Mangroves and dependent communities: dynamics

Hema M, Indira Devi P


Despite the fast strides of economic development, there are stakeholders who still depend on the traditional knowledge for their livelihood options. The mangroves, which are reported to be declining at a very fast rate, are a natural ecosystem which provides life support to dependent population along the coastal lines. This paper analyses the level of dependence of the marginalized communities on the mangrove ecosystem and its livelihood support level. Kerala coast, covering 10 per cent of the country’s coastal line has only less than one per cent of India’s total mangrove ecosystem. Majority of mangroves in Kerala are mainly seen in Kannur (44%) followed by Ernakulam (24%). Hence the study was undertaken in these districts. The respondents in this study were those living close to mangroves and depending on mangrove related livelihood options and mostly were residing within 100 m radius of mangrove areas. The mangrove vegetation was extensively used in the past for various purposes like fuel wood, building materials for constructing houses and poles for spreading nets or anchoring canoes in water. However, such dependence for these purposes is currently lesser. The life of all the respondents is closely linked with the nearby mangroves in one way or the other. Urgent measures are needed to preserve the valuable traditional knowledge associated with the mangroves in such a way that future generation can use and enjoy the coastal resource.


Mangroves, traditional knowledge, livelihood options

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A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]