GNF - Mangroves Forests in Sri Lanka and India

Mangrove Protection in Sri Lanka and India

Since 2005 GNF and our Partners is implementing various projects with a focus on the rehabilitation and protection of tropical mangrove ecosystems as a contribution to climate and coastal protection, to the conservation of biodiversity as well as the natural livelihoods in India and Sri Lanka and other countries in Asia.

On 6th of November 2019, we celebrated the closing of the present mangrove restoration project funded by BMZ in Colombo. On this occasion we received the message of the President of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Maithripala Sirisena, acknowledging our work and encouraging us to carry on.

Message of the President


In-depth Experience and long-term Cooperation

For many years, the Global Nature Fund (GNF) is working with the project partners in Sri Lanka and in India. The organizations have implemented several mangrove reforestation projects in close cooperation, therefore they have extensive experience in this area.


Successfully implemented mangrove projects of the GNF

Mangrove Protection in Asia (2014 - 2016)


Mangrove Rehabilitation in Asia (2012 - 2015)


Mangrove Swamp Restoration in Sri Lanka (2010 - 2011)


Mangrove Reforestation at Lake Pulicat in India (2009 - 2011)


Mangrove Reforestation at six Lakes in Sri Lanka (2009 - 2010)


EU Asia Pro-Eco II B Post Tsunami Project (2005 - 2008)

Project Measures

  • Seeds of native mangrove species are collected by the local population
  • Creation of tree nurseries and house gardens where mangrove seedlings are drawn
  • Some 210,000 seedlings are to be planted in 57 tree nurseries
  • Reforestation of 150 hectares of mangrove areas in four regions
  • Cultivation of vegetables, fruits and herbs in the house gardens, for self-service and local markets
  • Promote eco-tourism by boats for excursions and bird watching towers
  • Environmental education through seminars and demonstration gardens
  • Training in organic farming, tourism, sustainable agriculture and fisheries


The overall project objectives are

  • Restoration of a total of 150 hectares of mangrove ecosystems in four project regions
  • Models for sustainable and stable income generation will be developedfor 1,400 families
  • Contribution to climate protection, potential carbon storage capacity of the restored mangrove forests is calculated at 240,000 t CO2

Mangrove Forests as an important Habitat

The tropical mangrove forests grow in the intertidal zone along coasts. They are well adapted to sea water´s high salinity and are unique habitats, combining water and land. This characteristic makes them the perfect habitat for a diverse number of animal and plant species. About 70 % of tropical fish stocks use the characteristic aerial root plants in the course of their lives - either as a breeding ground, nursery or food source. Also countless reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals live in and of this fascinating ecosystem.


Additionally, mangroves perform many other important functions such as stabilization of the coasts, prevention of erosion and protection against floods and tidal waves. For the local population, they represent an important resource: the wood is used for house construction and as fuel, but also fruits and medicinal plants are harvested from the trees.

Threat of global Mangrove Populations

About 90 % of mangrove forests grow in developing countries and it is estimated that more than 100 million people worldwide benefit from the approximately 152,000 square kilometers mangrove forests that exist on Earth. Nevertheless, the ecosystems disappear in such a rapid pace that their decline is even faster than the  coral reefs and tropical rainforests according to a recent UNEP report. Countries such as the Philippines have lost in the last 100 years nearly 50 % of its mangrove forests. This is due mainly to human impacts, such as coastal development, agriculture, illegal logging and commercial shrimp farms.


Together with the trees, many associated plant and animal species, as well as fish are disappearing,  protection of local population against tsunamis is decreasing and soil erosion is worsening. Almost one-fifth of global greenhouse emissions causing by deforestation are due to mangroves clearance. This is mainly due to the immense potential of mangrove forest as a carbon sink storing greenhouse gases, particularly in its muddy soils. According to experts, one hectare can store about 1,000 tons of carbon.

Handbook (November 2015)

Mangrove Restoration Guide (4.7 MB)

Best Practices and Lessons Learned from a Community-based Conservation Project

Project partners and areas

In conjunction with the partner organisations Nagenahiru Foundation and EMACE Foundation in Sri Lanka, GNF has been implementing successfully the three year EU Asia Pro-Eco II Post Tsunami Project. Further reforestation and environmental education activities have been carried out in the wetlands Madampe and Maduganga as well as at Lake Bolgoda. Since spring 2004, all three wetlands have been represented in the Living Lakes network.


At Lake Pulicat in India, the project activities are carried out by the partner organisation Center for Research on New International Economic Order (CReNIEO). Since 2004, at Lake Pulicat, reforestation has been successfully carried out by GNF and CReNIEO. Tree nurseries were established and mangrove forests restored.


Since 2016, the collaboration with Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS) exists, whose commitment to mangrove protection is being implemented in the Sundarbans in East India, one of the largest remaining mangrove forests on earth. However, this area is also extremely densely populated so that habitat and wildlife protection as well as the sustainable use of natural resources are important here.


Our project partners and friends of the Nagenahiru Foundation in Sri Lanka explain their project to support fishing communities with solar lamps.


Our project partners and friends of the Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS) presents the video:
Sundarbans - An approach to reconstruction and recovery in post Aila situation


Video "Review Meeting - Involving communities in the restoration and rehabilitation of tropical mangrove ecosystems in Asia"


Video "Success in the Implementation of Mangrove Restoration Project in the Communities of Samrong and Andoung Thmor Communes of Prey Nub District, Preah Sinhanouk Province, Cambodia"




German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Contact persons

Mr. Udo Gattenlöhner

Global Nature Fund (GNF) - Office Radolfzell

Phone: +49 7732 9995 80



Mr. Thies Geertz

Global Nature Fund (GNF) - Office Radolfzell

Phone: +49 7732 9995 83


 German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The project should make a concrete contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
 Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
 Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
 Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Project Period:


Project Countries:





Project Partners:

January 2017 - December 2024


Sri Lanka and India


German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Daimler AG

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)


Center For Research On New International Economic Order (CReNIEO), India;
Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS), India;
Nagenahiru Foundation, Sri Lanka;
EMACE Foundation, Sri Lanka


Partner organizations in the framework of the project

Sri Lanka

 Emace Foundation
 Nagenahiru Foundation


 Nature Environment & Wildlife Society (NEWS)