Mangroves Planation Drive Underway in Pakistan
Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to life in harsh coastal conditions. They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action. Mangrove swamps protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surge and tsunamis.They act as a natural protection barriers against the salt water from the sea. Because of the uniqueness of mangrove ecosystems and the protection against erosion they provide, they are often the object of conservation programs
Pakistani mangroves are located mainly along the delta of the Indus River . Major mangrove forests are found on the coastline of the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan.
In Karachi, fast growing population and land reclamation projects, have led to the cutting down of mangrove forests for commercial and urban development. Similarly all across the coast line Mangrove concentration has decreased over last 203 decades leading to soil erosion and slat water pushing inland laying waste to thousand of acre of fertile land.
But with help of Pakistan Navy over past few years a coast wide Mangrove Plantation drive is underway.
On 22 June 2013, Sindh Forest Department, Govt. of Sindh, Pakistan, with the help of 300 local coastal volunteer planters set the Guinness World Record by planting 847,250 mangrove saplings at Kharo Chan, Thatta, Sindh, Pakistan in a little over 12 hours. This is the highest number of saplings planted within a day under the Guinness World Record category of "Maximum Number of Trees Planted in a Day".
A gigantic initiative is under in the Sindh, Pakistan, to rehabilitate the degraded and blank mangrove mudflats. Since 2010 alone, around 55,000 Hectares of such area has been planted and rehabilitated. During this period, through concerted efforts and a rigorous conservation policy adopted by the Sindh Forest Department, Govt. of Sindh and the federal govt. a mangrove resource base of 150,000 plus Hectares has been created, with the support of local coastal communities. International organizations like IUCN and WWF are also playing critical role to support this initiative of the government. Other achievements include declaring all the mangrove forests in the Indus Delta as Protected Forests in December 2010, Constitution of a Mangrove Conservation Committee at the provincial level which includes all stakeholders as members and overall awareness of the importance of mangroves and its ecosystem.
In 2016, in collaboration with the forest departments of Sindh and Balochistan, International Union for Conservation of Nature and World Wild Life Fund, the Pakistan Navy planted one million mangrove plants along the coastal line.
In 2017 more than one million mangroves were planted in the coastal areas of Pakistan. In 2018 the target of mangrove plantation was raised to 2.5 million from Sir Creek to Jiwani and was divided into different phases over the year 2018.
This campaign included forestation, protection, and monitoring along with awareness-raising in collaboration with various stakeholders at various levels. Also, 772,000 seeds/propagates and 220,000 of Rhizophora Species were planted in 2018 to achieve the plantation target.
In 2019 the Pakistan Navy has planned to plant more than four million mangroves along the coasts of Balochistan and Sindh to promote sustainable management of mangrove forests. The objectives of this campaign are to support national efforts aimed at the protection and/or rehabilitation of mangroves eco-systems, to establish a monitoring system to ensure sustained protection of mangroves, encourage community participation and enhance public awareness and education on the benefits of mangrove forests especially amongst children and local communities.
These efforts remain vital to protection of Pakistan Coast and painting a vibrant eco system for the local plants, animals and birds species alike.
Image : Wikipedia