Tsunami Project

Objective

The overall objective of the "Rehabilitation of livelihood of coastal communities in Tsunami affected areas of Puducherry through forestry" is to contribute to improving the resilience of the Tsunami affected coastal villages of Puducherry and Karaikal regions by establishing improved natural barriers, protective systems through community participation.

The Following Specific Objective Will Contribute To The Above Overall Objective

The purpose of the "Rehabilitation of livelihood of coastal communities in Tsunami affected areas of Puducherry through forestry" is to improve the livelihoods of the people in the coastal belt of Puducherry and Karaikal regions.

The specific objectives are

  • To provide employment and income generating opportunities to the Tsunami affected village communities through the setting up of nurseries and in the extensive planting of indigenous tree and mangrove species and in the establishment of micro enterprises like Mushroom production, Vermicompost production, etc.,
  • To ensure that the local community – men and women - participate in all the stages of the project cycle: planning, execution and monitoring.
  • To create coastal plantations of indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) species in combination with Casuarina as green protective barriers and restore the existing mangroves in the intertidal areas and estuary mouths by assisting the natural regrowth by protecting mangroves from being damaged by people and establish new mangroves in possible areas.
  • To establish contour bunds, small percolation ponds, Gully plugs and restoration of village ponds by providing employment opportunities for the local villagers and women SHGs
  • To create forest and mangrove based interpretation centres, which could help towards providing awareness to the fishermen, women’s groups, school children, youth and other community groups in integrated protective coastal planning and development.
  • To protect the endangered turtle species and to establish mud crab seed production centre and thereby help in improving the livelihood of the fisher folk.

The Main Planned Activities Are

  • Detailed survey of the existing poramboke/wastelands in the coastal belt for taking up tree plantations.
  • PRA exercises.
  • Establishment 6 forest based nurseries and 1 mangrove nursery in the coastal villages.
  • Plantation of Tropical Dry Ever Green Species in the Coastal Belt.
  • Establishment of 1 forest interpretation centre at Manapet village, Puducherry and the other at Karaikal.
  • Establishment of 1 mangrove interpretation centre at Puducherry .
  • Provide assistance to the fisher folk and women in the establishment of micro enterprises as an additional as well as alternative income generation source during fishing off seasons.
  • Establishment of Turtle Breeding Centre at Puducherry .
  • Establishment of Mud crab seed production centre at Puducherry .
  • Construction of small percolation ponds and rehabilitation of the existing village ponds in the coastal villages.
  • Conduct training and awareness campaigns on the various activities mentioned above.

Implementation

The "Rehabilitation of livelihood of coastal communities in Tsunami affected areas of Puducherry through forestry” will be implemented through the Department of Forest and wildlife (DFWL), of the Government of Puducherry (GoP).

Project Area

The Union Territory of Puducherry comprises of four regions – Puducherry ,Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam, which are away from each other and are located at different geographical locations. The Project area lies in Puducherry and Karaikal regions of the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Puducherry region is situated along the Bay of Bengal seacoast and the area is not continuous but is dispersed and surrounded by the State ofTamilnadu . The region consists of 12 scattered areas lying between 110 40’ and 120 30’N and 790 40’ E interspersed with enclaves of Cuddalore District and Villupuram District of Tamilnadu. The climate is humid and tropical. The Rainfall records show a long-term mean of 1260 mm/annum and the mean monthly temperature ranges between 22ºC and 33ºC. Puducherry has a coastline of about 23.25 kms and extends from Kanagachettikulam to Manapattu. The urban area of Puducherry lies on this coast. Ariankuppam, Chunnambar and Malattar rivers flow into the Bay of Bengal . Port and Fishing harbour exists in the Puducherry coast.

Karaikal region also situated along the Bay of Bengal seacoast within the Tamilnadu and is about 150 kms, south of Puducherry and is surrounded by Nagapattinam district of Tamilnadu. It is located between 100 49’ and 110 01’N and 790 43’ and 790 52’ E. The length of Karaikal coast is 17.4 kms and extends from Poovam to Vanjoor. Arasalar, Vanjoor, Mouliar and Pradavayanar Rivers flow into the Bay of Bengal .

Justification

The recent tsunami disaster has demonstrated that populations living in areas with their natural protective systems - such as mangroves and other coastal forests - were largely spared from the extreme destruction experienced in many other areas, where these systems have been cleared for agriculture, salt production, etc. There is no doubt that the coastal areas of Eastern India will see an increasing number of cyclones as a result of (among other things) global warming. Although these will have a smaller impact than the disastrous tsunami, they will still affect numerous people, and create losses of lives and economic losses.

The proposed project therefore aims to contribute to the reduction in future climate related disasters in Puducherry by establishing and promoting "green" and environmentally sustainable protective systems. Another important aspect of the project is the restoration of salt-affected and eroded soils, degraded by the tsunami and cyclones in the past. The project will do this by developing the project activities in close cooperation with the affected communities and by training, mobilising and assisting them to implement activities that on one side reduce the effect of future disasters but simultaneously are economically and environmentally viable in the short term, as well as socially just. The extensive planting of indigenous tree and mangrove species will bring back the diverse flora and fauna in the coastal belt and lead to many additional income-generating opportunities

The proposed "Rehabilitation of livelihood of coastal communities in Tsunami affected areas of Puducherry through forestry" is directly targeting in assisting and empowering the coastal communities to rehabilitate their local environment and effectively and efficiently incorporate environmentally sustainable solutions in improving their livelihood.

The project activities are closely linked to the objectives of the comprehensive plan for rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Tsunami affected States/UTs as prepared by the Core Group on Reconstruction, Management and Monitoring for Tsunami affected areas under the Indian Government's Planning Commission.

The main objective of this plan is the reconstruction of:
- housing an internal infrastructure (roads, power distribution and village level water & sewerage)(34% of the funds)
- livelihood, which includes Agriculture, Fisheries and Social Welfare programmes. (15% of funds)
- environmental/coastal protection systems (9% of the funds).

The proposed "Rehabilitation of livelihood of coastal communities in Tsunami affected areas of Puducherry through forestry" targets the same objectives with emphasis on ecologically sound systems and active participation of all the community members, especially women.

Background

The term coast will be used for as strip of land the relief forms of which have been created by the sea at a given means level. The term coast will also be applied to the wider strip of land that retains relief forms created by the sea its former high levels. As per the International standard definition, coastal zone may be defined as the area situated at a distance of 50 m. from the seacoast and on the continental shelf.

Coastal zone can be defined to include coastal waters and the adjacent shorelines strongly influenced by each other and include Islands , traditional and international areas, salt marshes, wetlands and beaches. The land immediately behind the shore zone may be regarded as the coastal zone. It is an area characterized by rich natural resources and intensive human activities. It is estimated that approximately one third of the world’s population dwells near the coast. The physical processes of earth surface are relatively more active coastal areas.

Among the most ecologically critical and threatened areas are, coastal wet lands and shallows especially lagoons and estuaries and their mangrove swamps. These areas provide food and shelter for waterfowl, fishes, crustaceans, molluscs including some of the world’s lucrative fisheries. Sea grass are important fish stocks. Coral reef systems are important because they provide habitat for fish. Coastal wet lands and coral reefs are extremely important for protecting shore lines and coastal lines against storm waves and shore erosion. Thus, coastal zone plays a prominent role in the human life. As such, protection of such areas is the responsibility of the humanity for their sustenance of today and tomorrow.

Forest

Puducherry does not have any recorded forests. Due to human interference and urbanization, it has become apparent that only very few remnants remain and that too in the sacred groves surrounding the village temples. The indigenous forest groves that exist in Pondicherry and Karaikal regions are defined as the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF). The indigenous vegetation of the area extending in the coastal belt from Ramanathapuram in the south of Tamilnadu to Vishakapatanam in Andrapradesh is known as Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF). It contains over 160 woody species of which around 70 are found within the pristine climax forest. This is predominantly composed of trees and shrubs that have thick dark green foliage throughout the year. There are six vegetative elements: trees, shrubs, lianas, epiphytes, herbs, and tuberous species. In the pristine state these components weave together to form a complex diverse habitat that is home to a myriad of animal species, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, as well as a host of microbes.

The Land use Pattern for the Union Territory of Puducherry is given below

Sl.No. Item/Division 2000 - 01 2001 - 02 2002 - 03
1 Total Area according to Village papers 48.84 48.84 48.84
2 Land not available for cultivation 15.63 15.97 16.71
3 Other uncultivated land 4.91 7.81 7.37
4 Fallow land 3.97 1.37 3.19
5 Net Area Sown 24.33 23.69 21.57
6 Total Cropped area 43.28 38.59 36.38
7 Area Sown more than once 18.95 14.90 14.81


When one includes all of the herbaceous species that grow in a variety of ecological niches within the range of the forest the number of species approaches 1000, of which over 600 have a recorded use for mankind medicinally, culturally or in religious rituals.

The relevance of the forest today lies both within its vast botanical wealth, and also its ability to ameliorate the environmental conditions that are steadily deteriorating due to the expanding population and increase of consumer lifestyles. However there is hardly any of this forest that remains free from human interference, the vast majority of forests in the area are little more than degraded thorny thickets, lacking the inherent nobility of the climax vegetation. It is the intention of this booklet to draw attention to the TDEF and put forward the case for its conservation.

This forest type is found only in South India and Sri Lanka and provides a rare biological richness due to its very high species abundance but it is now close to extinction as only 0.01% survives. Only a few isolated fragments of TDEF exist and many species of trees, shrubs are on the verge of extinction. The bioregion is home to at least 735 vegetative species including 400 plants that have medicinal properties many of which have been used for centuries by traditional practitioners. Plantations of forestry species have been taken up in Pondicherry since 1980 under social forestry and 20-point programmes on wastelands, panchayat lands, parks, school campuses, and roadsides. Although plantations have been taken up on about 8000 hectare, survival rate has been very poor due to various reasons. Biotic pressure and lack of maintenance have been found to be the main reasons for the loss of plantations.

The possibility to conserve, protect and actually restore the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest still exists today. Work has to be carried out in establishing which species go to make up the matrix of the mature forest, collecting information as to when each species flowers and fruits, and developing techniques to germinate and raise the species in nurseries to plant out either as enrichment plantings in already existing forest, or to rehabilitate bare and barren land.

At a principle, fundamental level the forest provides for the foundation of the surrounding communities. It can enhance the water holding capacities of the soil, ensuring that the ground water resource is secure. It provides a home for the pollinators and predators of pests that can help support sustainable agricultural practices.


Thick bushy prosopis uprooted due to tough resistance to waves

Unaffected Odian trees in the middle of Casuarina plantation

Palmyrah and Coconut are good soil binders and wind and wave resistors
Strategies need to be developed on many levels, to address the different possibilities for the conservation of the TDEF. Be it management and development plans for the existing reserve forests, encouraging corporations to plant TDEF within their compounds, designing forests for planting with the local communities and schools, or simply creating an awareness about the existence of a beautiful forest under threat within the population at large. The work needs to commence soon, so that we can get there sooner rather than later.

Seagull restaurant, Karaikal destroyed in Tsunami waves
Coastal areas in Puducherry are susceptible to cyclones periodically, but most of the coastal areas are not having sufficient green cover. Earlier the coastline of Union Territory used to have a mangrove cover but over the years, due to increased biotic interference almost entire natural coastal vegetation has been lost and at present not more than 50% of the coastline has any tree cover.

Mangroves

Mangroves are the rainforests by the sea. Mangroves and corals are called land builders. Mangrove is an ecological term referring to a taxonomically diverse association of woody trees and shrubs that form the dominant vegetation in tidal, saline wetlands along tropical and subtropical coasts. Mangroves are distributed all over the world. Mangrove ecosystems are open systems, which exchange matter; and energy with adjacent marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Mangrove ecosystem is always associated with estuaries and as such many estuarine animals are part and parcel of marine fauna.

There are three different types of mangroves in India
1. The deltaic mangroves occur on the east coast ( Bay of Bengal ) where mighty rivers make the deltas.
2. The backwater type of mangroves, exists in the west coast.( Arabian sea ), which is characterized by tropical funnel-shaped estuaries of major rivers ( Indus , Narmada , Tapti) or backwaters, creeks and neritic islets.
3. The insular mangroves are present in Andaman and Nicobar islands where many tidal estuaries, small rivers, neritic islets and lagoons which support a rich mangrove flora (Gopal& Krishnamurthy,1993).

Mangroves vary in height according to species and environment, from 1 mere shrub to 40 meter trees.

On the basis of the height of vegetation three categories of forest stratification can be observed in a normal mangrove ecosystem.

The widest trunk with spreading crowning is found in species of Sonneratia and Avicennia and less spreading crown found in the

species of Bruguiera and Rhizophora, which constitutes the top canopy of the forest.

The second category is controlled by shrubs and small trees represented by the species of Aegiceros, Excoecarian and Ceriops.

Small shrubs and fens such as Acanthus, Aegialitis and Acrostichium occupy third category.

One perceives a forest of jagged, gnarled trees protruding from the surface of the sea, roots anchored in deep, black, foul-smelling mud, verdant crowns arching towards blazing sun. Here is where land and sea intertwine, where the line dividing ocean and continent blurs, in this setting the marine biologist and the forest ecologist both must work at the extreme reaches of their disciplines

Mangroves are the rainforests by the sea. “The majority of the subtropical and tropical coastline is dominated by mangroves, estimated to cover an area of 22 million hectares. However, over the past several decades, the global area in mangroves has increasingly diminished as a result of a variety of uses and biotic interference.

Origin Of The Species

Scientists theorize that the earliest mangrove species originated in the Indo-Malayan region, and spread westward, borne by ocean currents, to India and East Africa, and eastward to the Americas, arriving in Central and South America during the upper Cretaceous period and lower Miocene epoch, between 66 and 23 million years ago. This may account for the fact that there are far more mangrove species present in Indo-Malayan region than anywhere else.

Ecology Of Mangroves

Mangrove forests literally live in two worlds at once, acting as the interface between land and sea. Mangroves help protect coastlines from erosion, storm damage, and wave action. The stability mangroves provide is of immense importance. They prevent shoreline erosion by action as buffers and catch alluvial materials, thus stabilizing land elevation by sediment accretion that balances sediment loss. Vital coral reefs and sea grass beds are also protected from damaging siltation.

A primary factor of the natural environment that affects mangroves over the long term is sea level and its fluctuations. Other shorter-term factors are air temperature, salinity, ocean currents, storms, shore slope, and soil substrate. Most mangroves live on muddy soils, but they also grow on sand, peat, and coral rock. If tidal conditions are optimal, mangroves can flourish far inland, along the upper reaches of coastal estuaries. The prop roots of some mangrove species, such as Rhizophora or “red mangrove”, and the pneumataphores of others, such as Avicennia or “black mangrove”, contain many small “breathing” pores, called “lenticels.” These allow oxygen to diffuse into the plant, and down to the underground roots by means of air space tissue in the cortex, called “aerenchyma”. The lenticels are inactive during high tide.

Certain species of mangroves exclude salt from their systems others actually excrete the salt they take in via their leaves, roots, or branches. In salt exuding mangrove species the mangrove roots system is so effective in filtering out salt that a thirsty traveller could drink fresh water from a cut root, though the tree itself stands in saline soil.

Mangroves And Local Communities

Mangrove ecosystems have traditionally been sustainably managed by local populations for the production of food, medicines, tannins, fuel wood, and construction materials. For millions of indigenous coastal residents, mangrove forests offer dependable, basic livelihoods and sustain their traditional cultures.

The protective mangrove buffer zone helps minimize damage of property and losses of life from hurricanes and storms. In regions where these coastal fringe forests have been cleared, tremendous problems of erosion and siltation have arisen, and sometime terrible losses to human life and property have occurred due to destructive storms. Mangroves have also been useful in treating effluent, as the plants absorb excess nitrates and phosphates thereby preventing contamination of near shore waters. Mangroves preserve water quality and reduce pollution by filtering suspended material and assimilating dissolved nutrients.

Beneficial Effects Of Mangroves

basis of a complex marine food chain
creation of breeding habitat
establishment of restrictive impounds that offer protection for maturing offspring
filtering and assimilating pollutants from upland run-off
stabilization of bottom sediments
water quality improvements
protection of shorelines from erosion
promote eco-tourism
yield by-products (NWFP) like honey, tannin, timber, paper & pulp, charcoal

Mangroves Found In Various Regions Of Puducherry

Puducherry

Puducherry is in the east coast. And east coast is having continuous stretch of mangroves from sundarbans to cape comerin the main river in Puducherry is gingeeriver(Sankarabarani river) believed to be originated from Gingee. On approaching Pondicherry it bifurcates into Ariyankuppamriver and Chunnambar rivers. Ariyankuppamriver makes a circle around the Thengaithittu an island before it mixes with sea. Maximum mangrove vegetation is found in Ariyankuppam riverbanks towards estuary. The two banks of river leading to sea found to possess mangrove vegetation mixed with some mangrove associates.

The prominent species of mangroves found in this region are Bruguiera cylindrica , Rhizophoraapiculata , Avicennia marina, Acanthus illicifolius, and Mangrove indicators like Suaedamonoica , Suaeda maritime , Sesuviumportualacastrum.

The above species are found distributed in Ariyankuppam river estuarine area. There are many large stumps of cut trees of Avicennia seen in the river adjacent to Moogambigai Nagar and Thengaithittu areas suggesting the existence of large trees of more than 50 years old in these area and the stumps of these trees producing new coppices. In these localities the dominant species is Avicennia marina and the co-dominant species are Bruguieracylindrica and Rhizophoraapiculata. A dense vast stretch of Suaeda maritime for more than 30 acres near the new port side.

Mangrove associates found in these areas are Pongamiapinnata, Clerodendruminerme, Enicostemmalittora, Wattakakavolubilis, Hemidesmusindicus, Thespesiapopulnea, Scopariadulcis.

Karaikal

In Karaikal region the mangrove vegetation is found distributed in Kizhvanjur estuary and Arasalar estuary near the light house. Most of the plants growing in the light house region backwaters were planted by artificial plantation. Karaikal is situated near Tanjavur district of Tamilnadu a stretch of Excoecariaagallocha is found in Arasalar estuary.
The species found in the area are:
Avicennia marina, Acanthus ilicifolius, Bruguieria cylindrical, Excoecariaagallocha, Ipomoea pescaprae, Sesuviumportulacastrum
The natural population of this area is Excoecariaagallocha, Sesuviumportulacastrum and Ipomoea pescaprae. There are few mangrove associates including some grasses are also seen. Pongamiapinnata, Clerodendruminerme, Prosopis juliflora

Socio-Economic Aspects Of Mangroves

Mangroves offer apart from ecological benefits variety of economic products to human beings Rhizophoraspp have storage of anti-fungal activity. The tannins obtained from the bark exhibits higher anti-fungal activity than those from leaves and wood. Rhizophoramucronata acts as soil binder, fuel wood, timber tannins and nesting place for many avifauna. Stem bark contains high percent of tannin, which useful for leather industries. Bark is also astringent and said to be medicinally used in hemorrhage, helotries and angina. Is has been reported that the mangrove extract act on HIV on MT-4 cells and found that the plants belongs to he family Rhizophoraceae were more active.
Suaeda maritime occasionally cooked as vegetable by rural poor people, cattle occasionally graze on the herbaceous flora
Heliotropiumcurssavicum used as medicine, the root powder is said to be important for sores and wounds.
Ipomoea pescarpae leaves used in rheumatism, stomachache tonic and the extract of the leaves have the astringent, diuretic and laxative properties.
Bruguiera spp. bark is said to be useful in diarrhea.
Ceriopstagal wood is very hard and durable not damaged by white ants, worms, and woodborers. Bark contains high percentage of tannin for fishermen nets and leather industries. Stem bark decoction used to stop hemorrhages and also useful for malignant ulcers.
Kandeliacandel is said to be useful in the treatment of diabetes.
Avicenniaofficinalis used for fuel wood and for the paper and pulp, kernels bitter taste but edible, green fruits are medicinally used as poultice for boils.
wood of Lumnotzeraracemosa has timber value
Xylocarpusmekongensis good wood timber, bark astringent user for dysentery, diarrhea and other troubles.
Excoecaraiaagallocha wood largely used for making packing boxes, fuel wood, paper pulp low quality timber, latex acrid and poisonous.
Tender fronds of Acrostichiumaureum used as vegetable by poor people. Medicinally the paste of rhizomes are said to be used for treatment of boils.
Acanthus ilicifolius leaves used as fomentation in neuralgia and rheumatism, also as expectorant. Roots are useful in treatment of Asthma, paralysis, leucorrhoea and debility.

Religious Aspects Of Mangroves

Mangroves are considered to be the sacred forests in the Solomon Islands the dead bodies are disposed off and special rites are conducted in mangrove waters. In Kenya the local community worship the shrines that are built inside the mangrove forest. A mangrove tree namely Excoecariaagallocha has been worshipped as a temple tree (StalaViruksha) at the Lord Nataraja temple at Chidambaram, a sacred town of Tamil Nadu . More over the Pilgrim town was known as Thillai, the common vernacular name of “Excoecariaagallocha”. Speaks of the existence of a huge tract of mangrove vegetation in this area and the relic of which may be the Pitchavaram mangrove forest.

Coastal Protection And Mangroves

Mangroves plants are that survive high salinity, tidal extremes, strong wind velocity, high temperature and muddy anaerobic soil- a combination of conditions hostile for other plants. Mangroves are successfully adapted in colonizing saline intertidal zone at the interface between the land and sea along the deltas, shallow lagoons, mud flats, by and backwaters in tropical and subtropical sheltered coastlines. Mangroves not only protect the coastal communities from the fury of cyclones and coastal storms, but also promote sustainable fisheries and prevent sea erosion. In addition, they provide medicine and fuel wood. They also serve as the home of a wide range of flora and fauna including crocodiles and tigers. The Orissa Super-cyclone of 1999 and the life saving role of mangrove forests became very apparent because area adjoining mangrove forests either withstood the fury of the cyclones or suffered far less damage than other areas. This generated awareness among local communities of the importance of mangrove forests, and encouraged them to raise mangrove nurseries and plant saplings in degraded areas.

Reasons For The Degradation Of Mangroves

illegal cutting of mangroves for fuel wood
grazing and removal for fodder and trampling
removal for fish and shrimp culture
encroachment of land for developmental activities
plantation of horticultural crops in place of mangroves
sand mining
Non availability of planting stock

Target Groups And Local Participation

The target groups are the community members in the coastal villages of Pondicherry and Karaikal regions. Around 20,000 people (5000 households) will directly improve their livelihoods. The direct beneficiaries are fisher folk (women and men) involved in fishing and other jobs related to the fishing industry such as drying fish, selling fish, repairing boats, etc. and marginal farmers, landless agricultural labourers and women. Most of the families live below the poverty line and belong to Scheduled Caste, thus representing the most deprived sections of the society. The project will especially benefit women self-help groups, fisher folk (Alternative livelihood enterprises) and agricultural labourers by providing wage employment.

The indirect beneficiaries will be all the other inhabitants of the project villages who are passively benefiting of the projects actions. In the long run (after project completion) people living in the adjoining coastal villages who will be introduced to environmentally sustainable systems and who will be motivated to apply similar activities in their communities. The total number of people reached directly and indirectly during the 2-year period is estimated at 45,000 people.

The target groups have been selected primarily because their communities have been affected by the tsunami. The activities have been chosen because they assist the rehabilitation efforts and mitigate the impacts of future natural disasters.

Secondly the target groups and the project areas have been selected because of the opportunities to introduce, incorporate and disseminate a number of environmentally sustainable technologies in this integrated disaster management project. These opportunities include restoration and establishment of mangroves, rejuvenation and plantation of indigenous TDEF species, rehabilitation of village ponds, interpretation centres, turtle breeding centre, mud crab production centres and sustainable micro enterprises for the women SHGs.

Thirdly the project areas have been selected because of the great need for environmental rehabilitation. Mangrove forests have declined by 40% in the past 120 years along the east coast of India, while the indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) have been reduced to 1% of their earlier distribution as a result of land conversion. The TDEF can act as shelterbelts and would minimise the extent of damage caused to habitations during heavy rains, cyclones and tsunamis. The reestablishment of the native forest area in the Tsunami affected villages is the need of the hour. This would also provide employment opportunities to the landless agricultural labourers. Also, the activities selected provide alternative livelihood enterprises to the deprived community members, especially the women.

Identification Of Government Poramboke Lands

Identification of Government poramboke lands in the coastal belt of Pondicherry and Karaikal will be carried out to establish nurseries. The existing forestland of 38 hectares at Manapet village will be utilised to establish one nursery. To establish remaining 5 forest nurseries and 1 nursery exclusively for mangroves lands of minimum 5 acres will be identified and necessary steps will be initiated to transfer the lands to the DFWL.

Selection Of Women Shgs

In each nursery 20 women of the local community will be employed to undertake the various activities and the possibilities to deploy the SHGs will be explored. Thus one entire women SHG or members of various existing SHGs with interest to work in the nursery will be selected. Also, 2 men labourers and 1 watchman from the local community and 1 Nursery Supervisor will be deployed in each nursery on contract basis.

Providing Infrastructure Facilities

The selected lands will be fenced properly with granites and civil structures as depicted in the photo below. As the nurseries are to be located in the coastal belt use of barbed wire fencing proves to be failure due to rusting of the wires. The fencing will also be supported by planting of indigenous species as live fencing. Construction of tube well for water, establishment of Solar system for electricity, construction of tool room, toilets will be carried out simultaneously.

Seed Collection

Collection of seeds of TDEF species will be carried out in the nearby groves of both Pondicherry and Karaikal. Seed collection trips based on the flowering, seed setting time will be organised. The women will be involved to collect the seeds in the near bay sacred groves, forests, etc.,

Establishment Of Forest Nursery

In each nursery shade net of 500 Sq.metre will be established to house the saplings. In the Nursery, saplings of nearly 50 species of the indigenous Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) and Casuarina will be raised involving members of the local Women Self-help Groups (SHG). The list of the TDEF species that would come up well in the coastal belt is annexed (Annex-1).

Establishment Of Mangrove Nursery

Pondicherry is little away from Chennai in the east coast and east coast is having continuous stretch of mangroves. The main river inPondicherry is Gingee river (Sankarabaraniriver) believed to be originated from Gingee. On approaching Pondicherry it bifurcates into Ariyankuppamriver and Chunnambar river. Ariyankuppamriver makes a circle around the Thengaithittu an island before it mixes with sea. Maximum mangrove vegetation is found in Ariyankuppam riverbanks towards estuary. The two banks of river leading to sea found to possess mangrove vegetation mixed with some mangrove associates. There are four prominent species of mangroves - Bruguieracylindrica, Rhizophoraapiculata, Avicennia marina, Acanthus ilicifolius and three species of Mangrove associates - Suaedamonoica, Suaeda maritime, Sesuviumportualacastrum are found in this region. There are many large stumps of cut trees of Avicennia seen in the river adjacent to Thengaithittu village suggesting the existence of large trees of more than 50 years old in these area, which are now cut, and the places are being encroached by the locals. There are seen the stumps of these trees producing new coppices. In these localities the dominant species is Avicennia marina and the co-dominant species are Bruguieracylindrica and Rhizophoraapiculata. Also a dense vast stretch of Suaeda maritime for more than 30 acres could be seen near the new port site.

Existing Mangrove forest at Ariyankuppam river
Apart from the above mentioned four species of Mangrove, the other species predominantly found in the Coastal belt of Tamilnadu, particularly in the Mangrove wetlands of Pichavaram, Muthupet and Gulf of Mannar would also be established in the Mangrove area of Pondicherry to create diversified Mangroves. The other true mangrove species that would be introduced are:
Aegicerascorniculatum
Avicenniaofficinalis
Ceriopsdecandra
Ceriopstagal
Excoecariaagallocha
Lumnitzeraracemosa
Pemphisacidula
Rhizophoramucronata
Xylocarpusmekongensis

An exclusive Nursery for the multiplication of required saplings of the above mentioned mangrove species would be established and the nursery would also be managed by the local women Self-help group members.

Improved Livelihoods Of Fisher Folk And Women Through Sustainable Micro Enterprises

As part of the implementation of the project activities and as an entry point in the Tsunami affected villages, the local women SHGs and the fisher folk will be motivated to take up micro enterprises as an additional and alternative income generating activity during the fishing off season.

Identification Of Existing Functioning Women Shg

Survey of the existing functional women SHGs will be carried out through the Departmental staff and line departments. It is proposed to select 50 SHGs in total – 25 each in Pondicherry and Karaikal regions.

Identification Of Sustainable Enterprises

The identified and selected women SHGs will be provided with a basket of possible micro-enterprises like Vermicompost production, Mushroom cultivation, Prawn pickle production, handicrafts through decorative shells, etc and the group will be facilitated to select an enterprise of their choice.

Training The Women Shg

The women SHG members will be trained on the technical know how of the various enterprises through the line departmental institutions/organizations like KrishiVigyan Kendra (Farmers Training Centre), District Industries Centre (DIC), etc.,

Assistance To Establish Micro Enterprises

The trained women SHGs will be provided with a financial assistance of Rs. 10,000 each to establish the enterprise. The amount will be provided to the women SHGs as back ended incentive to the successful established micro enterprise.

Survey And Demarcation Of Wastelands Through Pra Exercises

Degraded forest lands, village community lands, village common grazing lands, roadsides, marginal agricultural lands, saline and alkaline lands, water logged lands, ravine lands, abandoned and unused for more than ten years of fallow lands, mined areas, sand dunes and other wastelands will be identified to take up tree plantation. The survey and demarcation of wastelands will be carried out by involving the local community through participatory approach by conducting various PRA exercises like Resource mapping, transect walk, timeline study, Seasonality, etc.,
Preparation of planting beds.
Opening of trenches for uniform spread of water
Fencing wherever necessary to prevent cattle grazing.
Spacing choice
Planting
Gap filling and maintenance

Plantation Of Tree Saplings

Mangroves of the Ariankuppam estuary of Ariankuppam Rev. Village in Puducherry region was classified as CRZ-I (COASTAL REGULATION ZONE). The urban coastal areas of Muthialpet, Thengaithittu, Puducherry of Puducherry region were classified as CRZ-II. Coastal areas of Kalapet, Pillaichavady, Ariankuppam, Manaveli, Pooranankuppam, Kirumampakkam, Pillaiarkuppam, Manapattu of Puducherry region and Keezhakasagudy, Thalatheru, Kovilpathu, Kizhavely, Akkaravattam, Thiruvetakuddy, Keezhaiyur North / South and Vanjoor of Karaikal region were classified as CRZ-III. Mangroves of extent of 21 hectares exist along the Ariankuppam estuary of Ariankuppam Rev. village of Puducherry region.

The Department of Forest and wild life identify with the local villagers where there are areas available for (or with existing) forest tree plantation and promote planting of TDEF species and restore or strengthen these protective barriers. Around 10,000 coconut saplings and 90,000 fruit tree saplings will be planted in the Tsunami affected villages along the coastal belt of Puducherry and Karaikal regions. Also, 3,42,250Casuarina saplings will be planted. The planted saplings will be maintained by the local villagers.

The women self-help groups will be trained by the Department of Forest and wild life and the training will include learning the techniques to produce these trees as well as learning from their experiences in restoration of natural protective systems for the coastal areas of Puducherry and Karaikal regions.

Also, the seedlings produced in the Nursery established under the project will be utilized for planting in the common wastelands, poramboke lands, tank bunds, pond bunds, roadside, industrial areas, and other degraded common areas. The seedlings thus raised will be used for plantations to be carried out in the Coastal belt and in the Poramboke lands of the entire Puducherry and Karaikal regions. The project intends at providing shelterbelt protection to coastal area of Puducherry and Karaikal for mangrove afforestation in the following area of Pudukkuppancheri, Pannittittu, Nallavadu, Chunnambar and Thengaithittu villages are having are potential for taking up different mangroves species. Similarly, the following villages of Karaikal regions viz., Keezhavanjiyur, Keezhavanjiyurkuppam, Pattanacheri and Keezhoduthurai provide ample scope for introduction of massive mangrove vegetative cover.

Groves in Government land

Sl. No. Revenue Village Resurvey No. Extent (Ha.A.Ca) Classification
1 Katteri 107 4.65.50 Coconut groves
2 Sellipet 60/12 1.08.50 Thoppu (Grove)
3 Pillayarkuppam 57/15 0.99.50 Koil&Thoppu (Temple & Grove)

Swamps in the Revenue records

Sl. No. Revenue Village Ward/Block Town Survey No. Resurvey No. Extent (Ha.A.Ca) Classification
1 Thengaithittu P/2/12 13/11pt 135.48.79 Swamp
2 Murungapakkam O/5/1/1pt 239/1 15.51.80 Swamp
3 Ariyankuppam 79/2 79/2 21.92.00 River

Karaikal Region

Sl. No. Revenue Village Resurvey No. Extent (Ha.A.Ca) Classification
1 Vanjoor 223 & 224 29.57.50 -

Areas Identified For Creation Of Mangroves

In Puducherry region the backwaters of Pudukkuppancheri, Pannittittu, Nallavadu, Chunnambar and Thengaithittu villages are having potential for planting different mangrove species. Similarly, the following villages of Karaikal regions viz., Keezhavanjiyur, Keezhavanjiyurkuppam, Pattanachcheri and Keezhoduthurai provide ample scope for introduction of massive mangrove plantation.

Maintenance Of Planted Tree Saplings

The planted tree saplings will be properly and sufficiently manured once in every 6 months. Vermicompost produced by the women SHGs, as an enterprise introduced under the project, will be purchased for manuring the saplings. Also, care will be taken to replant saplings in case of mortality. This will be done routinely by the Department staff.

Construction Of Percolation Ponds, Contour Bunds And Rehabilitation Of Village Ponds In The Coastal Villages

Contour bunds wherever necessary will be constructed to harvest rain water and recharge the ground water. New percolation ponds will be constructed. The most important will be rehabilitating the existing village ponds in the coastal villages. The water stored in these ponds will be utilized in watering the saplings. The local community will be involved in all stages of the work – planning, execution and monitoring. Employment opportunities for the local villagers will be provided in the execution of the above said works.

Interpretation Centres

One Interpretation centre will be exclusively established for Mangroves at Puducherry and two centres for Forest – one at Manapet,Puducherry and the other at Karaikal will be established. The Interpretation centre will illustrate the processes of strategic forest/Mangrove planning, including appropriate uses, demonstrate forest/Mangrove harvesting and regeneration and provide a range of recreation experiences and education programs. Education and interpretation of Forest and mangrove ecosystem resources is aimed at increasing the awareness of the public over nature conservation and management and also help in increasing the people’s interest in and understanding the forest and wild life’s values by providing information about ecology, habitats, economic importance, etc.,

The complex environmental, social and economic factors that are involved in forest/mangrove management would be explained in the Interpretation centres. The Forest/Mangrove Interpretation Centre will provide access to a broad range of comprehensive information about forest/Mangrove and forest /mangrove management. Each of the values of the forest/Mangrove will be presented in an objective way through the centre and the visitors will be able to understand the relationship of forest/mangrove activity through this presentation. Also, the interpretation centres help in promoting the ecotourism of the Puducherry and Karaikal regions.

A walkway in the existing Mangrove at Thengaithittu will be established as part of the interpretation centre to promote tourism and create awareness among the public, School children about the Mangrove ecosystem.

Turtle Breeding Centre

Three endangered species of Turtles are commonly found in the Puducherry region. They are: Olive Ridley (Lepidochelysolivacea), Green Sea turtle (Cheloniamydas) and Leather back turtle (Dermochelyscoriacea). It is proposed to protect these turtle species by providing watch and ward, educating the local fisher folks and by establishing a breeding centre. The population of these turtles in the sea will be augmented by the regular release of the young turtles mass cultured in the breeding centre.

Mud Crab (Scylla Serrata) Production Centres

This species of crab is found near the estuaries and along the coastal shores, which fetches a livelihood for the fisher folks. To improve the chances of availability of this species of crab it is proposed to establish production centres at Puducherry in participation of the community. The Mud crab production centres help in maintaining healthier mangrove forest environment.

Watering Of Tree Saplings

As mentioned earlier that although plantations have been taken up on about 8000 hectare since 1980, survival rate has been very poor due to Biotic pressure and lack of maintenance. Hence, it is proposed to regularly monitor the saplings. Women SHGs will be involved in watering the saplings. The amount to be paid for this work are as per the existing norms – Rs.7 per coconut sapling per month and Re 1 per Casuarina and other tree saplings per month. At the end of each month the staff will take stock of the live saplings and amount will be paid to the SHGs for the live saplings only.

Protection Of Tree Saplings

The coconut saplings and selective fruit saplings will be protected from grazing by cattle. It is proposed to provide 10,000 metal tree guards each in Pondicherry and Karaikal regions. The metal guards will be erected for the saplings planted near the houses constructed under the Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project.

Training The Staff

The staff involved will be sufficiently trained on the various environmental technologies, participatory approaches, etc

Trainings To The Village Community

The women SHGs will be trained in the establishment of micro enterprises.

Awareness Campaigns

Awareness campaigns in the villages through street play will be organised to highlight the importance of the project, Similarly, yearly educational awareness campaigns for the school children will be organised. Competitions depicting the importance of forests, mangroves will be organised.

Exposure Visits

Exposure visits to successful nurseries, forest institutions will be organised for the women SHGs and other community members. Also, exposure visits for the staff involved in the project will be organised. An exclusive exposure visit to the Tsunami affected Asian countries ( Thailand, Indonesia ) will be organised in the second year of the project.

Gender

A major problem for development of the project area is un-equal sharing of work within the family. The women are often responsible for all domestic work, they carry water, they do more than half of the work in the fields and they are additionally responsible for caring for sick relatives and neighbours. The proposed action will carry out focal point discussions within the community in order to enhance gender equity. Furthermore, the project will ensure that there is (as a minimum) equal gender participation in the various project beneficiaries. An important part of the activities, especially alternative livelihood activities, will focus on women self-help groups.

Monitoring And Evaluation

Baseline survey: A participatory baseline survey (+ village PRA’s and village plans) will be established during the first three to four months of the project to provide a solid benchmark for targeting and monitoring of the project.

Monitoring visits by the Deputy Conservator of Forests: The Deputy Conservator of Forests will carry out monthly monitoring visits to assess the quality of the implementation process as well ensure good financial management practices.

Monthly evaluation and planning meetings: The monthly evaluation and planning meeting will be conducted at district ( Puducherry and Karaikal) level. Progress reports will be reviewed monthly. The Deputy Conservator of Forests will provide strategic guidance to the project and ensure that the priorities of the project are realized.

Management: the plantation and other projects will be managed by the Forest Department on completion of the project. The necessary financial assistance will be earmarked from the regular budget thereby the objective is achieved even after the completion of the project. The beneficiaries are given all technical and material training so that they will act independently even without support from the other project implementing agency.

Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia Mydas)

The green sea turtle is listed as endangered species. Green sea turtles continue to be heavily exploited by humans, and the destruction and loss of nesting and foraging sites is a serious problem.
The green sea turtle is found world-wide in warm ocean waters
A gentle vegetarian, feeding mainly on sea grasses and algae
The most valuable of all reptiles, they are killed for their skins, meat and shells.
The largest of the hard-shelled marine turtles: common adult weight of 150 kg and length of over 100 cm
Hatchlings: 4-5 cm in length

Description

The green sea turtle is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle. Adults of this species commonly reach 100 cm in carapace length and 150 kg in mass. Hatchling green turtles weigh about 25 gm and have a carapace about 50 mm long. Hatchlings are black on top and white underneath.

Growth

Green turtles grow slowly. Based on growth rate studies of wild green turtles, the researchers estimate the age at sexual maturity range anywhere from 20 to 50 years.

Habitat

Green turtles occupy three habitat types:
High-energy oceanic beaches.
Convergence zones in the pelagic habitat.
Benthic feeding grounds in relatively shallow protected waters.
Females deposit egg clutches on high-energy beaches, usually on islands, where a deep nest cavity can be dug above the high water line. Hatchlings leave the beach and apparently move into convergence zones in the open ocean where they spend an undetermined length of time (Carr, 1986). When turtles reach a carapace length of approximately 20 to 25 cm, they leave the pelagic habitat and enter benthic feeding grounds. Most commonly these foraging habitats are pastures of sea grasses and/or algae, but small green turtles can also be found over coral reefs, worm reefs and rocky bottoms. Coral reefs or rocky outcrops near feeding pastures are often used as resting areas, both at night and during the day.

Reproduction

Female green turtle emerge at night to deposit eggs, the process takes an average of two hours. Maximum seven clutches are deposited at 12 to 14 day intervals, but the average is probably two or three clutches. The average clutch size is usually 110-115 eggs, but this varies among populations. It is uncommon for females to produce clutches in successive years. Usually 2, 3, 4 or more years intervene between breeding seasons. Mating occurs in the water off the nesting beaches. The hatching success of undisturbed nests is usually high, but on some beaches, predators destroy a high percentage of nests. Large numbers of nests are also destroyed by inundation and erosion.

The Mud Crab (Scylla Serrata)

Fish farmers can grow mudcrab Scylla serrata (giant crab), which is of commercial value. Mudcrabs can be reared in ponds or in pens installed in tidal flats with existing mangroves either in monoculture or in polyculture with compatible fish species. Culture pens for the mudcrabs can be constructed using the trunk of palm (or bamboo) and is quite durable for use in construction of the pen walls. The dimensions of the pen are 18 m by 9 m covering an area of 162 sq.metre. Inside the pen, perimeter drains 0.3 m wide and 0.3 m deep are constructed. These drains are linked to the inlet and outlet drains outside the pen. Site for a successful mudcrab culture should have a clayey soil and enough layers of clean mud. It should have an optimum water temperature of 23-32°C; salinity, pH 8-8.5; and a water depth of 80-100 cm or more.. Each mudcrab pen is stocked with 1,000 to 1,500 crabs. This is a nominal range of stocking density, as higher stocking rates had resulted in higher early mortalities. The crabs are fed with trash fish and feeding is done once a day during high tide.

Water management and proper pen maintenance are important. Tidal flows and regular pen water exchange help maintain water quality, thus ensuring the health of the culture system. In 4 to 7 months, crabs reach harvestable size at around 300 g, and at least two harvests annually are possible. Restocking with small crabs (100 g) from the nearby river maintains the original number of crabs in the pen, thus optimizing a continuous production. The average production per pen per production period is about 500 Kg.

The mangroves in and around the pens provides the desired shade and litter fall to help maintain the proper balance within the pen system itself, thus producing healthier crabs and reducing crab mortalities. This has led to a healthier mangrove forest environment as well, which again increases both the area in biodiversity and the productiveness of the wild coastal fishery. All this is possible while utilizing only a very small area of the surrounding mangrove forest, while at the same time helping to conserve this valuable natural resource. In addition to helping to alleviate poverty in the fishing community via the culture of mudcrabs for the marketplace, it has been found that this system of crab culture offers another valuable bonus, namely an increased wild crab population.

There is a strong possibility that the berried female crabs can hatch their eggs in the pen under the salinity condition during the high tide and release the larvae into the river thereby contributing to the increase in the population of crabs in the mangrove ecosystem.

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