By Asad Ullah
Mangrove forests in Balochistan spread over 3000 hectors in Miani Hor, Kalmath Hor, Gwatar Bay and in some patches of Hingol, Pasni and Pishukan are on the way to decline due to rapid increase in the population and cutting of mangroves for fuel consumption at homes.
Mangroves are salt tolerant trees which are adapted to the life in harsh coastal conditions. The total mangrove forest area of the world is 137,800 square kilometres, spanning 118 countries and territories.
“Only 4 species of mangrove exist in Pakistan and Sonmiani is the only place where 3 types of mangrove exist naturally”, Abdul Hameed, MPhil student in the University of Karachi whose research work on mangroves told Pak Voices.
Khair Bakhsh, a local fisherman of Kalmath told Pak Voices that some years back huge forests of mangrove were present in the area.
“The mangrove forests are slowly declining day by day because local people use mangrove forests wood as fuel, timber and fodder for animals”, he said.
Dr. Shehnaz , assistant professor of the University of Karachi, told Pak Voices, “Mangroves are natural habitat to a large number of insects, micro-organisms, birds, fishes, different mammals as well as snakes. It also acts as physical breeding grounds of nurseries of fish, shrimp and crabs.”
Mangrove forests also protect the coastline from dangerous cyclones and hurricanes, she added.
“Mangroves slow the water’s flow, helping to protect the coastline and preventing erosion”, she said
Qadeer, another local resident of Kalmath, told Pak Voices that the mangrove forests of Kalmath are basic breeding ground of commercially important shrimp species.
“Kalmath is famous for shrimp and fishes due to the back water channel of mangrove forests”, he said.
About Author: Asad Ullah is a marine biologist based in Pasni, Gwadar.
Edited by Aneela Riazuddin