General Knowledge for OAS Prelims: Mangroves of India

Mangroves are very specialized forest ecosystem of tropical and sub-tropical region of the world bordering sheltered sea-coasts. They occurs all along the Indian coastline in the sheltered estuaries, tidal creecks, backwaters, salt marshes and mudflats, covering a total area of 0.67m ha.

Mangroves are dominated by salt tolerant halophytic plants of diverse structure, and are invaluable marine nurseries for a large variety of fish and other marine fauna. Mangroves have dense network of aerial roots which help to aerate the root system and anchor the tree.

In world’s total mangrove cover vegetation, India’s share stands at 3%. The mangrove cover in India has increased by following acute conservation in sunderbans and Bitarkanika forest.

As per the ISFR 2015 report, the total area of mangrove cover of India is 4740 km2, which contributes 3.4% to the global mangrove cover. The deltas of the Ganges, Mahanadi, Krishna, Godavari, and Kaveri rivers contain mangrove forests. Indian mangroves consist of 46 species (4 of which are natural hybrids) belonging to 22 genera and 14 families, representing about 57% of the world’s mangrove species.

Mangroves of India

East Coast:

West Bengal: Sunderbans

Odisha: Mahanadi, Bhitarkanika

Andhra Pradesh: Godavari, Krishna

Tamil Nadu: Pichavaram, Muthupet, Point Calimore

West Coast:

Gujarat: Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Khambat

Goa: Gao

Karnataka: Coondapur

Maharashtra: Achra/Ratnagir

Kerala: Vembanad

Other Mangroves:

Andaman and Nichobar Islands

The following table shows the prevalence of mangroves in the states of India and the total area covered by them in square kilometres.

Rank States/UTs with highest mangrove cover in 2015 Total mangrove cover in km2
1 West Bengal 2,106
2 Gujarat 1,107
3 Andaman And Nicobar Islands 617
4 Andhra Pradesh 367
5 Odisha 231
6 Maharashtra 222
7 Tamil Nadu 47
8 Goa 26
9 Kerala 9
10 Karnataka 3


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