Mangroves of Sri Lanka: Distribution, status and conservation requirements
Abstract: Mangroves are a diverse group of highly salt-tolerant woody plants, which grow in the inter-tidal zones in tropical and subtropical latitudes. Despite its unique services to the people, coastal and marine systems, mangroves have become one of the most rapidly disappearing ecosystems in the world. This paper reviews the available information on distribution, current status and challenges of mangroves in Sri Lanka. Today, around 160 km2 of mangrove vegetation is available in Sri Lanka and distributed mainly in Jaffna, Batticaloa, Kalpitiya, Rekawa and Trincomalee and is composed of 21 species of true mangroves and 24 species of mangrove associates. Mangroves in the island have been adversely affected due to the numerous anthropogenic activities, including land reclamation, tourism, coastal aquaculture and agriculture and other industrial activities etc. Proper conservations of mangroves are urgently required to the island to avoid further decline of mangrove ecosystem. It is imperative to evaluate policies, legal instruments and development strategies to effectively protect this valuable ecosystem.
Keywords: salt / diverse / tolerant / mangroves / Sri Lanka / conservation / island / coastal
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