KOCHI: The Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) has launched a project for the protection and management of mangroves, with the aim of enhancing fisheries and the ecology.
The research project, which will focus on society and ecosystem, will analyse contributions of mangroves to the ecosystem, assess biodiversity of mangroves in the State, evaluate efficiency of mangroves as a bio-absorbent and create awareness among the public on the benefits of mangroves.
The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under the Central Department of Science and Technology, has allotted Rs 11 lakh to the Puthuvype Fisheries Station under the Kufos for carrying out the project.
The project mainly aims at expanding the area of mangrove forests through scientific intervention and better awareness. Under the project, areas will be identified for restoration of mangroves through participation of women and children.
“Studies on bio-absorption of toxicants like heavy metals by mangroves will confirm the advantages of this plant community more convincingly to the public,” said K Dinesh, head of Fisheries Station and principal investigator of the project.
“One of the major reasons behind the extensive destruction of mangroves in India is lack of awareness among local residents. They are ignorant about the biological, ecological and economical significance, as well as societal benefits of this plant group. The project will adopt a holistic approach towards addressing the grave issue, through multifaceted programmes like creating mass awareness, establishing the ecological benefits of mangroves, encouraging artificial propagation, restoring the mangrove population and augmenting afforestation through people-participation,” he said.
A Mangrove Research Centre is already functioning at the Fisheries Station, where thousands of mangrove plants are produced every year for distribution among local self-government institutions and the Forest Department for coastal afforestation.