To protect mangroves in the coastal regions, the Forest Department with the help of residents and women SHGs onboarded all the stakeholders to encourage local ownership of the project. The objective was to protect livelihoods based on aquaculture, strengthen the soil, stop water encroachment and prevent soil erosion. Protection buffers for the coastal areas are established to safeguard against spikes in the sea level. Over 5,000 ha of mangrove cover has been achieved in 3 coastal districts. Nearly 23 lakh man-days under the MGNREGS system have been deployed. Frontline staff and field laborers received skill
L to R: Manisha Kochhar, Director, SKOCH Development Foundation; Sameer Kochhar, Chairman, SKOCH Group; Mr. Saurabh Chaudhuri, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Member Secretary, West Bengal Zoo Authority and Nodal Officer Mangrove Plantation Dept of Forests, Govt. of West Bengal
training to contribute to the project. The enhanced ecosystem services will generate greater food items and timber products. The green corridor is expected to provide safe cover to the Royal Bengal Tiger population.
Women’s SHGs have been brought into the fold for nursery management and planting. Local practices and knowledge have been optimised to identify mangrove propagules with the potential to plan nursery management strategies. For instance, bamboo poles and fishing nets have been used to create ad-hoc barriers against grazing. The local calendar is used to design the plantation schedule based on the moon’s phases and tidal patterns. Trenches and ‘fish-bone channels’ have been developed to trap newly-created silt to provide improved germination for the mangrove propagules. Research has been conducted to identify fauna that is complementary to mangrove cover and can not only help bind the soil better but is also viable in high-salinity regions.