Tuesday September 21, 2021

Documentary to stress need for mangroves protection launched

August 31, 2019

In the year 1020 AD, Persian Muslim polymath Abu Ali Sina, who is known as Avicenna in the West, wrote a book on botany that changed the science forever. A mangrove species, Avicenna marina, which is found along the coastline of Pakistan, has been named after the polymath.

This was revealed on Thursday at the launch ceremony of a documentary by The Dawood Foundation (TDF) under the banner of TDF Nature Series to highlight the importance of conserving mangroves in Pakistan.

The documentary, the third under the TDF Nature Series, is titled ‘Mangrove – Custodians of the Coast’ and delves into the rich and unique ecosystem of mangroves in the country, explaining their significance as well as the challenges being faced by them.

It has been explained in the documentary how the mangrove forests of Pakistan are dotted along its 1,000 kilometre coastline and act as a major source of ecological balance in the area.

The species of Avicenna marina is one of the most prolific and common species of mangroves found in Pakistan that grows to significant heights and creates a dense forest cover. These trees flourish in zones, drawing life in conditions of extreme salinity and in muddy banks, says the documentary.

It then talks about how these plants survive and how well they have adapted to their environment. Some mangroves species, according to the documentary, bring toxic salts in the water to their leaves, which are removed by wind or rain.

The round seeds of Avicenna marina disperse under their cover and help expand the forests. The mangrove forest floor is a dense ecosystem that hosts a variety of wildlife and produces enough seeds to increase its cover, provided that human acts do not cause harm.

The documentary has been directed by Matteela Films with the support of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-Pakistan and Engro Foundation.

The documentaries, according to TDF public relations team leader Ridhwan Khan, cover the impact of these forests on the stability of the coastal areas of Pakistan and give a glimpse into the lives of some of their strangest inhabitants, such as mudskippers and mollusks, and migratory and indigenous birds, including flamingoes.

From fisheries to boat-making, there are several industries which rely on mangroves, Khan said. He added that the documentary had earlier also been screened during a conference in Indonesia on mangroves. Former WWF-Pakistan director general Ali Hassan Habib and mangrove specialist Dr Uzma Khan also participated in the making of ‘Mangrove – Custodians of the Coast’.