Status of important coastal habitats of North Tamil Nadu: Diversity, current threats and approaches for conservation

Vikas Madhav Nagarajan, M. Yuvan, Rohith Srinivasan, Nanditha Ram Satagopan, Aswathi Asokan, Anooja A

Regional Studies in Marine Science | Volume 49

Coasts are among the most vulnerable ecosystems to the effects of climate change and the impacts of strong weather events. At the same time, they are also crucial buffers of these phenomena around the world. The current study describes the is ecological and geomorphological uniqueness of North Tamil Nadu’s coast. Five important coastal wetlands were identified in this region, namely Pulicat Lagoon, Adyar Estuary, Kovalam-Muttukadu Backwaters, Odiyur-Mudhaliyarkuppam Lagoon and Kaliveli Lake, which were survyed. The variety of habitats found here include mangroves, backwaters and creeks, estuarine areas, oyster reefs, sandy beaches and sand dunesseagrass beds, salt marshes, and tropical dry evergreen forests. A total of 913 species from eight animals’ classes were recorded from these hotspots, of which 709 species were recorded during the study. Species recorded as bycatch have also been identified and marked so in the checklist The hotspots were assessed using a detailed criteria matrix. This study also highlights the ecological importance of these wetlands, discusses the current threats to them and explores conservation challenges and approaches from a socio-ecological and legal-policy framework.