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- Sunday, June 23, 2013 - From Print Edition




Pakistan has reclaimed the world record of planting the maximum number of mangroves in a day.The Sindh Forest Department on Saturday regained its position in the Guinness Book of World Records by outpacing India.


For 14 hours, 300 social workers, volunteers and forest department employees worked ceaselessly save for a three-hour break during the high tide to planted approximately 750,000 mangrove saplings in Kharo Chan – an island village off the Keti Bandar coast. Their effort broke the record set by India in 2010 for planting 611,000 saplings in a day.


“The purpose is to highlight the importance of the mangroves in the Indus delta, its biodiversity and most of all, the welfare of the communities dependent on them for their livelihood in the precious but severely threatened ecosystem,” said Riaz Ahmed Wagan, the chief conservator of forests in Sindh.


The effort was financed by the Asian Development Bank under the Sindh Coastal Communities Development Project while the International Union for Conservation of Nature was the media facilitator for the Guinness Book of World Records.


Mangrove swamps are found in tropical and subtropical tidal areas, include estuaries and marine shorelines. The forests play an important role in protecting the coastal lines from erosion, storms, hurricanes and tsunamis.


Mangroves are an essential component of the coastal ecosystem as they help shrimps and fish to procreate and also keep the soil from eroding into the sea. The unique ecosystem in the intricate mesh of mangrove roots plays host to a number of organisms, including algae, barnacles, oysters and sponges, which all require a hard surface for anchoring as they filter feed.


Several commercially important species of fish and crustaceans breed in these forests. Shrimps and mud lobsters use the muddy bottoms as their home. But despite restoration efforts, approximately 35 percent of mangrove forests have been cleared in the past several decades.


Grassroots efforts to save mangrove forests from depletion are becoming popular across the world as their benefits become more widely known. In some countries, mangrove reforestation and mangrove restoration are under way.


Mexico became the first country to hold the world record by planting 348,493 mangrove saplings in a day followed by India with 447,874 trees. In 2009, the Sindh forest department set the world record by planting 541,176 mangroves in a single day but the Indians again broke the record a year later.