From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : MAC
Mains level : Mangrove conservation efforts
At the 27th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP27), this year’s UN climate summit, the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC) was launched with India as a partner.
Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC)
- An initiative led by the UAE and Indonesia, the MAC includes India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Japan, and Spain.
- It seeks to educate and spread awareness worldwide on the role of mangroves in curbing global warming and its potential as a solution for climate change.
- Under MAC, UAE intends to plant 3 million mangroves in the next two months, in keeping with UAE’s COP26 pledge of planting 100 million mangroves by 2030.
Working of MAC
- MAC would work on a voluntary basis. It means that there are no real checks and balances to hold members accountable.
- Instead, the parties will decide their own commitments and deadlines regarding planting and restoring mangroves.
- The members will also share expertise and support each other in researching, managing and protecting coastal areas.
Why protect mangroves?
- Infrastructure projects — industrial expansion, shifting coastlines, coastal erosion and storms, have resulted in a significant decrease in mangrove habitats.
- Between 2010 and 2020, around 600 sq km of mangroves were lost of which more than 62% was due to direct human impacts, the Global Mangrove Alliance said in its 2022 report.
Importance of mangroves
- Biodiversity: Mangrove forests — consisting of trees and shrub that live in intertidal water in coastal areas — host diverse marine life.
- Fishing grounds: They also support a rich food web, with molluscs and algae-filled substrate acting as a breeding ground for small fish, mud crabs and shrimps, thus providing a livelihood to local artisanal fishers.
- Carbon sinks: Equally importantly, they act as effective carbon stores, holding up to four times the amount of carbon as other forested ecosystems.
- Cyclone buffers: When Cyclone Amphan struck West Bengal in May, its effects were largely mitigated by the Sundarbans flanking its coasts along the Bay of Bengal.
Threats to Mangroves
- Anthropogenic activities: They are a major threat to the mangroves. Urbanization, industrialization and the accompanying discharge of industrial effluents, domestic sewage and pesticide residues from agricultural lands threaten these fragile ecosystems.
- Saltpan and aquaculture: This causes huge damage to the mangroves. Shrimp farming alone destroyed 35,000 hectares of mangroves worldwide.
- Destruction for farming: 40% of mangroves on the west coast has been converted into farmlands and other settlements in just 3 decades.
- Sea-level rise: This is another challenge to these mangroves- especially on the Bay of Bengal coast.
Mangroves in India
- India holds around 3 percent of South Asia’s mangrove population.
- Besides the Sundarbans in West Bengal, the Andaman region, the Kutch and Jamnagar areas in Gujarat too have substantial mangrove cover.
How can India benefit from MAC?
- India is home to one of the largest remaining areas of mangroves in the world — the Sundarbans.
- It has years of expertise in restoration of mangrove cover that can be used to aid global measures in this direction.
- The move is in line with India’s goal to increase its carbon sink.
Try this PYQ:
Q.Which one of the following is the correct sequence of ecosystems in the order of decreasing productivity?
(a) Oceans, lakes, grasslands, mangroves
(b) Mangroves, oceans, grasslands, lakes
(c) Mangroves, grasslands, lakes, oceans
(d) Oceans, mangroves, lakes, grasslands
Post your answers here.