Mangroves are a group of trees and shrubs that live in the coastal intertidal zone. The ecosystem they create is known as mangrove ecosystem and it consists in addition to mangrove plants (true mangroves), other plants commonly found in coastal areas (mangrove associates), micro and macro fauna adopted to live permanently or seasonally within this ecosystem, as well as the unique physio-chemical conditions created by tides, fresh water flows and silt.
Sri Lanka is home to 1/3rd of the known mangroves in the world, but sadly, coastal development has shrunk the mangrove cover to less than 15,000 hectares and badly fragmented and destroyed the connectivity
What is in place to further degrade mangroves?
The pressure to clear pristine mangrove areas to expand aquaculture and salterns continues, and the industry is even eyeing the degazetting of already protected areas such as Vidaththalaithiv. Impacts of waste accumulation, sand mining, river diversions, invasives, land grab, and unsustainable fishing escalate yearly. The current situation is a clear demonstration of conflict of interests and disregard for the true value of natural capital.
Dr Sevvandi Jayakody PhD, Competed BSc (Hons.) in Zoology from University of Kelaniya, Post Graduate Diploma in Wildlife Management and Conservation from Wildlife Institute of India and the PhD in Zoology from University of Aberdeen, UK. Post-doctoral research at SCIRO, Australia, James Hutton Institute, Scotland and IDRC, Canada. Joined the Department of Wildlife Conservation as an Assistant Director in 1997 and currently serves as a Senior Lecturer Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. Served as the Coordinator for CITES CoP18. Currently serves as the chairperson of National Mangrove Expert Committee, a member of Commonwealth Blue Carbon Initiative, a member of National Environmental Council and a Director of Environmental Foundation Limited. Research interests include coastal ecosystem management, policy and impacts of human disturbance on ecosystem processes and functions.