Home to over 4.5 million people and part of the largest halophytic mangrove forest in the world, the Indian Sunderbans is characterised by the breathtaking beauty and incredible biodiversity. Today this vital ecosystem is under threat from the relentless expansion of non-forest land use into mangrove forest areas, mostly for fishery and farming. This degradation is amplified by climate change, which brews near-constant cyclones and storms in the region—resulting in huge losses of forest cover. In November 2019, Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, survived the wrath of cyclone Bulbul thanks to the Sunderbans. And with 80% of the world’s fisheries depending upon mangroves, they aren’t just important to Indian coastal communities, they’re essential to local and global food security.
Our aim is to reforest up to 10,000 hectares of mudflats and deforested lands by planting 1.5 million mangrove trees. This project will enhance biodiversity for marine life, establish ecosystem functions, limit coastal and island erosion, and shield vulnerable communities from high winds and waves. It will also help to protect the long-term livelihoods of local communities. And even better, it will help the region to address and adapt to climate change impacts like ongoing sea-level rise and a predicted increase in storms, wind, and cyclone intensity.
Planting efforts will mainly focus on the hardy Black Mangrove. At the upper sites, which are more soil-stabilized, Sonneratia apetala and other species will be planted. Both have lateral roots, which will help to lower tidal currents substantially. Some trees will be seeded directly, while others will be raised in nurseries until they are strong enough to withstand natural conditions. These seedlings and seeds, which drop from mature trees and flow along the tides from June-October, are collected by trained seed collectors and are uniquely able to tolerate the varying pressures of growing up in an intertidal zone.
OneTreePlanted is a non-profit organisation based in Vermont with a mission to make it simple for you to plant trees around the world. Started in 2014, they have more than doubled the number of trees planted year over year. Fast-forward to today, they now work with awesome reforestations partners in North America, South America, Asia, and Africa who help them get trees in the ground to restore forests after fires and floods, create jobs, build communities, and protect habitat for biodiversity.