Mangroves, the sentinels at coastal frontiers, have gained new respect among local people in the Bay of Bengal region of Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, which witnessed the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The dense mangrove forests guarding this municipality absorbed and help dissipate the force of the massive waves. Had it not been for the mangroves, the effects of the tsunami would have been disastrous here. Now, knowing the importance of the mangroves and the adverse effects climate change are having on these forests, local residents have formed self-help groups under the guidance of the Forest department and the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation. Together they are preserving and restoring the mangroves, which are now not just sentinels guarding the coastal frontiers but also considered a sacred deity.
This feature is based on the format of “Walk the Talk” and incorporates recordings done during a field trip supported by Internews' Earth Journalism Network to the mangrove island of Pichavaram in Chidambaram.