They made several field visits to KWS to assess the situation on the ground. (Representational Image)
VIJAYAWADA: A new study by three professors has revealed that mangrove cover has increased in Andhra Pradesh by 88.64 sq km. The analysis done using temporal satellite data over six different time periods concluded that the mangrove cover in the state has been increased, contrary to the claims of Forest Survey of India (FSI).
Dr. Ramachandra Prasad Pullitla, associate professor, lab for spatial informatics at International Institute of Information Technology, Gadchibowli; Professor C.V.L. Karuna and Professor J. Asha Kumari from Maris Stella College, Vijayawada, conducted this study in Krishna Wildlife Sanc-tuary (KWS) over two years.
They made several field visits to KWS to assess the situation on the ground.
The data from Andhra Pradesh Forest department and the temporal satellite data was analysed with the field data collected by them.
In addition to the above, data from Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) in Godavari delta was also obtained from the Forest department. According to Prof. Karuna, Coringa and Krishna wildlife sanctuaries have major portion of mangrove forests in Andhra Pradesh.
She observed that there was not much of difference in CWS, but the data from KWS shows a gradual decline from 1972 until 2013, according to the FSI.
Dr Ramachandra Pra-sad observed that the figures given by various organisations were contradictory in nature.
The FSI recorded a decline in mangrove cover in KWS until 2011, and it reported same value of 158 sq km for the following two years. In 2015, it reported a sudden increase by 15 sq km.
The Space Application Center also reported contradicting figures with the FSI and it reported 110.29 sq km in 2011. In the study, it was estimated that the mangrove cover in KWS in 1972 was 82.76 sq km.
It decreased to 80.47 sq km in 1981 and then further dropped to 69.52 sq km in 1990. This trend was reversed from 1994, thanks to MS Swaminathan Research Foundation and Andhra Pradesh Forest department for various initiatives to revive and restore the mangrove cover.
In 2000, the mangrove cover increased to 101.98 sq km and from then, it recorded a steady growth reaching to 158.16 sq km in 2014. Dr. Prasad observed that the FSI has not included some areas in Guntur district, which was the reason why it has recorded a downward trend. Similar trend was observed in Godavari delta and CWS also by the researchers.