry 19-22 hours

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Important feature in designing a successful mangrove restoration project is determining the normal hydrology (depth, duration and frequency and of tidal flooding) of the existing natural mangrove plant communities (a reference site) in the proposed restoration area (Lewis, 2005). Six Steps to Successful Mangrove Restoration (Lewis, 2005), explains understanding both autecology (individual species ecology) and community ecology; understanding the normal hydrologic patterns; assess modifications of the previous mangrove environment that currently prevent natural secondary succession; select an appropriate mangrove restoration site through application of above, and also take into consideration resolution of land ownership/use issues necessary for ensuring long-term access to and conservation of sites; and design restoration programs initially to restore the appropriate hydrology and take advantage of natural volunteer recruitment of mangrove propagules; and finally try actual planting process of nursery cultivated seedlings only after determining that natural recruitment will not be able to provide the quantity of natural volunteer seedlings, to achieve the quantitative goals of the restoration project. An Emerging Threat : Massive mangrove plantation drives The species most often selected for mangrove plantation drives are the Avicennia, Rhizophora, Sonneratia, Kandelia, Ceriops, Bruguiera, Aegiceras, Lumnitzera, and Nipa palm. These tree species are chosen for their availability and ease of collecting and propagating their seeds. Such large-scale mangrove plantings are actually afforestation efforts, not restoration, and high failure rates ensue. Most of these mangrove restoration projects are planting only one species, usually the Rhizophora or Avicennia. Those few projects that do succeed in establishing mangroves are more of a monoculture, rather than a healthy multi-species mangrove forest as naturally occurs in the tropics. The emerging threats to existing mangroves due to mangrove plantation are, a) seed collection from a target candidate species, b) unreasonable target area for restoration, c) unaccountable implementing agencies, d) unchecked survival or growth performance of such mangrove

establishments by funding agencies or Government, e) prospect of protection right of such establishments, f) lack of proper guidelines for mangrove development or restoration for funding and implementing agencies. The mangrove plantation projects even possess fantasy targets up to 5000 ha and in order to cater such large areas, seeds from the natural forests near by are depleted in abundant. Therefore, the process of natural regeneration in that particular area as well as the area up to the seed reaches is interrupted. It is important to understand and appreciate the fact that mangroves normally produce thousands of floating seedlings per tree every year, and these spread far and wide and allow mangroves to colonize nearly every place where they can survive. The seed output was 95,0001,50,000/tree and >28.5x106 seeds per hectare in Muthupet forest, south east of India and 95 per cent seeds fall under the parent tree and 50 per cent of these were carried away by tidal action (Oswin, 1998 and 2006). For this significant reason the natural regeneration of forests by allowing the seeds to travel and germinate in potential areas, should be facilitated and not interrupted. Continuous process of razing off seeds every season from natural patches from target species would in long term affect the existing mangroves from regenerating future forests. Neither the developed mangrove plantation would exist due to the improper management nor do the natural forests exist in future, due to severe stress of seed extraction and continuous utilization for fodder and grazing. Hence, it is high time switching on to EMR for restoring large target areas. CONCLUSION The significance of conserving and managing mangroves is not exaggerated as recent catastrophic events of nature emphasize the urgency in Anadman and Nicobar islands. Mangrove floral and associated coastal floral diversity depicted represents the wealth of the island. The detail on soil conditions and environment preferred by different genus of mangroves and ideal combination of factors for best mangrove establishment would help restoration practitioners to plan mangrove

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development projects. Controlling mangrove area encroachment is a challenge. An alarm is raised to understand the emerging threat to existing mangroves in the term of plantation drives. The right approach to restore mangroves through Ecological Mangrove Restoration technique is proclaimed for large area restoration and for long term ecological sustenance. Mangrove Action Project together with different NGOs facilitates many workshops and Trainings on Ecological Mangrove Restoration. These hands-on workshops and training are designed in such a way that local mangrove

restoration practitioners, local NGOs and community members could actively participate in learning the basic principles of ecological mangrove restoration (EMR) techniques. Conserving and restoring mangroves is a win-win solution for protecting life on this planet. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Thanks are due to Dr. C. Raghunathan, Officerin-Charge, Zoological Survey of India, Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre, Port Blair for this pleasant opportunity to prepare a paper on mangroves of A & N Islands.

REFERENCES Blasco, F., and Saenger, P. 1996. Mangroves as indicators of coastal change. Catena 27(3-4) : 167-178. Costanza, R., DArge, R., Groot, R.D., 1997. The value of the worlds ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature (London) 387, (6630) : 253-260 Ellison, J.C. and Stoddart, D.R. 1991. Mangrove Ecosystem Collapse During Predicted Sea-Level RiseHolocene Analogs and Implications. J. Coastal Research, 7(1) : 151-165. Field, C.D. 1995. Impact of Expected Climate-Change On Mangroves. Hydrobiologia, 295(1-3) : 75-81. George Weber, 2005. They call it home. www.andaman.org/Book/chapter2/text2.htm. Last change 03 July 2005. Lewis, R.R. and Marshall, M.J. 1997. Principles of successful restoration of shrimp aquaculture ponds back to mangrove forests. Programa/resumes de Marcuba 97, September 15/20, Palacio de onvenciones de La Habana, Cuba. 126. Lewis, R. R. and Streever, B. 2000. Restoration of Mangrove Habitat ERDC TN-WRP-VN-RS-3.2 October 2000 Lewis, R.R. 1999. Key concepts in successful ecological restoration of mangrove forests. In : Proceedings of the TCE-Workshop No. II, Coastal Environmental Improvement in Mangrove/Wetland Ecosystems, 1823 August 1998, Danish-SE Asian Collaboration on Tropical Coastal Ecosystems (TCE) Research and Training, Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand, 1932. Lewis, R.R. 2005. Ecological engineering for successful management and restoration of mangrove forests. Ecological Engineering, 24 : 403418 Oswin D. S. 1998. Survey, Utilization and Conservation of natural resources of Muthupet mangroves, southeast coast of India. Ph.D. Thesis, Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli. Oswin S.D. 2006. Reproductive phenology of Avicennia marina at Muthupet mangroves. Panda Bulletin, 11(1) : 4. Press Information Bureau, 2008. Damages to Coastal Eco-Systems Due to Tsunami and its Assessments Press Release, Press Information Bureau, Govt. Of India, May 28, 2008 http://pib.nic.in/release Primavera, J. H. 1991. Intensive prawn farming in the Philippines: ecological, social, and economics implications. Ambio, 20 : 28-33. Singh, H.S. 2000. Mangroves in Gujarat, Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation, Gandhinagar Walshand J.P. and Nittrouer, C.A. 2004. Mangrove-bank sedimentation in a mesotidal environment with large sediment supply, Gulf of Papua. Marine Geology, 208(2-4) : 225-248