In its bid to increase mangrove cover along the Odisha coast, the State Government has decided to take up plantation over 1,000 hectares in four districts.
The Mangrove Action Committee of the State Government has recommended mangrove plantation over 500 hectare in Bhitarkanika and Mahanadi Delta in Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts. Similarly, plantation over another 500 hectares in Balasore and Bhadrak will also be taken up during 2012-13.
In the last five years, mangrove plantation has been taken up over 2,500 hectares in Balasore and Bhadrak districts under the Odisha Forestry Sector Development Project while another 3,000 hectare was augmented in Mahanadi Delta, Bhitarkanika and the Devi river mouths. The Government has also planned to regulate pisciculture and agriculture along the river ends. Since most of these livelihood activities are carried out near rivers where saline water inundation takes place, it affects mangrove forests adversely. District-level committees will be constituted to tackle growth of such activities.
The last Forest Survey of India had estimated mangrove forest cover at 220 sq km, a rise of 2 sq km over 10 years. It generally takes four to five years for the mangrove species to grow sufficiently to register as canopy during the survey.