Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Host Institutions: Andaman and Nicobar Environment Team(ANET), Andaman Islands/ Dakshin Foundation, Bengaluru

The Andaman and Nicobar group of islands in the Bay of Bengal comprise approximately 527 islands, islets and rocks, which in turn harbour vast stretches of fringing coral reefs. These reefs directly and indirectly contribute to the livelihoods and sustenance of a majority of the local human population. These reefs also harbor some of the most diverse coral reef and marine communities in the world. Recent years, however, have witnessed substantial degradation of these reef ecosystems by both natural and anthropogenic influences. Due to a recent detectable increase in sea surface temperature, the coral reefs of the Andaman group of islands have suffered a mass-bleaching event. The rich marine resources around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands also support several fisheries across the length of the islands. The inland and coastal habitats of South and Middle Andamans will be selected for their accessibility as well as representativeness of tropical evergreen forest and coastal/marine habitats including mangroves. The forests in South Andamans are the

location of existing ecological research, as are the coral reefs in the areas in and around the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and Rani Jhansi Marine National Park. Marine turtles and dugongs are being monitored in Little Andaman and Ritchie’s archipelago respectively. The monitoring of terrestrial, inter-tidal and marine habitats will be included at these sites. The inter-tidal regions are important mangrove habitats.