National income statistics, which form the basis for measuring and monitoring the performance of an economy, do not include environmental resources adequately, with the result that they fail to provide the required inputs for the formulation of sound economic policies, particularly in the context of sustainable development. Coastal resources are important in a country like India, which is surrounded by sea from three sides, and mangroves, the salt tolerant forest ecosystem that is one of the richest ecosystems in the world, provides a wide range of ecological and economic products and services, including carbon sequestration and protection to life and property under severe cyclones and tsunamis.However, mangroves are neglected, as their value is not incorporated in the national income data. The present study, which is a methodological study, compiles economic value of mangroves in India and shows that this rich ecosystem contributes significantly to the economy, and it needs to be strengthened in order to promote sustainable development of coastal regions and to protect coastal population from cyclones and tsunamis.
Indira Hirway is the director and professor of economics at the Centre For Development Alternatives (CFDA), Ahmedabad, India. She studied for her Masters at the Delhi School of Economics, Delhi and for her PhD at the University of Bombay, Mumbai. She has pub-lished books and articles in several areas - poverty and human development, labour and employment, globalisation and development paradigms as well as environment and development and environment accounting. Subhrangsu Goswami is an environmental engineer and environmental planner. He has been actively involved in various research projects in the field of water, environment and development, at CFDA as well as at the School of Planning, CEPT, Ahmedabad. Currently, he is a doctoral scholar of Planning and Public Policy at CEPT University, Ahmedabad.