Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

Tamil Nadu Forest Department has planned to restore degraded areas by increasing mangrove cover in the region under the Green Tamil Nadu Mission.

What’s the plan?

  • Tamil Nadu Forest Department has drawn up a comprehensive plan for the rehabilitation of coastal habitats by creating bio-shields and restoring degraded mangroves.
  • The Department has planned to regenerate mangrove species by using scientific methods such as canal bank planting by modified fishbone design.
  • The Green Tamil Nadu Mission aims to increase forest cover area of the state to 33%.

Pichavaram Mangrove Forest

  • Pichavaram mangrove is one of the largest mangrove in India, situated at Pichavaram near Chidambaram in Tamil Nadu.
  • One of the largest mangrove ecosystems in India, is located between the prominent estuaries of the the Vellar estuary in the north and the Coleroon estuary in the south.
  • The Vellar-Coleroon estuarine complex forms the Killai backwater and Pichavaram mangroves.


  • It consists of a number of islands interspersing a vast expanse of water covered with mangrove forest.
  • It is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a sand bar.
  • It is listed as an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) by BirdLife International.
  • It acts as a bio-shield during natural disasters, holds and stabilizes shorelines, retards erosion and acts as a buffer zone between land and sea.

Importance of the site

  • The Site hosts a natural hybrid species, Rhizophora annamalayana, which is derived from two species of Rhizophora: R.apiculata and another natural hybrid R.mucronata.
  • Like other mangrove wetlands in India, Pichavaram Mangrove supports several threatened species such as the critically endangered great white-bellied heron (Ardea insignis) and spoon-billed sandpiper (Eurynorhynchus pygmeus), the endangered spotted greenshank (Tringa guttifer) and the vulnerable olive ridley turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea).
  • The Site also provides spawning and nursing ground for commercially important prawns, mainly white prawn (Penaeus indicus) and tiger prawn (P.monodon), crabs and fish.
  • The Site supports the livelihoods of over 1,000 families through artisanal fishing, firewood collection, non-timber forest product harvesting and grazing lands for livestock.

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