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Sri Lankan Mangroves: Biodiversity, Livelihoods, and Conservation

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Mangroves: Biodiversity, Livelihoods and Conservation

Abstract

Mangroves in Sri Lanka occur in a patchy distribution along the island’s coastline, in areas adjacent to lagoons, estuaries, and river mouths covering an area of 16,017 ha. Twenty-one species of true mangroves and 18 mangrove associates are recorded, while 214 vertebrates comprising of 112 species of ichthyofauna, 2 species of Amphibia, 13 species of Reptilia, 72 species of Avifauna, and 15 mammal species are found in the mangrove forests. Local communities settled near mangrove areas are heavily dependent on mangroves for their livelihood; branches of Avicennia spp. are used for brush pile traditional fisheries; tender leaves of Avicennia marina, Sonneratia caseolaris, Acrostichum aureum, and Suaeda maritima are used as food. Wood of Cerbera manghas is used to carve masks and puppets, while Nypa fruticans is used to make alcohol, sugar, and vinegar. Overexploitation of mangrove products, habitat destruction for development, pollution, spreading invasive alien species, climate change, and global warming are some of the threats to the mangrove ecosystem in Sri Lanka. Successful restoration practices are carried out in Kalpitiya, Pambala, and Negombo. Approximately 1000–1200 ha of mangroves have been planted in 23 sites in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka claims to be the first nation in the world to protect all its mangroves, making it illegal to cut down them anywhere in the island, and the first to open a mangrove museum (in Pambala, Chilaw). Sri Lanka has also been named as a leader for the conservation of mangroves in Commonwealth countries.

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Wickramasinghe, S., Wijayasinghe, M., Sarathchandra, C. (2022). Sri Lankan Mangroves: Biodiversity, Livelihoods, and Conservation. In: Das, S.C., Pullaiah, Ashton, E.C. (eds) Mangroves: Biodiversity, Livelihoods and Conservation . Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-0519-3_13

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