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Maharashtra : Mangrove Apple declared official state mangrove tree

by pranjalipargaonkar
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Mumbai: Maharashtra government has declared Sonneratia Alba also known as Mangrove Apple, as the official state tree on Tuesday. Maharashtra has become the first coastal state in India to declare a mangrove tree species as the state tree. Mangrove Apple enhances conservation of the salt-tolerant vegetation.
The state government has issued a Government Resolution (GR) regarding this on Tuesday. It has stated that the state’s coastline benefits from mangrove vegetation. Students and general public should be made aware about the importance of mangroves and their support for the protection and conservation of these trees. Accordingly, the state government declares Sonneratia Alba as the state mangrove tree.
Sonneratia Alba is an evergreen mangrove species. Its fruits are used for making pickles. It grows up to five feet having white flowers with a pink base and bears green apples as fruits. They play an important role in combating land erosion. There are 60 mangrove species found globally of which Maharashtra is home to 20 species.
The State Board of Wildlife (SBWL) had approved a proposal for the declaration by the state mangrove cell under the forest department on August 7.
Aaditya Thackeray, State Environment and Tourism Minister said, “Mangrove presence is prominent along our coastline acting as shield against natural disasters and crucial in terms of carbon storage. More so, a large area near our urban centres has mangrove cover. Declaring a state mangrove tree gives our effort to protect this ecosystem a further boost.”
The mangrove cell in Mumbai documented this species along Thane creek, Bhandup, Vasai and Dombivali along major mudflats where they prominently grow.
Virendra Tiwari, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (mangrove cell) said, “The idea was to select a species which was neither extremely rare nor common, and which could help us spread awareness among local communities and public at large about mangrove conservation.”

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