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Drive to conserve mangrove species

Residents of a remote village in Kendrapara district have successfully conserved acres of mangrove species in swampy forest areas, realising how these species act as natural barrier against cyclonic storm.

By Our Correspondent
  • Published 3.11.17
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Mangrove forest in Kandarapatia village. Telegraph picture

Paradip: Residents of a remote village in Kendrapara district have successfully conserved acres of mangrove species in swampy forest areas, realising how these species act as natural barrier against cyclonic storm.

Everybody in Kandarapatia village has made up their mind to conserve the forest. This forest has emerged as a savoir to protect them from gusty cyclonic wind. Nobody resorts to tree-felling. The lush-green forest has protected them from cyclonic devastation, said Hrushikesh Giri, who spearheads the local jungle protection committee.

The committee has been constituted to keep a watch on tree-felling.

"We have a bunch of dedicated committee members who traverse through the forest regularly to see that the trees are protected. People from the economically weaker sections of society depend on firewood for cooking. After the committee accords sanction, they will be allowed to collect firewood only once in a week," Giri said.

"The super cyclone had devastated large areas. However, our village was saved from nature's fury as the standing mangroves trees acted as a bio-shield. Since then, local residents realised that mangroves are helpful for their survival. They now religiously protect the forest," said former sarpanch Bijoy Kumar Shukla.

"People here have voluntarily come forward to protect the forest, which has considerably lessened the wind velocity during the 1999 cyclone. The forest had also plugged the ingress of tidal waves. These disasters have made them realise the importance of forest cover. We have not come across cases of tree-felling or wildlife offences committed by residents of Kandarapatia," said forest range officer of Mahakalpada forest range, Bijoy Kumar Parida.

"Apart from Kandarapatia village, awareness on conservation of mangroves is slowly increasing in vulnerable coastal human settlements of Kendrapara district. Earlier, the residents of Suniti village had taken up drive for mangrove regeneration. We had come across another instance of people conserving the mangrove forest in a village under Rajnagar block. This is a positive development. The periodic low pressure formation and cyclone warning have made people understand the significance of mangrove species," said divisional forest officer, Rajnagar mangrove (wildlife) forest division, Bimal Prasanna Acharya.

Kandarapatia residents have set the example of forest conservation that is spreading to other areas, he added.