New Delhi: India in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) committed to creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav said.

Speaking at the launch of the Mangrove Alliance for Climate (MAC), Yadav said that creating the new carbon sink from mangrove afforestation and reducing emissions from mangrove deforestation are two feasible ways for countries to meet their NDC targets and achieve carbon neutrality.

He further said that India is committed to the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems and has strong commitments towards the conservation and management of mangroves.

"Mangroves are one of the most productive ecosystems of the world. This tidal forest serves as a nursery ground for several organisms, protects the coastal erosion, sequestering the carbon and providing a livelihood for millions of people besides harbouring an array of faunal elements in its habitat," he said.

Mangroves are distributed in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world and are found in 123 countries. Mangroves are among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics. They account for 3 per cent of carbon sequestered by the world's tropical forests.

"Mangroves are the economic foundations of many tropical coastal regions. To sustain the blue economy, it is imperative to ensure the sustainability of coastal habitats, particularly mangroves for tropical nations, at the local, regional, and international levels" the Union Minister further added

Yadav, who arrived in Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh on Saturday, also said that with notable adaptive features, mangroves are natural armed forces of tropical and subtropical nations. They are the best option to fight against climate change consequences like sea levels rise and increased frequency of natural calamities like cyclones and storm surges.

"We see the tremendous potential mangroves have for mitigation of growing GHG concentration in the atmosphere. Studies have shown that mangrove forests can absorb four to five times more carbon emissions than landed tropical forests," Yadav added.

It has also been revealed that mangroves can act as buffers for Ocean acidification and sink for microplastics.

"One of the largest remaining areas of mangroves in the world, the Sundarbans supports an exceptional level of biodiversity in both the terrestrial and marine environments, including significant populations of a range of flora and plant species; species of wildlife wide range of fauna, including the Bengal Tiger and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python. There is a significant increase observed in mangroves cover in India in its Andamans region, Sundarbans region, and in the Gujarat region," Bhupendra Yadav said in his speech.

"India has demonstrated expertise in mangrove restoration activities for nearly five decades and restored different types of mangrove ecosystems both on its east and west coasts."

The minister further added that India can contribute to the global knowledge base due to its extensive experience in mangrove restoration, studies on ecosystem valuation and carbon sequestration and also benefit from associating with other nations regarding cutting-edge solutions and generating appropriate financial instruments for mangrove conservation and restoration.