Design of mangrove rehabilitation projects on tropical coasts

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Mangroves have been proven to be an asset to coastlines because of their myriad advantages relating to coastal protection and stability. Unfortunately, in the past, due to economic necessities or other reasons, many of these mangrove swamps in tropical areas came under threat and were subsequently destroyed. As the awareness about the positive effects of mangroves’ is becoming widespread, many places would now want to re-plant mangroves along the coast. However, such mangrove rehabilitation projects face major challenges, in terms of design, costs and implementation. The goal of such a project would be to create a conducive environment for highest mangrove growth with the lowest possible costs. But, though a case study along the eastern coast of the Indian city of Mumbai, it has been found that creation of a ‘conducive’ environment will involve various factors, addressing the growth requirement of the mangroves as well as protecting the planted area from perturbation due to the sea. These challenges have been tackled through a multi-alternative approach, with various possible solutions for the layout, structural design and drainage of the environment. The optimal design consisting of bamboo-piled walls and drains for such a project has then be worked out based on the overall benefit against the cost incurred. It is to be borne in mind that there is, at present, little guidance available for the design and planning of such mangrove rehabilitation projects. Therefore, a study encapsulating various aspects of the project design, including engineering analysis and cost computation has been presented as a guideline for any such projects in the future.