Application of bamboo in mangrove rehabilitation projects

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Abstract

Mangroves have proved to be an asset to coastlines owing to their various advantages in terms of coastal protection and stability. Along tropical coastlines, as mangrove tracts recede and threats of coastal erosion mount, mangrove rehabilitation projects are being seriously contemplated. The design of such projects, however, is in an incipient phase, and several technical and economic challenges are to be faced. The plantation and growth of mangroves requires a protected coastal environment with proper drainage of the soil substratum. Hence, in a sample design undertaken for a mangrove rejuvenation project along the eastern coast of Mumbai (India), various layouts have been studied for a protective coastal structure and drainage system. One such design uses bamboo pile walls in creating shielded compartments (with multiple compartmental layouts) for mangrove growth, along with bamboo drains. The bamboo-based structure was found to be environmentally and economically advantageous over other designs such as sand dykes, which are many times more expensive. Moreover, employing natural material such as bamboo helps the structure integrate with the developing mangrove habitat, allaying concerns about dismantling the structure after mangrove growth. A cost-minimising and eco-friendly bamboo structure such as this therefore promises to pave the way for large ecological projects in the future, spanning over 1000 ha.