Chilika, the world’s 2nd largest brackish water lagoon of Meghalayan origin had active ports, drains, and dense mangroves that have deteriorated drastically since the 18th century, confronting warm periods, the little ice age (LIA), and oscillating Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR). The present study investigates the systematic unveiling of the cachet of past Chilika by scientific searches, and historical sneezes. The palynological, radiocarbon dating, paleo sediment, and phenology records from various searches and ground realities are correlated. The existing proxies are available in past histories and archeological findings. The remains of vegetation are compared with past mangroves, inland taxa, strand lines, and the tidal Inlet (TIs). They are interrelated with existing Survey of India (SoI) maps of 1930, 1963, and 1983, with GIS maps of 2022 after mosaicking, and georeferencing. The warm and dry periods, weak ISMR, LIA, anthropogenic interventions in the adjoint hydraulic system, regional mean sea level (RMSL) changes, and the strand line shifts, have made the BoB retrogress or transgress and transformed the coastal landform/ vegetation pattern since 1000YBP. The loss of maritime activity, mangrove losses, lagoon characteristics changes, and tidal inlet positioning has affected the lagoon’s salinity and ecosystem. The unbalanced sedimentary budget and extreme climates have deteriorated the Lagoon’s eco-health leaving today the fishing and tourism uses only. Consequently, lagoon users, especially fisherfolks, are marginalized, socio-politically exploited, and economically retrograded. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1,2, 8, 13, to 15 must be well attended to augment the flora, fauna, environment, and socio-economic status of the lagoon users.
1Department of Civil Engineering, Centurion University of Technology & Management, Odisha
2SPANDAN, a non-government organization, Odisha
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