GNF - Mangrove Reforestation in India

Mangrove Reforestation at Lake Pulicat in India


Udo Gattenlöhner, Executive Director of the GNF and project manager, visited Lake Pulicat in February 2011, to record the project progresses in situ. His impressive report “About Fishermen, Mangroves and Sea Turtles” can be read here.

In summer 2009, GNF has launched a biodiversity restoration project in Tamil Nadu (India), at Lake Pulicat, and started planting mangrove forests. The measures are carried out by CReNIO, the Living Lakes partner in India. For years, CReNIO has supported socially disadvantaged classes in India. The project is supported by the Federal Agency for Nature Conversation (BfN) and the Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) in the frame of the special stamps programme, by the Swiss company SIKA as well as the Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V. and Rapunzel Naturkost AG from resources of the Hand in Hand Fund.


Fishery provides livelihood for millions of people living in the Pulicat Lagoon in South India, near the city of Chennai (Madras). Lake Pulicat is about a million years old and the second largest brackish water system in India. The lake has a length of 60 km and covers an area of 460 sq. km. In the lagoon live 65 fish species. Up to 15,000 Flamingos visit Lake Pulicat during their annual migration. Unfortunately, due to deteriorating water quality, fish catch decreases continuously. Mangroves are very important for the water quality, in this region, however, they have been significantly depleted. Additionally, this district was heavily affected by the Tsunami in 2004, thus the ecosystem has suffered serious damage.

 Filling of plant pots with soil
 Selection of swollen seeds
 First sprouted mangrove plants

Project implementation 

In cooperation with the Forest Authorities in Tamil Nadu, appropriate mangrove species were chosen for the restoration and as protective barrier against storms and flood waves. Planting activities are carried out by CReNIO in cooperation with the local people from five villages (Thangal, Kulathumedu, Edamani, Sathankuppam, Kottaikuppam). The project goal is to prevent over-fishing of Lake Pulicat.


After the establishment of the first mangrove nurseries in an environmental education centre at the Pulicat Lagoon, mainly mangroves of the Acanthaceas Family (Avicennia marina) are grown and planted (25,000 plants in two years). In parallel, workshops with the participation of scientists, local stakeholders and forest representatives are held. Additionally, 20 demonstration programmes for women‘s group leaders are organised and training programmes are held to enable women to work in the tree nurseries. Comprehensive training material in Tamil language will be provided and made available for the training and for schools (e.g. Pulicat National Matriculation School) as well.

Detailed information about Pulicat Lake is available under our separate webpage.

Further pictures about the project


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2009 – 2011






German Federal Agency for Nature Conversation (BfN), German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Sika AG, Deutsche Umwelthilfe and Rapunzel Naturkost from resources of the Hand in Hand-Fund