The world’s largest mangrove forest within the delta of Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers

Beauty of Sundarban river02.jpg

Deer and mangroves within the Sundarbans

The Sundarbans

The Sundarbans
Location West Bengal, India and Khulna Division, Bangladesh
Nearest metropolis Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat
Coordinates 21°57′N 89°11′E / 21.950°N 89.183°E / 21.950; 89.183Coordinates: 21°57′N 89°11′E / 21.950°N 89.183°E / 21.950; 89.183
Governing physique Authorities of Bangladesh and Authorities of India
Official identify Sundarbans Nationwide Park
Location South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts, West Bengal, India
Standards Pure: (ix)(x)
Reference 452
Inscription 1987 (11th session)
Space 133,010 ha (513.6 sq mi)
Coordinates 21°56′42″N 88°53′45″E / 21.94500°N 88.89583°E / 21.94500; 88.89583
Official identify The Sundarbans
Location Khulna Division, Bangladesh
Standards Pure: (ix)(x)
Reference 798
Inscription 1997 (21st session)
Space 139,500 ha (539 sq mi)
Coordinates 21°57′N 89°11′E / 21.950°N 89.183°E / 21.950; 89.183

In addition to the sundari, different tree species within the forest embrace Avicennia, Xylocarpus mekongensis, Xylocarpus granatum, Sonneratia apetala, Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Ceriops decandra, Aegiceras corniculatum, Rhizophora mucronata, and Nypa fruticans palms.

Official identify Sundarbans Reserved Forest
Designated 21 Could 1992
Reference no. 560[1]
Official identify Sundarban Wetland
Designated 30 January 2019
Reference no. 2370[2]

The Sundarbans is a mangrove space within the delta shaped by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers within the Bay of Bengal. It spans from the Hooghly River in India’s state of West Bengal to the Baleswar River in Bangladesh. It includes closed and open mangrove forests, land used for agricultural objective, mudflats and barren land, and is intersected by a number of tidal streams and channels. 4 protected areas within the Sundarbans are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Websites, viz. Sundarbans Nationwide Park, Sundarbans West, Sundarbans South and Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuaries.[3] Regardless of these protections, the Indian Sundarbans had been thought-about endangered in a 2020 evaluation below the IUCN Purple Record of Ecosystems framework.[4]

The Sundarbans mangrove forest covers an space of about 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi), of which forests in Bangladesh’s Khulna Division lengthen over 6,017 km2 (2,323 sq mi) and in West Bengal, they lengthen over 4,260 km2 (1,640 sq mi) throughout the South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas districts.[5] Probably the most plentiful tree species are sundri (Heritiera fomes) and gewa (Excoecaria agallocha). The forests present habitat to 453 faunal wildlife, together with 290 fowl, 120 fish, 42 mammal, 35 reptile and eight amphibian species.[6]

Regardless of a complete ban on all killing or seize of wildlife apart from fish and a few invertebrates, it seems that there’s a constant sample of depleted biodiversity or lack of species within the 20th century, and that the ecological high quality of the forest is declining.[7]
The Directorate of Forest is accountable for the administration and administration of Sundarban Nationwide Park in West Bengal. In Bangladesh, a Forest Circle was created in 1993 to protect the forest, and Chief Conservators of Forests have been posted since. Regardless of preservation commitments from each Governments, the Sunderbans are below menace from each pure and human-made causes. In 2007, the landfall of Cyclone Sidr broken round 40% of the Sundarbans. The forest can be affected by elevated salinity on account of rising sea ranges and decreased freshwater provide. Once more in Could 2009 Cyclone Aila devastated Sundarban with large casualties. No less than 100,000 individuals had been affected by this cyclone.[8][9] The proposed coal-fired Rampal energy station located 14 km (8.7 mi) north of the Sundarbans at Rampal Upazila of Bagerhat District in Khulna, Bangladesh, is anticipated to additional injury this distinctive mangrove forest in response to a 2016 report by UNESCO.[10]


The Bengali identify Sundarban Bengali: সুন্দরবন means “stunning forest.”[11][12] It could have been derived from the phrase Sundari or Sundri, the native identify of the mangrove species Heritiera fomes. Alternatively, it has been proposed that the identify is a corruption of Samudraban, Shomudrobôn (“Sea Forest”), or Chandra-bandhe, the identify of a tribe.[13]

Historical past[edit]

Village in a clearing of Sundarbans. Drawing by Frederic Peter Layard after an unique sketch of 1839

Farm amongst paddy fields within the Sundarbans, 2010

The historical past of the world might be traced again to 200–300 AD. A smash of a metropolis constructed by Chand Sadagar has been discovered within the Baghmara Forest Block. Throughout the Mughal interval, the Mughal Emperors leased the forests of the Sundarbans to close by residents. Many criminals took refuge within the Sundarbans from the advancing armies of Emperor Akbar. Many have been identified to be attacked by tigers.[14] Lots of the buildings which had been constructed by them later fell to fingers of Portuguese pirates, salt smugglers and dacoits within the 16th and 17th centuries. Proof of the very fact might be traced from the ruins at Netidhopani and different locations scattered throughout Sundarbans.[15] The authorized standing of the forests underwent a sequence of modifications, together with the excellence of being the primary mangrove forest on the earth to be introduced below scientific administration. The realm was mapped first in Persian, by the Surveyor Common as early as 1769 following quickly after proprietary rights had been obtained from the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II by the British East India Firm in 1757. Systematic administration of this forest tract began within the 1860s after the institution of a Forest Division within the Province of Bengal, in British India. The administration was solely designed to extract no matter treasures had been obtainable, however labour and decrease administration principally had been staffed by locals, because the British had no experience or adaptation expertise in mangrove forests.[16]

The primary Forest Administration Division to have jurisdiction over the Sundarbans was established in 1869. In 1875 a big portion of the mangrove forests was declared as reserved forests below the Forest Act, 1865 (Act VIII of 1865). The remaining parts of the forests had been declared a reserve forest the next yr and the forest, which was to date administered by the civil administration district, was positioned below the management of the Forest Division. A Forest Division, which is the fundamental forest administration and administration unit, was created in 1879 with the headquarters in Khulna, Bangladesh. The primary administration plan was written for the interval 1893–98.[17][18]

In 1911, it was described as a tract of waste nation which had by no means been surveyed nor had the census been prolonged to it. It then stretched for about 266 kilometres (165 mi) from the mouth of the Hooghly River to the mouth of the Meghna River and was bordered inland by the three settled districts of the 24 Parganas, Khulna and Bakerganj. The whole space (together with water) was estimated at 16,900 sq. kilometres (6,526 sq mi). It was a water-logged jungle, through which tigers and different wild beasts abounded. Makes an attempt at reclamation had not been very profitable.


The Sundarban forest lies within the huge delta on the Bay of Bengal shaped by the tremendous confluence of the Hooghly, Padma(each are distributaries of Ganges), Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers throughout southern Bangladesh. The seasonally flooded Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie inland from the mangrove forests on the coastal fringe. The forest covers 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) of which about 6,000 km2 (2,300 sq mi) are in Bangladesh. The Indian a part of Sundarbans is estimated to be about 4,110 km2 (1,590 sq mi), of which about 1,700 km2 (660 sq mi) is occupied by water our bodies within the types of river, canals and creeks of width various from a couple of metres to a number of kilometres.

The Sundarbans is intersected by a posh community of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests. The interconnected community of waterways makes nearly each nook of the forest accessible by boat. The realm is thought for the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), in addition to quite a few fauna together with species of birds, noticed deer, crocodiles and snakes. The fertile soils of the delta have been topic to intensive human use for hundreds of years, and the ecoregion has been principally transformed to intensive agriculture, with few enclaves of forest remaining. The remaining forests, taken along with the Sundarbans mangroves, are vital habitat for the endangered tiger. Moreover, the Sundarbans serves a vital perform as a protecting barrier for the thousands and thousands of inhabitants in and round Khulna and Mongla in opposition to the floods that outcome from the cyclones.


The mangrove-dominated Ganges Delta – the Sundarbans – is a posh ecosystem comprising one of many three largest single tracts of mangrove forests of the world. The bigger half is located in Bangladesh, a smaller portion of it lies in India. The Indian a part of the forest is estimated to be about 40 %, whereas the Bangladeshi half is 60 %. To the south the forest meets the Bay of Bengal; to the east it’s bordered by the Baleswar River and to the north there’s a sharp interface with intensively cultivated land. The pure drainage within the upstream areas, apart from the principle river channels, is in every single place impeded by in depth embankments and polders. The Sundarbans was initially measured (about 200 years in the past) to be of about 16,700 sq. kilometres (6,400 sq mi). Now it has dwindled into about 1/Three of the unique measurement. The whole land space in the present day is 4,143 sq. kilometres (1,600 sq mi), together with uncovered sandbars with a complete space of 42 sq. kilometres (16 sq mi); the remaining water space of 1,874 sq. kilometres (724 sq mi) encompasses rivers, small streams and canals. Rivers within the Sundarbans are assembly locations of salt water and freshwater. Thus, it’s a area of transition between the freshwater of the rivers originating from the Ganges and the saline water of the Bay of Bengal.[19]

The Sundarbans alongside the Bay of Bengal has advanced over the millennia by pure deposition of upstream sediments accompanied by intertidal segregation. The physiography is dominated by deltaic formations that embrace innumerable drainage traces related to floor and subaqueous levees, splays and tidal flats. There are additionally marginal marshes above imply tide degree, tidal sandbars and islands with their networks of tidal channels, subaqueous distal bars and proto-delta clays and silt sediments. The Sundarbans’ flooring varies from 0.9 to 2.11 metres (3.Zero to six.9 ft) above sea degree.[20]

Biotic elements right here play a big function in bodily coastal evolution, and for wildlife a wide range of habitats have developed which embrace seashores, estuaries, everlasting and semi-permanent swamps, tidal flats, tidal creeks, coastal dunes, again dunes and levees. The mangrove vegetation itself assists within the formation of recent landmass and the intertidal vegetation performs a big function in swamp morphology. The actions of mangrove fauna within the intertidal mudflats develop micromorphological options that lure and maintain sediments to create a substratum for mangrove seeds. The morphology and evolution of the eolian dunes is managed by an abundance of xerophytic and halophytic crops. Creepers, grasses and sedges stabilise sand dunes and uncompacted sediments. The Sunderbans mudflats (Banerjee, 1998) are discovered on the estuary and on the deltaic islands the place low velocity of river and tidal present happens. The flats are uncovered in low tides and submerged in excessive tides, thus being modified morphologically even in a single tidal cycle. The tides are so massive that roughly one third of the land disappears and reappears daily.[21] The inside elements of the mudflats function an ideal dwelling for mangroves.


Sundarbans options two ecoregions — “Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests” (IM0162) and “Sundarbans mangroves” (IM1406).[22]

Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests[edit]

The Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests are a tropical moist broadleaf forest ecoregion of Bangladesh. It represents the brackish swamp forests that lie behind the Sundarbans Mangroves, the place the salinity is extra pronounced. The freshwater ecoregion is an space the place the water is barely barely brackish and turns into fairly contemporary in the course of the wet season, when the freshwater plumes from the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers push the intruding salt water out and convey a deposit of silt.
It covers 14,600 sq. kilometres (5,600 sq mi) of the huge Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta, extending from the northern a part of Khulna District and ending on the mouth of the Bay of Bengal with scattered parts extending into India’s West Bengal state. The Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie between the upland Decrease Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests and the brackish-water Sundarbans mangroves bordering the Bay of Bengal.[23]

A sufferer of large-scale clearing and settlement to assist one of many densest human populations in Asia, this ecoregion is below an important menace of extinction. A whole lot of years of habitation and exploitation have exacted a heavy toll on this ecoregion’s habitat and biodiversity. There are two protected areas – Narendrapur (110 km2) and Ata Danga Baor (20 km2) that cowl a mere 130 km2 of the ecoregion. Habitat loss on this ecoregion is so in depth, and the remaining habitat is so fragmented, that it’s tough to determine the composition of the unique vegetation of this ecoregion. In response to Champion and Seth (1968), the freshwater swamp forests are characterised by Heritiera minor, Xylocarpus molluccensis, Bruguiera conjugata, Sonneratia apetala, Avicennia officinalis, and Sonneratia caseolaris, with Pandanus tectorius, Hibiscus tiliaceus, and Nipa fruticans alongside the fringing banks.[23]

Sundarbans Mangroves[edit]

Ecoregion IM406, also called the Sundarbans Mangroves ecoregion

The Sundarbans Mangroves ecoregion on the coast kinds the seaward fringe of the delta and is the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem, with 20,400 sq. kilometres (7,900 sq mi) of an space coated. The dominant mangrove species Heritiera fomes is regionally often known as sundri or sundari. Mangrove forests aren’t dwelling to an important number of crops. They’ve a thick cover, and the undergrowth is usually seedlings of the mangrove timber. In addition to the sundari, different tree species within the forest embrace Avicennia, Xylocarpus mekongensis, Xylocarpus granatum, Sonneratia apetala, Bruguiera gymnorhiza, Ceriops decandra, Aegiceras corniculatum, Rhizophora mucronata, and Nypa fruticans palms.[24]
Twenty-six of the fifty broad mangrove species discovered on the earth develop properly within the Sundarbans. The generally identifiable vegetation sorts within the dense Sundarbans mangrove forests are salt water combined forest, mangrove scrub, brackish water combined forest, littoral forest, moist forest and moist alluvial grass forests. The Bangladesh mangrove vegetation of the Sundarbans differs enormously from different non-deltaic coastal mangrove forests and upland forests associations. Not like the previous, the Rhizophoraceae are of minor significance.[25]

Ecological succession[edit]

Ecological succession is usually outlined because the successive occupation of a website by totally different plant communities.[26] In an accreting mudflats the outer neighborhood alongside the sequence represents the pioneer neighborhood which is step by step changed by the following neighborhood representing the seral levels and at last by a climax neighborhood typical of the climatic zone.[27]Robert Scott Troup steered that succession started within the newly accreted land created by contemporary deposits of eroded soil. The pioneer vegetation on these newly accreted websites is Sonneratia, adopted by Avicennia and Nypa. As the bottom is elevated on account of soil deposition, different timber make their look. Probably the most prevalent, although one of many late species to seem, is Excoecaria. As the extent of land rises by accretion and the land is barely often flooded by tides, Heritiera fomes begins to seem.[28]

A complete 245 genera and 334 plant species had been recorded by David Prain in 1903.[29] Whereas many of the mangroves in different elements of the world are characterised by members of the Rhizophoraceae, Avicenneaceae or Combretaceae, the mangroves of Bangladesh are dominated by the Malvaceae and Euphorbiaceae.[17]

The Sundarbans flora is characterised by the abundance of sundari (Heritiera fomes), gewa (Excoecaria agallocha), goran (Ceriops decandra) and keora (Sonneratia apetala) all of which happen prominently all through the world. The attribute tree of the forest is the sundari (Heritiera littoralis), from which the identify of the forest had most likely been derived. It yields a tough wooden, used for constructing homes and making boats, furnishings and different issues. New forest accretions is commonly conspicuously dominated by keora (Sonneratia apetala) and tidal forests. It’s an indicator species for newly accreted mudbanks and is a crucial species for wildlife, particularly noticed deer (Axis axis). There’s abundance of dhundul or passur (Xylocarpus granatum) and kankra (Bruguiera gymnorhiza) although distribution is discontinuous. Amongst palms, Poresia coaractata, Myriostachya wightiana and golpata (Nypa fruticans), and amongst grasses spear grass (Imperata cylindrica) and khagra (Phragmites karka) are properly distributed.

The sorts of the forests that exist in Sundarbans embrace mangrove scrub, littoral forest, saltwater combined forest, brackish water combined forest and swamp forest. In addition to the forest, there are in depth areas of brackish water and freshwater marshes, intertidal mudflats, sandflats, sand dunes with typical dune vegetation, open grassland on sandy soils and raised areas supporting a wide range of terrestrial shrubs and timber. Since Prain’s report there have been appreciable modifications within the standing of assorted mangrove species and taxonomic revision of the man-grove flora.[30] Nevertheless, little or no exploration of the botanical nature of the Sundarbans has been made to maintain up with these modifications. Variations in vegetation have been defined by way of freshwater and low salinity influences within the Northeast and variations in drainage and siltation. The Sundarbans has been categorized as a moist tropical forest demonstrating an entire mosaic of seres, comprising main colonisation on new accretions to extra mature seaside forests. Traditionally vegetation sorts have been recognised in broad correlation with various levels of water salinity, freshwater flushing and physiography.

The Sundarbans offers a novel ecosystem and a wealthy wildlife habitat. In response to the 2015 tiger census in Bangladesh, and the 2011 tiger census in India, the Sundarbans have about 180 tigers (106 in Bangladesh and 74 in India). Earlier estimates, primarily based on counting distinctive pugmarks, had been a lot larger. The newer counts have used digicam traps, an improved methodology that yields extra correct outcomes.[31][32][33] Tiger assaults are frequent within the Sundarbans, with as much as 50 individuals being killed annually.[citation needed]

Most significantly, mangroves are a transition from the marine to freshwater and terrestrial programs, and supply important habitat for quite a few species of small fish, crabs, shrimps and different crustaceans that adapt to feed and shelter, and reproduce among the many tangled mass of roots, often known as pneumatophores, which develop upward from the anaerobic mud to get the availability of oxygen.
A 1991 examine has revealed that the Indian a part of the Sundarbans helps various organic sources together with not less than 150 species of commercially vital fish, 270 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, 35 reptiles and eight amphibian species, though new ones are being found. This represents a big proportion of the species current in Bangladesh (i.e. about 30% of the reptiles, 37% the birds and 34% of the mammals) and consists of many species which at the moment are extinct elsewhere within the nation.[34] Two amphibians, 14 reptiles, 25 aves and 5 mammals are endangered.[35] The Sundarbans is a crucial wintering space for migrant water birds[36] and is an space appropriate for watching and finding out avifauna.[37]

The administration of wildlife is restricted to, firstly, the safety of fauna from poaching, and, secondly, designation of some areas as wildlife sanctuaries the place no extraction of forest produce is allowed and the place the wildlife face few disturbances. Though the fauna of Bangladesh have diminished in current occasions[17] and the Sundarbans has not been spared from this decline, the mangrove forest retains a number of good wildlife habitats and their related fauna. Of those, the tiger and dolphin are goal species for planning wildlife administration and tourism growth. There are excessive profile and susceptible mammals residing in two contrasting environments, and their statuses and administration are robust indicators of the overall situation and administration of wildlife. Some species are protected by laws, notably by the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) Order, 1973 (P.O. 23 of 1973).[38]


A Bengal tiger within the Sundarbans

The Sundarbans are an vital habitat for the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris).[39] The forest additionally offers habitat for small wild cats such because the jungle cat (Felis chaus), fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), and leopard cat (P. bengalensis).[40]

A number of predators dwell within the labyrinth of channels, branches and roots that poke up into the air. That is the one mangrove ecoregion that harbours the Indo-Pacific area’s largest terrestrial predator, the Bengal tiger. Not like in different habitats, tigers stay right here and swim among the many mangrove islands, the place they hunt scarce prey such because the chital deer (Axis axis), Indian muntjacs (Muntiacus muntjak), wild boar (Sus scrofa), and Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). It’s estimated that there at the moment are 180 Bengal tigers[31] and about 30,000 noticed deer within the space. The tigers commonly assault and kill people who enterprise into the forest, human deaths starting from 30 to 100 per yr.[41]


The forest can be wealthy in fowl life, with 286 species together with the endemic brown-winged kingfishers (Pelargopsis amauroptera) and the globally threatened lesser adjutants (Leptoptilos javanicus) and masked finfoots (Heliopais personata) and birds of prey such because the ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), white-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster) and grey-headed fish eagles (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus). Some extra in style birds discovered on this area are open billed storks, black-headed ibis, water hens, coots, pheasant-tailed jacanas, pariah kites, brahminy kites, marsh harriers, swamp partridges, pink junglefowls, noticed doves, frequent mynahs, jungle crows, jungle babblers, cotton teals, herring gulls, Caspian terns, grey herons, brahminy geese, spot-billed pelicans, nice egrets, night time herons, frequent snipes, wooden sandpipers, inexperienced pigeons, rose-ringed parakeets, paradise flycatchers, cormorants, white-bellied sea eagles, seagulls, frequent kingfishers, peregrine falcons, woodpeckers, Eurasian whimbrels, black-tailed godwits, little stints, jap knots, curlews, golden plovers, pintails, white-eyed pochards and lesser whistling geese.[citation needed]


The Sundarbans Nationwide Park is dwelling to olive ridley turtle, hawksbill turtle, inexperienced turtle, sea snake, dog-faced water snake, estuarine crocodile, chameleon, king cobra, Russell’s viper, home gecko, monitor lizard, pythons, frequent krait, inexperienced vine snake, checkered keelback and rat snake. The river terrapin, Indian flap-shelled turtle (Lissemys punctata), peacock soft-shelled turtle (Trionyx hurum), yellow monitor, Asian water monitor, and Indian python.
Fish and amphibians discovered within the Sundarbans embrace sawfish, butter fish, electrical ray, frequent carp, silver carp, barb, river eels, starfish, king crab, fiddler crab, hermit crab, prawn, shrimps, Gangetic dolphins, skipper frogs, frequent toads and tree frogs. One notably attention-grabbing fish is the mudskipper, a gobioid that climbs out of the water into mudflats and even climbs timber.[citation needed]

Endangered and extinct species[edit]

Forest inventories reveal a decline in standing quantity of the 2 predominant industrial mangrove species – sundari (Heritiera spp.) and gewa (Excoecaria agallocha) — by 40% and 45% respectively between 1959 and 1983.[42][43] Regardless of a complete ban on all killing or seize of wildlife apart from fish and a few invertebrates, it seems that there’s a constant sample of depleted biodiversity or lack of species (notably not less than six mammals and one vital reptile) within the 20th century, and that the “ecological high quality of the unique mangrove forest is declining”.[17]

The endangered species that stay inside the Sundarbans and extinct species that was once embrace the Bengal tiger, estuarine crocodile, northern river terrapin (Batagur baska), olive ridley sea turtle, Gangetic dolphin, floor turtles, hawksbill sea turtles and king crabs (horse shoe). Some species equivalent to hog deer (Axis porcinus), water buffalos (Bubalus bubalis), barasingha or swamp deer (Cervus duvauceli), Javan rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) and the mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) began to turn into extinct within the Sundarbans in the direction of the center of the 20th century, due to in depth poaching and searching by the British.[35] There are different threatened mammal species, such because the capped langur (Semnopithecus pileatus), smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata), Asian small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinerea) and huge Indian civet (Viverra zibetha).

Local weather change affect[edit]

The bodily growth processes alongside the coast are influenced by a mess of things, comprising wave motions, micro and macro-tidal cycles and lengthy shore currents typical to the coastal tract. The shore currents range enormously together with the monsoon. These are additionally affected by cyclonic motion. Erosion and accretion by these forces maintains various ranges, as but not correctly measured, of physiographic change while the mangrove vegetation itself offers a outstanding stability to the whole system. Throughout every monsoon season nearly all of the Bengal Delta is submerged, a lot of it for half a yr. The sediment of the decrease delta plain is primarily advected inland by monsoonal coastal setup and cyclonic occasions. One of many best challenges individuals residing on the Ganges Delta might face in coming years is the specter of rising sea ranges brought about principally by subsidence within the area and partly by local weather change.

In most of the Bangladesh’s mangrove wetlands, freshwater reaching the mangroves was significantly decreased from the 1970s due to diversion of freshwater within the upstream space by neighbouring India by the usage of the Farakka Barrage bordering Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Additionally, the Bengal Basin is slowly tilting in the direction of the east due to neo-tectonic motion, forcing larger freshwater enter to the Bangladesh Sundarbans. In consequence, the salinity of the Bangladesh Sundarbans is way decrease than that of the Indian aspect. A 1990 examine famous that there “isn’t any proof that environmental degradation within the Himalayas or a ‘greenhouse’ induced rise in sea degree have aggravated floods in Bangladesh”; nevertheless, a 2007 report by UNESCO, “Case Research on Local weather Change and World Heritage” has said that an anthropogenic 45-centimetre (18 in) rise in sea degree (possible by the tip of the 21st century, in response to the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change), mixed with different types of anthropogenic stress on the Sundarbans, may result in the destruction of 75 % of the Sundarbans mangroves.[44] Already, Lohachara Island and New Moore Island/South Talpatti Island have disappeared below the ocean, and Ghoramara Island is half submerged.[45]

In a examine performed in 2012, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) came upon that the Sunderban coast was retreating as much as 200 metres (660 ft) in a yr. Agricultural actions had destroyed round 17,179 hectares (42,450 acres) of mangroves inside three a long time (1975–2010). Shrimp cultivation had destroyed one other 7,554 hectares (18,670 acres).

Researches from the College of Oceanographic Research, Jadavpur College, estimated the annual rise in sea degree to be Eight millimetres (0.31 in) in 2010. It had doubled from 3.14 millimetres (0.124 in) recorded in 2000. The rising sea ranges had additionally submerged round 7,500 hectares (19,000 acres) of forest areas. This, coupled with an round 1.5 °C (2.7 °F) rise in floor water temperatures and elevated ranges of salinity have posed an issue for the survival of the indigenous natural world. The Sundari timber are exceptionally delicate to salinity and are being threatened with extinction.

Lack of the mangrove forest will outcome within the lack of the protecting organic defend in opposition to cyclones and tsunamis. This will likely put the encompassing coastal communities at excessive danger. Furthermore, the submergence of land mass have rendered as much as 6,000 households homeless and round 70,000 persons are instantly threatened with the identical.[46][self-published source?][47][self-published source?][48] That is inflicting the flight of human capital to the mainland, about 13% within the decade of 2000–2010.[49]

A 2015 ethnographic examine, performed by a workforce of researchers from Heiderberg college in Germany, discovered a disaster brewing within the Sunderbans. The examine contended that poor planning on the a part of the India and Bangladesh governments coupled with pure ecological modifications had been forcing the flight of human capital from the area[49][50]


Pure hazards[edit]

In response to a report created by UNESCO, the landfall of Cyclone Sidr broken round 40% of Sundarbans in 2007.[51]

Artificial hazards[edit]

In August 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Bangladesh Energy Improvement Board (BPDB) and India’s state-owned Nationwide Thermal Energy Company (NTPC) the place they designated to implement the coal-fired Rampal energy station by 2016.[52][53] The proposed undertaking, on an space of over 1,834 acres of land, is located 14 kilometres (8.7 mi) north of the Sundarbans.[54] This undertaking violates the environmental affect evaluation pointers for coal-based thermal energy crops.[55] Environmental activists contend that the proposed location of the Rampal Station would violate provisions of the Ramsar Conference.[56][57] The federal government of Bangladesh rejected the allegations that the coal-based energy plant would adversely have an effect on the world’s largest mangrove forest.[58]

On 9 December 2014 an oil-tanker named Southern Star VII,[59] carrying 358,000 litres (79,000 imp gal; 95,000 US gal) of furnace oil,[60][61] was sunk within the Sela river[62] of Sundarbans after it had been hit by a cargo vessel.[59][61] The oil unfold over 350 km2 (140 sq mi) space after the conflict, as of 17 December.[63] The slick unfold to a second river and a community of canals within the Sundarbans and blackened the shoreline.[64] The occasion was very threatening to timber, plankton, huge populations of small fishes and dolphins.[65] The occasion occurred at a protected Sundarbans mangrove space, dwelling to uncommon Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins.[66] Till 15 December 2014 solely 50,000 litres (11,000 imp gal; 13,000 US gal) of oil from the world had been cleaned up by native residents, Bangladesh Navy and the federal government of Bangladesh.[60][67] Some experiences indicated that the occasion killed some wildlife.[62] On 13 December 2014, a useless Irrawaddy dolphin was seen floating on the Harintana-Tembulbunia channel of the Sela River.[68]

Economic system[edit]

Logging boat within the Sundarbans

Ferry boat within the Sundarbans

The Sundarbans performs an vital function within the economic system of the southwestern area of Bangladesh in addition to within the nationwide economic system. It’s the single largest supply of forest produce within the nation. The forest offers uncooked supplies for wood-based industries. Along with conventional forest produce like timber, fuelwood, pulpwood and so forth., large-scale harvest of non-wood forest merchandise equivalent to thatching supplies, honey, beeswax, fish, crustacean and mollusc sources of the forest takes place commonly. The vegetated tidal lands of the Sundarbans perform as a vital habitat, produces vitamins and purifies water. The forest additionally traps nutrient and sediment, acts as a storm barrier, shore stabiliser and vitality storage unit. Final however not the least, the Sunderbans offers an aesthetic attraction for native and international vacationers. The water houseboat within the Sundarbans can be a current attraction among the many vacationers.

The forest has immense protecting and productive features. Constituting 51% of the overall reserved forest property of Bangladesh, it contributes about 41% of whole forest income and accounts for about 45% of all timber and gasoline wooden output of the nation.[69] Plenty of industries (e.g., newsprint mill, match manufacturing unit, hardboard, boat constructing, furnishings making) are primarily based on uncooked supplies obtained from the Sundarbans ecosystem. Non-timber forest merchandise and plantations assist generate appreciable employment and revenue alternatives for not less than half 1,000,000 poor coastal individuals. It offers pure safety to life and properties of the coastal inhabitants in cyclone-prone Bangladesh.


Throughout monsoon the paddy fields within the Sunderbans are solely flooded.

A part of the Sundarbans is shielded from tidal influx by leaves and there one finds villages and agriculture. Throughout the monsoon season, the low mendacity agricultural lands are waterlogged and the summer season crop (kharif crop) is subsequently primarily deepwater rice or floating rice. Within the dry winter season the land is generally uncropped and used for cattle grazing. Nevertheless, the lands close to the villages are irrigated from ponds that had been stuffed up throughout monsoon, and vegetable crops (Rabi crops) might be grown right here.[70]


The Sundarbans has a inhabitants of over Four million[71] however a lot of it’s principally freed from everlasting human habitation. Regardless of human habitations and a century of financial exploitation of the forest properly into the late 1940s, the Sundarbans retained a forest closure of about 70% in response to the Abroad Improvement Administration (ODA) of the UK in 1980.


The Sundarbans space is likely one of the most densely populated areas on the earth, and the inhabitants is growing.[citation needed] In consequence, half of this ecoregion’s mangrove forests have been lower down to provide fuelwood and different pure sources. Regardless of the extreme and large-scale exploitation, this nonetheless is likely one of the largest contiguous areas of mangroves on the earth. One other menace comes from deforestation and water diversion from the rivers inland, which causes much more silt to be dropped at the estuary, clogging up the waterways.

The Directorate of Forest is accountable for the administration and administration of Sundarban Nationwide Park in West Bengal. The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Wildlife & Bio-Variety & ex-officio Chief Wildlife Warden, West Bengal is the senior most govt officer trying over the administration of the park. The Chief Conservator of Forests (South) & Director, Sundarban Biosphere Reserve is the executive head of the park on the native degree and is assisted by a Deputy Discipline Director and an Assistant Discipline Director. The park space is split into two ranges, overseen by vary forest officers. Every vary is additional sub-divided into beats. The park additionally has floating watch stations and camps to guard the property from poachers.

The park receives monetary support from the State Authorities in addition to the Ministry of Setting and Forests below numerous Plan and Non-Plan Budgets. Further funding is acquired below the Venture Tiger from the Central Authorities. In 2001, a grant of US$20,000 was acquired as a preparatory help for promotion between India and Bangladesh from the World Heritage Fund.

A brand new Khulna Forest Circle was created in Bangladesh again in 1993 to protect the forest, and Chief Conservators of Forests have been posted since. The direct administrative head of the Division is the Divisional Forest Officer, primarily based at Khulna, who has a variety of skilled, subprofessional and assist employees and logistic helps for the implementation of essential administration and administrative actions. The essential unit of administration is the compartment. There are 55 compartments in 4 Forest Ranges and these are clearly demarcated primarily by pure options equivalent to rivers, canals and creeks.

Protected areas[edit]

A map of the protected areas of the Indian Sunderbans, displaying the boundaries of the tiger reserve, the nationwide park and the three wildlife sanctuaries, conservation and lodging centres, subsistence cities, and entry factors. Your complete forested (darkish inexperienced) space constitutes the Biosphere Reserve, with the remaining forests exterior the nationwide park and wildlife sanctuaries being given the standing of a reserve forest.

The Bangladesh a part of the forest lies below two forest divisions, and 4 administrative ranges viz Chandpai (Khulna District), Sarankhola (Khulna), and Burigoalini (Satkhira District) and has sixteen forest stations. It’s additional divided into fifty-five compartments and 9 blocks.[13] There are three wildlife sanctuaries established in 1977 below the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) Order, 1973 (P.O. 23 of 1973). The West Bengal a part of the forest lies below the district of South & North 24 Parganas.

Protected areas cowl 15% of the Sundarbans mangroves together with Sundarbans Nationwide Park and Sajnakhali Wildlife Sanctuary, in West Bengal, Sundarbans East, Sundarbans South and Sundarbans West Wildlife Sanctuaries in Bangladesh.[24]

In Could 2019, the native authorities in Bangladesh killed Four tiger poachers in a shootout within the Sunderbans mangrove space the place at present 114 tigers dwell.

Sundarban Nationwide Park[edit]

The Sundarban Nationwide Park is a Nationwide Park, Tiger Reserve, and a Biosphere Reserve in West Bengal, India. It’s a part of the Sundarbans on the Ganges Delta, and adjoining to the Sundarbans Reserve Forest in Bangladesh. The delta is densely coated by mangrove forests, and is likely one of the largest reserves for the Bengal tiger. It is usually dwelling to a wide range of fowl, reptile and invertebrate species, together with the salt-water crocodile. The current Sundarbans Nationwide Park was declared because the core space of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve in 1973 and a wildlife sanctuary in 1977. On Four Could 1984 it was declared a Nationwide Park.

Sundarbans West Wildlife Sanctuary[edit]

Sundarbans West Wildlife Sanctuary is a UNESCO World Heritage Website. The area helps mangroves, together with: sparse stands of Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha) and dense stands of Goran (Ceriops tagal), with discontinuous patches of Hantal palm (Phoenix paludosa) on drier floor, river banks and levees. The fauna of the sanctuary may be very various with some 40 species of mammals, 260 species of birds and 35 species of reptiles. The best of those being the Bengal tiger of which an estimated 350 stay within the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Different massive mammals are wild boar, chital horin (noticed deer), Indian otter and macaque monkey. 5 species of marine turtles frequent the coastal zone and two endangered reptiles are current – the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.[72]

Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuary[edit]

Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuary extends over an space of 31,227 hectares (77,160 acres). Sundari timber (Heritiera fomes) dominate the flora, interspersed with Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha) and Passur (Xylocarpus mekongensis) with Kankra (Bruguiera gymnorhiza) occurring in areas topic to extra frequent flooding. There’s an understory of Shingra (Cynometra ramiflora) the place, soils are drier and Amur (Aglaia cucullata) in wetter areas and Goran (Ceriops decandra) in additional saline locations. Nypa palm (Nypa fruticans) is widespread alongside drainage traces.

Sundarbans South Wildlife Sanctuary[edit]

Sundarbans South Wildlife Sanctuary extends over an space of 36,970 hectares (91,400 acres). There’s evidently the best seasonal variation in salinity ranges and probably represents an space of comparatively longer length of reasonable salinity the place Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha) is the dominant woody species. It’s typically combined with Sundri, which is ready to displace in circumstances equivalent to artificially opened canopies the place Sundri doesn’t regenerate as successfully. It is usually ceaselessly related to a dense understory of Goran (Ceriops tagal) and generally Passur.

Sajnakhali Wildlife Sanctuary[edit]

Sajnakhali Wildlife Sanctuary is a 362-square-kilometre (140 sq mi) space within the northern a part of the Sundarbans delta in South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, India. It’s primarily mangrove scrub, forest and swamp. It was arrange as a sanctuary in 1976. It’s dwelling to a wealthy inhabitants of various species of wildlife, equivalent to water fowl, heron, pelican, noticed deer, rhesus macaques, wild boar, tigers, water monitor lizards, fishing cats, otters, olive ridley turtles, crocodiles, batagur terrapins, and migratory birds.

In in style tradition[edit]

Idol of Manasa, the deity of snakes

The Sundarbans is widely known by quite a few Bengali folks songs and dances, typically centred across the folks heroes, gods and goddesses particular to the Sunderbans (like Bonbibi and Dakshin Rai) and to the Decrease Gangetic Delta (like Manasa and Chand Sadagar). The Bengali folks epic Manasamangal mentions Netidhopani and has some passages set within the Sundarbans in the course of the heroine Behula’s quest to convey her husband Lakhindar again to life.

The realm offers the setting for a number of novels by Emilio Salgari, (e.g. The Thriller of the Black Jungle). Sundarbaney Arjan Sardar, a novel by Shibshankar Mitra, and Padma Nadir Majhi, a novel by Manik Bandopadhyay, are primarily based on the pains of lives of villagers and fishermen residing within the Sunderbans area, and are woven into the Bengali psyche to an important extent. A part of the plot of Salman Rushdie’s Booker Prize profitable novel, Midnight’s Kids is about within the Sundarbans. This forest is adopted because the setting of Kunal Basu’s brief story “The Japanese Spouse” and the next movie adaptation. Many of the plot of an internationally acclaimed novelist, Amitav Ghosh’s 2004 novel, The Hungry Tide, is about within the Sundarbans. The plot centres on a headstrong American cetologist who arrives to review a uncommon species of river dolphin, enlisting an area fisherman and translator to help her. The e book additionally mentions two accounts of the Bonbibi story of “Dukhey’s Redemption”.[73] Manik Bandopadhyay’s Padma Nadir Majhi was made right into a film by Goutam Ghose.

The Sunderbans has been the topic of an in depth and well-researched scholarly work on Bonbibi (a ‘forest goddess’ honored by Hindus), on the relation between the islanders and tigers and on conservation and the way it’s perceived by the inhabitants of the Sundarbans,[74] in addition to quite a few non-fiction books, together with The Man-Consuming Tigers of Sundarbans by Sy Montegomery for a younger viewers, which was shortlisted for the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Kids’s E book Award. In Up The Nation, Emily Eden discusses her travels by the Sunderbans.[75] Quite a few documentary films have been made concerning the Sunderbans, together with the 2003 IMAX manufacturing Shining Brilliant concerning the Bengal tiger. The acclaimed BBC TV sequence Ganges paperwork the lives of villagers, particularly honey collectors, within the Sundarbans.

See additionally[edit]


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