MANGROVE forests can be seen along with the coastal areas as well as on banks of rivers and creeks but this acreage is declining day by day in Myanmar for various reasons despite efforts to replant them as much as possible.
These mangrove forests retain fertile soil and prevent land erosion, defend against impacts of tidal waves and strong winds, give kitchen utensils such as firewood, charcoal and timber to the people, and create the habitats for water diverse living beings such as fish, prawns and crabs and absorb a large volume of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As such, mangrove forests are invaluably a natural gift for humans.
There are 123 countries where mangrove forests are thriving. Indonesia possesses 20.90 per cent of the world’s mangrove forests, followed by Brazil at 8.5 per cent, Australia at 6.5 per cent, Mexico at 5.0 per cent, Nigeria at 4.8 per cent, Malaysia at 4.7 per cent, Myanmar at 3.3 per cent, Bangladesh at 3.2 per cent, Cuba at 3.2 per cent, India at 2.8 per cent, Papua New Guinea at 2.8 per cent and Columbia at 2.7 per cent respectively.
Myanmar is standing in the seventh position among the mangrove forest owner countries. While protecting the deforestation of mangrove forests, the government is regrowing these forests along with the coastal areas and edges of water sources. As part of solving the problems of a growing population in a short term plan, local people cut off the mangrove plants without discipline, and expand sown acreage for the cultivation of crops and fish and prawn farms.
The mangrove ecosystem is located as a food web and food chain between the inland ecosystem and coastal ecosystem. These are habitats for water animals and land animals. These plants can protect people against the impacts of storms and tsunami waves.
A large area of mangrove forest can be seen in Rakhine State, Ayeyawady and Taninthayi regions. But, due to the loss of mangrove forests, the cyclonic storm Nargis swept more than 140,000 people in Ayeyawady and Yangon regions in 2008. Likewise, due to the loss of 13 miles long mangrove forests in Dedaye Township, tidal waves in the Nargis swallowed 14 villages at the seaside of the gulf areas at that time.
A large sown acreage of mangrove plantations is gradually lessening across the nation for various reasons. It is dangerous for continuous depletion of the plants. That is why the authorities and local people need to seek the best way to timely regrow mangrove plants in the plant-lost areas on a wider scale.