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The Indian Shoreline, Deltas,
Island and Mangroves 

      India flaunts more than a 7500 km long coastline fringing the peninsula. The coastal wetlands sustain millions of people and are more vulnerable to the effects of the rise in the Sea level and changes in marine ecosystems. In the Indian sub-continent, most of the major rivers such as Ganga, Brahmaputra, Kaveri, Krishna, Godavari, and Mahanadi flow eastwards and empties into the Bay of Bengal and forms deltas. Among the Indian deltas, the Ganga-Brahmaputra delta is one of the largest deltas in the world. The Sunderbans, comprising of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, cover the southernmost part of this delta.


    Mangrove diversity is highest on the east coast (91.6% of the total mangroves) favored by the numerous rivers feeding the estuaries/lagoons. Sunderbans is one of the largest mangrove forests in the world, covering an area of about 9,600 km in the country. Bhittarkanika mangroves, Subarnarekha mangroves, Mahanadi, Godavari, and Krishna deltas, Pichavaram, and Cauvery estuaries are deltaic mangrove forests situated at the mouth of major rivers carrying freshwater facing the Bay of Bengal. Cochin estuary, Coondapur/Malpe area, Zuary estuary, Bombay mangrove creeks, Gulf of Kutch, and Bhavnagar estuary, are coastal mangrove habitats in the intertidal zones along with mouths of minor rivers or minor estuaries and backwaters facing the Arabian sea.


      Andaman and Nicobar Islands is an island archipelago, a designated protected area, and has diverse and encompass unique habitats and complex ecosystems. An area of 513.70 km² along the west coast of South Andaman Island is notified as a tribal reserve for the Jarawa people. The entire area is unique, and very diverse and is an important biodiversity hot spot, besides being the last remaining 12 pristine areas in the archipelago. The Lakshadweep Islands have a vast expanse of the blue sea with the precious heritage of ecology and environment.


       Indian coral reefs cover a total area of 5,790 km² and are mainly distributed in the Andaman & Nicobar; Lakshadweep Islands. Three major reef types in India are Atoll, Fringing, and Barrier. Within these habitats, some of the most diverse, extensive and least disturbed reefs exist.

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