Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rare species of mangrove tree found along Sindhudurg coast

Kalyani Sardesai | TNN

Pune: City-based amateur botanist and photographer Shrikant Ingalhalikar and Narendra Page, a doctorate student of forest ecology from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, recently came across the Sundari (Heritiera littoralis), a rare mangrove tree, along the Sindhudurg coast. This is the first such recording of the tree in Maharashtra and probably on the West coast, they said.

The tree is also known as the ‘looking-glass tree’, probably because the leaves are silver-coated. It is found in large numbers in the Sundarbans in Bengal and to a lesser degree at Bhitarkanika at the delta of the Mahanadi river in Orissa.

“This is an important find, and the forest department must be made aware of this rare natural resource,” said Ingalhalikar. “This is the first record in Maharashtra and may be the only
record of a living specimen on the west coast. A century ago, a specimen of this tree was reported on the Kali river at Karwar in north Karnataka. There is also an old report from Kerala. In recent times the tree was believed to be extinct on the west coast.”

The duo say they have also found four other species of rare mangrove trees in the adjoining areas of Sindhudurg. “The Sindhudurg habitat also supports Xylocarpus granatum, Cynometra iripa, Dolichandrone spathacea and Rhizophora apiculata. These species exist in small, scattered populations in Goa and Karnataka as well. This unusual diversity makes the coastal habitat of Sindhudurg ecologically sensitive as it is very much the ‘hot spot’ for rare mangrove species,” Ingalhalikar said.

“Besides protecting the mangrove forests, it is necessary to cultivate such rare species for preservation of biodiversity,” he stressed.

A Sundari tree (Heritiera littoralis)


1 comment:

  1. its an important finding and it needed to explore further information about its habitat requirement and causes for its population decline.