Mangrove Conservation: On International Day for Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem, Reliance Foundation organised interactive sessions and multi-location video conferencing for local communities with experts on importance and conservation of mangrove ecosystem. These sessions connected with over 80 participants from diverse backgrounds including PRI members, village forest protection committee members, youth volunteers, students, environment conservation activists and members from local communities in the disaster-prone coastal districts of Balasore, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur in Odisha.
Addressing the participants on the importance of mangrove forest and its benefits, Manas Chandra Das, Range Officer, Kanika Forest Range, stated that mangrove ecosystem is an important wetland system which provides not just livelihood security to coastal communities, but also ecological security along the coastline. He further explained how mangroves offer an essential source of protection against the effects of natural hazards and erosions because they serve as a buffer against strong winds, storm surges, and tsunamis. Beyond protection, mangroves provide a home to dozens of different types of fish, birds, and small animals, in addition to being a source of food and livelihood for fishermen and local communities.
Emphasizing that the protective role of mangroves as a disaster reduction tool has widely been recognized, Prasanna Kumar Nayak, Researcher-Mangrove, Rajnagar Forest Division (Wildlife) outlined important ecological functions offered by mangroves which include water filtration, prevention of coastal erosion, coastal protection from storms and floods, carbon storage, buffering of ocean acidification, food, timber, and livelihood provision, and biodiversity protection. He also explained ways of conservation and effective management of mangrove ecosystems.
Environment Protection activist and United Nations India Yuwaah Advocate (2022-24) Soumya Ranjan Biswal emphasized on the role of youth for mangrove conservation and building climate resilience. Appreciating the efforts of Reliance Foundation towards conservation and regeneration of mangrove forests with the help of local communities, he asserted that such efforts would play an important role in mitigating the impact of climate change.
It is worth mentioning here that championing Nature-based Solutions (NbS) for disaster risk reduction, Reliance Foundation had undertaken a two-week campaign ahead of World Environment Day 2023. As part of this campaign Reliance Foundation organized workshops to raise awareness about mangrove preservation amongst school students and community members, including PRI Members, local youth volunteers, Aapada Mitra, members of the Cyclone shelter management committee, and SHG leaders, across four disaster-prone districts of Jagatsinghpur, Balasore, Bhadrak and Ganjam. Reliance Foundation also facilitated plantation of mangrove hypocotyls (specifically Rhizophora, Kandelia Candel, and Bruguiera gymnorrhiza species), in five high-risk villages in these four disaster-prone districts in Odisha.