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Restoration Initiatives And Dependency Reduction On Mangrove Wetlands: A Case Study Of Ashirawandh Village, Kachchh, Gujarat, India

G. A. Thivakaran
Published 2017 · Geography

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Mangrove wetlands in tropical countries provide enormous ecological and economic services to coastal communities. In the semiarid district of Kachchh, northwestern state of Gujarat, India, dependency of coastal communities on mangrove resources for fodder is considerable. Kachchh has the largest (789 km2) mangrove formation in the Indian west coast composed mainly of Avicennia marina though two other species were reported sporadically. Mangrove stand near human settlements in this coastal district is the main source of fodder since fodder from terrestrial sources is sparse due to pronounced aridity of the region. With a livestock population of 1,021,454 during 2011 in coastal blocks that predominantly depends on mangrove biomass for fodder, mangroves face severe threats in the district. This chapter presents the attempts made to create a model for mangrove regeneration with participation of a selected coastal community in order to reduce dependency on natural mangroves. One coastal village with total dependency on mangroves was involved to regenerate 251 ha of mangroves and to manage the created resource to ensure sustainable fodder security. This totally mangrove-dependent village, whose 274 livestock fully depend on the mangroves for fodder, was enabled to raise mangrove plantation and to sustainably manage it. Through village participation, 251 ha of mangroves were regenerated, which besides ensuring their long-term fodder security also generated employment to the villagers to the tune of 17,375 man-days over a 5-year period. The resource management capacity of the target community was simultaneously enhanced through 62 programs on ecological and economic significance of mangroves and training on organizational and technical aspects of mangrove plantation. The gender equated village committee formed was trained in collective decision making on different issues of mangrove regeneration and means of rendering the present dependency sustainable. Dependency on mangrove resources was also reduced by creation of 47 ha grassplots, which served as an alternative to meet fodder requirements of the target community. It is expected that the raised resource will meet the entire mangrove fodder requirement after a period of 7 years when the planted trees reach harvestable size.
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