Apollo Tyres and Wildlife Trust of India has announced its partnership on a mangrove restoration project in Kannur to coincide with the international day for biological diversity.

The Kannur Kandal Project aims to ensure the survival of existing mangroves and increase the acreage of such habitats across Kannur, potentially making it a prototype for other coastal districts of Kerala and a model for the rest of the country.

Mangrove area in Kerala has reduced drastically over the years, with only 1,750 hectares of an estimated historical 70,000 hectares remaining. Conversion into coconut plantations or other agricultural land, aquaculture, unscientific water regulation, population pressures, real estate development, inadequate enforcement of laws, etc, have all contributed to mangrove destruction.

The site for Apollo Tyres-WTI’s project will be in Kunhimangalam village in Kannur district, which is one of the largest mangrove villages of Kerala. The project will establish a hub, located in the natural ecosystem, for mangrove-based education, serving as an open-air laboratory for research and promoting restoration through community and government participation.

A mangrove nursery and community-based initiatives to enhance public awareness and reduce the threat to mangroves are other aspects of the project. Particular efforts will be made to generate scientific interest about mangroves among the youth.

Land secured with the support of the World Land Trust, an international NGO, will serve as the nodal site for all conservation activities conducted by WTI and Apollo under this project, a press release said.