THE CORINGA MANGROVS

The Coringa mangrove forest is located on the East Coast of India south of Kakinada Bay in the State of Andhra. Flanked by the shallow Bar-built Bay towards north and extensive network of estuarine creeks and canals emanating from River Godavari in the south, the Coringa mangrove Forest has become an ecologically sensitive habitat where intense shrimp farming has taken its toll in recent years. Topographically, River Godavari joins the sea at Bhairavapalem, the southern limit of the bay-mangrove complex that covers a total area of approximately 333 kilo meters.

The drainage area is about 2, 90,400 kilo meters and normal runoff from the river is estimated to be around 460316 × 106 cubic feet. Large quantities of freshwater enter the mangroves every year through Godavari River and its distributaries mainly Coringa and Gaderu. The canal system is highly intricate and the flow nature complex attributable to stratification noticed through most of the year. Seawater enters at Bhairavapalem in the south and Kakinada Bay in the north. The long and often branching mangrove creeks where considerable lateral trapping of water occurs, serve as an excellent habitat and nursery for a wide range of invertebrate species.

Where conditions favor the Mangroves may form extensive and productive forests in the sheltered coastal lines. The mangroves contain a highly specialized community of plants associated with animal species which are not capable of surviving in any other situations. Mangrove occurs in Andhra Pradesh in estuaries of Krishna and Godavari rivers. Andhra Pradesh has got an area of 582 Sq.KM.of Mangrove forests, accounting for about 9% of local forest area of the State, which amounts to just about 2% of the local geographical area of the State. Even the entire land under mangroves does not contain fully the Mangrove vegetation. The area includes forest of open blanks. Sandy patches and Mud-flats.

Coringa is the second largest mangrove formation in India, next to Sundarbans. The area of Coringa Reserve forest is 3156 hectares and of Coringa. Extension forest is 9442 hectares including waterways. In Coringa, totally 15 species of mangroves were recorded. The distribution and health of mangrove plants are largely governed by climatic factors such as solar radiation, temperature, rainfall, wind, etc. The observed high rainfall and temperature seem to be conducive for the health of mangroves in Coringa.