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Local people’s attitude towards conservation and development around pichavaram mangrove ecosystem, Tamil Nadu, India.

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Studies in mangrove ecosystem are often focused on biological or ecological criteria and interdependency between mangroves and people is normally neglected. The situation is similar in Tamil Nadu; …

Studies in mangrove ecosystem are often focused on biological or ecological criteria and interdependency between mangroves and people is normally neglected. The situation is similar in Tamil Nadu; India which has a coastline of about 950 km. One of the major mangrove forests in Tamil Nadu is situated in Pichavaram, Cuddalore district. The present study was carried out in the seventeen hamlets, which are directly or indirectly dependent on the Pichavaram mangrove wetlands for their livelihood and survival. These seventeen hamlets consist of over 2600 households many of whom derive their principal income from fishing and related activities. Individual surveys were carried out for 10% of the households in each of the selected hamlets. Semi-structured questionnaires were used for surveys to study the attitude and perception of the community on the conservation and importance of mangrove wetlands and resources. The study was conducted to assess the awareness, attitudes and views of people dependent on the mangrove ecosystem towards conservation issues and development options. It was observed that a large percentage of the sampled population showed a positive inclination towards conservation of the ecosystem and were well aware of their responsibility towards it.

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  • 1. JournalofResearchinBiology Local people’s attitude towards conservation and development around Pichavaram mangrove ecosystem, Tamil Nadu, India. Keywords: Mangrove ecosystem, Livelihood, Attitudes, Conservation, Development. ABSTRACT Studies in mangrove ecosystem are often focused on biological or ecological criteria and interdependency between mangroves and people is normally neglected. The situation is similar in Tamil Nadu; India which has a coastline of about 950 km. One of the major mangrove forests in Tamil Nadu is situated in Pichavaram, Cuddalore district. The present study was carried out in the seventeen hamlets, which are directly or indirectly dependent on the Pichavaram mangrove wetlands for their livelihood and survival. These seventeen hamlets consist of over 2600 households many of whom derive their principal income from fishing and related activities. Individual surveys were carried out for 10% of the households in each of the selected hamlets. Semi-structured questionnaires were used for surveys to study the attitude and perception of the community on the conservation and importance of mangrove wetlands and resources. The study was conducted to assess the awareness, attitudes and views of people dependent on the mangrove ecosystem towards conservation issues and development options. It was observed that a large percentage of the sampled population showed a positive inclination towards conservation of the ecosystem and were well aware of their responsibility towards it. 906-910 | JRB | 2013 | Vol 3 | No 3 This article is governed by the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/2.0), which gives permission for unrestricted use, non-commercial, distribution and reproduction in all medium, provided the original work is properly cited. www.jresearchbiology.com Journal of Research in Biology An International Scientific Research Journal Authors: Lakshmi Kodoth and Ramamoorthy D. Institution: Department of Ecology & Environmental Sciences, Pondicherry University, Puducherry. Corresponding author: Lakshmi Kodoth. Email: lakshmi.kodoth@gmail.com Web Address: http://jresearchbiology.com/ documents/RA0274.pdf. Dates: Received: 08 Aug 2012 Accepted: 26 Aug 2012 Published: 06 May 2013 Article Citation: Lakshmi Kodoth and Ramamoorthy D. Local people’s attitude towards conservation and development around Pichavaram mangrove ecosystem, Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Research in Biology (2013) 3(3): 906-910 Journal of Research in Biology Original Research An International Scientific Research Journal
  • 2. INTRODUCTION The Mangrove ecosystem has been studied extensively by scientists more in the ecological and biological sense. During the 1980s and early 1990s, more attention was given to research involving the human interactions with the forested wetlands (FAO, 1985; Hamilton et al., 1989; FAO, 1994; Cormier-Salem, 1999). Mangrove wetlands are a dominant feature of the intertidal areas of the tropical and subtropical regions in between 25°N and 25°S latitudes. The mangrove ecosystem provides a number of ecological services: provision of plant and animal products (Macnae, 1974; Rasolofo, 1997; Spaninks and Beukering, 1997), sediment trapping and nutrient uptake and transformation (Furukawa et al., 1997; Hussain and Badola, 2008), they provide detritus food for the aquatic fauna, harbour migratory and aquatic birds, serve as spawning ground for fishes, mussels and prawns. They also act as a natural shield against storms and tidal waves (Kathiresan and Rajendran, 2005). The coastal communities are largely dependent on the mangrove forests for firewood, timber, honey, fodder and for its fishery resources. Most coastal communities in the tropics are significantly dependent on the harvest of marine and coastal resources for sustaining their livelihoods (Kunstadter et al., 1986). The majority of people living near the mangrove areas derive their income predominantly from fishing and related activities. Hence, the present study was carried out as it is essential to understand people’s attitude and perception towards the mangrove ecosystem as they derive their livelihood from it; it helps us in formulating better policies and enhances the developmental plan for the ecosystem. Study Area India has a coastline of 7,516 km of which Tamil Nadu has about 950 km. Extensive mangrove wetlands are located in two places namely, i) in Pichavaram, Cuddalore district and ii) Muthupet in Thivarur and Tanjore districts. The Pichavaram mangrove wetland is located in the northern extreme of Cauvery delta between the Vellar and Coleroon estuaries (figure 1). Geographically, it is located between 79°47’E longitude and 11°27’N latitude. The Pichavaram mangrove forests have an area of about 1,350 ha, which are colonised by 13 true mangrove species. Rhizophora Sp and Avicennia Sp are the predominant mangrove species present in the Pichavaram mangrove forests. Pichavaram mangrove wetland is also rich in its fishery resources (figure 2). Annually about 245 tons of fishery resources are harvested from this mangrove wetland, of which prawns alone contribute 85% of the catch (Selvam et al., 2003). Methods People belonging to 17 hamlets surrounding the Kodoth and Ramamoorthy, 2013 907 Journal of Research in Biology (2013) 3(3): 906-910 Figure 1 Glimpse of the Pichavaram mangrove forest Figure 2 Fishing in the mangrove backwaters
  • 3. Pichavaram mangroves wetland were selected for survey. For each selected hamlet 10% of the households were picked up randomly for the household survey. Using semi-structured questionnaires, information on the demography, land use, income and occupational pattern as well as local dependence on the mangrove resources were gathered (Badola and Hussain, 2003; Glaser,2003) . Few open ended questions were also included to determine the attitude and perception of villagers towards development and conservation issues. A total of 324 households were surveyed. The responses we got were mostly in terms of yes, no and we don’t know. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Assess the awareness and views towards conservation The results (Table 1) showed that majority of the respondents i.e. 91% (n=324) were aware that Pichavaram mangrove was as declared protected area and this awareness was gained largely because of, NGO’s working in that area and the forest department. An overwhelming percentage (84%) of the local population felt responsible towards the protection of the mangrove ecosystem and another 76.7% are in favour of eco-development projects in the area. Out of the 324 respondents, 67% of the people are willing to cooperate with the forest department for the same. Only a small percentage of people feel their rights being violated because of the protected area status if the ecosystem. When questioned regarding their views on eco-development initiatives and its implementation, a majority of the respondents (44.7%) were in favour of the community led initiatives. 32% felt that NGO’s should take lead in eco-development and the rest 23% felt that the government should take up eco-developmental projects by itself ( Table 2). The importance of the mangrove forests to the local population was emphasized when a majority of people were against cutting down of the forests. A majority of the respondents (71%) felt that more mangrove plantations need to be carried out, while 28.4% felt that the present conditions of the mangrove forests were good (Table 3). Kodoth and Ramamoorthy, 2013 Journal of Research in Biology (2013) 3(3): 906-910 908 Table 1: Attitude of people towards Pichavaram Mangrove Ecosystem and conservation (n= 324) Questions Yes (%) No (%) Don’t Know (%) Are you aware that Pichavaram Mangrove Ecosystem is declared as Protected area? 91 9 - Do you feel any sense of responsibility for the protection of the ecosystem? 84 13.8 2.2 Do you feel your rights have been violated after the declaration of PA? 11.9 80.5 7.6 Do you face any problem because of PA? 15.8 78.6 5.6 Are you in favour of the implementation of an ecodevelopment project? 76.7 15.3 8 Would you like to co-operate with the forest department with regard to the ecodevelopment project? 67 23 10 Table 2: View of respondents towards Eco-Development itiatives (n = 324) Views Frequency Percentage Want through govt. initiative 75 23.1 Want through Community initiative 145 44.7 Want through NGO initiative 104 32 Table 3: View of local people towards various management alternatives (n = 324) Management Alternatives Responses (%) Forests should be cut and land used for other purposes 0.6 Current situation of protecting the forests is good 28.4 Increase in mangrove plantations needed 71
  • 4. The findings in this study are similar to that of the study in Bitarkanika mangrove ecosystem in Orissa (Badola and Hussain, 2003) which shows that the villagers are well aware of their responsibility to the ecosystem and willing to participate in the conservation efforts of both the government and NGO’s. Developmental Options Recently, eco tourism has been promoted to a large extent in Pichavaram mangrove forests. Majority of the respondents (76%) were in favour of developing eco tourism as it will improve job opportunities for the local population. Shrimp farms are not favoured in the area as 83% of the responses were against setting up of such farms. This is primarily due to the fact that shrimp farms in the area are the reason for increase in salinity of the canal water (Table 4). Ecological functions and values identified by local community The respondents were given a list of ecological functions to find out how much they were aware of the functions and its direct or indirect importance in their livelihoods. Table 5 shows ranking of use values, 76% gave highest ranking to contribution of mangroves towards fishing. 63% gave agriculture as their second preference. Incase of ranking ecological functions performed by the Pichavaram mangrove ecosystem, 77.8% of the responses favoured Tsunami/cyclone mitigation. 67.2% gave second preference to nutrient cycling (Table 6). The results show that the respondents were aware of both the direct and indirect benefits of the mangrove ecosystem. It is evident from the results that people value the uses or function which more beneficial to them in their day today lives. CONCLUSION The results showed that in general people have a positive attitude towards conservation and are aware of their responsibility in sustaining these mangrove forests. The socio economic and market conditions influence the people’s attitude towards the resources. Eco developmental plans were in favour with the local population since it will be helpful in formulating sustainable policies for ecosystem. The promotion of eco tourism in the area had a largely positive response hence it should be capitalised on to improve local economy. Inclusion of the local people in decision making process can lead to successful management of the Pichavaram mangrove ecosystem. REFERENCE Badola R and Hussain SA. 2003. Valuation of the Bhitarkanika mangrove ecosystem for ecological security and sustainable resource use. Study report. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun. Kodoth and Ramamoorthy, 2013 909 Journal of Research in Biology (2013) 3(3): 906-910 Table 5: Ranking of the use values in Percentage (n=324) Use values Rank 1 (%) Rank 2 (%) Rank 3 (%) Fishing 76 18 6 Agriculture 26 63 11 Tourism 35 56 9 Table 6: Percentage ranking of various functions (n=324) Ecological functions Rank 1 (%) Rank 2 (%) Rank 3 (%) Fish 59.4 34.3 6.3 Aesthetic 38 59 3 Tsunami/cyclone mitigation 77.8 22.2 0 Nutrient 32.2 67.2 0.6 Table 4: View of local people towards various developmental options (n = 324) Queries Yes (%) No (%) Don’t know(%) Are you in favour of developing eco tourism in the area 76 16 8 Are you in favour of shrimp farms 8 83 9 Has Shrimp farms been useful to you? (n=14) 47 46 7
  • 5. Cormier-Salem MC. 1999. The Mangrove: an area to be cleared…for social scientists. Hydrobiologia. 413: 135-142. FAO. 1985. Mangrove management in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. FAO Environment Paper 4, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. FAO. 1994. Mangrove forest management guidelines. FAO Forestry Paper 117, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome. Glaser M. 2003. Interrelations between mangrove ecosystem, local economy and social sustainability in Caete Estuary, North Brazil. Wetland Ecology and Management. 11:265-272. Furukawa K, Wolanski E and Mueller H. 1997. Currents and sediment transport in mangrove forests. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 44:301-310. Hamilton LS, Dixon JA and Miller GO. 1989. Mangrove forests: an undervalued resource of the land and of the sea. In: Borgese EM, Ginsburg N, Morgan JR. (Eds.), Ocean Yearbook 8. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 254-288. Hussain SA and Badola R. 2008. Valuing mangrove ecosystem services: linking nutrient retention function of mangrove forests to enhanced agroecosystem production. Wetlands Ecology and Management. 16:441-450. Kathiresan K and Rajendran N. 2005. Coastal mangrove forests mitigated tsunami. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. 65:601-606. Kunstadter P, Bird ECF and Sabhasri S. (Eds.). 1986. Man in the Mangroves. United Nations University, Tokyo. Macnae W. 1974. Mangrove forest and fisheries. FAO/ UNDP Indian Ocean Fishery Programme. Indian Ocean Fishery Commission. Publication IOFCDev. 74:34-35. Rasolofo MV. 1997. Use of mangroves by traditional fishermen in Madagascar. Mangroves Salt Marshes. 1:243-253. Selvam V, Ravichandran KK, Gnanappazham L and Navamuniyammal M. 2003. Assessment of community-based restoration of Pichavaram mangrove wetland using remote sensing data. Current Science. 85:6,794-798. Spaninks F and Beukering PV. 1997. Economic Valuation of Mangrove Ecosystems: Potential and Limitations. CREED Working 14. Kodoth and Ramamoorthy, 2013 Journal of Research in Biology (2013) 3(3): 906-910 910 Submit your articles online at www.jresearchbiology.com Advantages Easy online submission Complete Peer review Affordable Charges Quick processing Extensive indexing You retain your copyright submit@jresearchbiology.com www.jresearchbiology.com/Submit.php.