District’s coastal belt lost 15% green cover

By Times Of India on 10 Jun 2018
KOCHI: The coastal areas of Ernakulam district witnessed a 15% reduction in vegetation and agricultural land in the past 25 years from 1991 to 2016. According to a study by researchers by the National Centre for Earth Science Studies, (NCESS) Thiruvananthapuram, there is also a 15.6% increase in built-up area due to urbanisation.

Noticeable changes in the mangrove expanse were observed, mostly due to the developmental activities of the Cochin Post Trust. The study found that there is a reduction of 3.52% vegetation, 4.52% agriculture land and 6.88% barren land.

“The ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs), especially the mangroves, have also been affected in a conspicuous manner. The mangrove region has undergone a slight decrease (0.15%), mainly due to the developmental activities around the Cochin Port. Though the mangrove areas have undergone dwindling during the quarter century, it is surmised that the implementation of CRZ notification has protected it from undergoing severe destruction in the past years,” said K K Ramachandran, head, coastal processes group, NCESS, and one of the authors of the study.

The main purpose of the study is to focus on the Coastal Regulation Zone area of Ernakulam, which is one of the fastest growing cities in Kerala, from an ecosystem stand point. An evaluation of the land use or land cover dynamics over a period of 25 years was made using satellite images of 1991 and 2016.


These images were processed using supervised classification technique with six classes namely mangrove, vegetation, agriculture, barren land, built-up and water body.


“In spite of the difficulties and deficiencies in its implementation, the CRZ notification 2011 played a major role in protection of ecologically sensitive areas (ESAs) of the maritime states in India,” he said.


The study, which captured significant changes undergone by mangroves, covered a total area of 609 square km.


It points out that despite major developmental activities taken up in the area during the last 25 years, the ecologically sensitive areas would have been completely destroyed in the absence of CRZ norms