Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sundarban: Beauty with the Beast.

Sundarbans is one of the 3 (three) single tracts of natural mangrove forest in the world. It lies in the southern part of Bangladesh and in the delta on the Bay of Bengal. In 1997 it is inscribed as world heritage by UNESCO. Sundarbans originally measured 16,700 sqkm (in 18th century).

Nypa fruticans, Sundarban
Now it dwindled into one third of its size. At present its estimated area is 4,143 sqkm in/c 42 sqkm of exposed sandbars and 1,700 sqkm water surface of river,canal and creeks. All the river, canal and creeks intersect sundarbans in such a manner that the water communication makes it easier, affordable and charming to move throughout Bengal region by both steamers and native boats.

Natural Beauty, Sundarban
Sundarbans is not the property of Bangladesh alone. Its 81% (estimated) owns Bangladesh and the rest is India’s. It is not clear today how the forest named as Sundarbans. May be due to its Beautifulness (Sundar), may be due to Sundari Tree (Heritiera littoralis), may be from Samudra Ban or may be from Chandra Bandh; what it may be, Sundarbans is our pride. It provides a unique ecosystem and a rich wildlife habitat. 

Royal Bengal Tiger
It is renowned for Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris). There are 270 tigers lived here according to 2011 tiger census with numerous fauna in/c species of birds, deer, snakes, crocodiles etc. It also supports diverse biological resources including at least 150 species of commercially important fishes, 270 species of birds, 42 species of mammals, 35 reptiles and 8 amphibian species. 

Biotic factor plays an important role in the physical coastal evolution. Actually, the physical development process influenced by the magnitude of some factors viz.- wave motions, micro and macro-tidal cycles, long shore currents etc. And the shore current varies with the climatic condition-with the monsoon. Erosion and accretion through these forces maintains varying levels. However,the mangrove vegetation provides a remarkable stability to the entire system.

Royal Bengal Tiger, Sundarban
Sundarbans is the meeting places of salt water (of the Bay of Bengal)and freshwater (freshwater of the rivers originating from the Ganges).Besides the forest, there are extensive areas of brackish and freshwater marshes, intertidal mud-flats, sand-flats, sand dunes with typical dune vegetation, open grassland on sandy soils and raised areas supporting a variety of terrestrial shrubs and trees. It is the region of numerous plant and species. 

Deer , Sundarban
In 1903, David Prain listed 245 genera and 334 plant species. Sundari and Gewas are throughout the tracts with a discontinuous distribution of Dhundul (Xylocarpus granatum) and Kankra with well distributed grasses and Palms-Poresia coaractata, Myriostachya wightiana, Imperata cylindrica,Phragmites karka, Xylocarpus mekongensis/ granatum, Sonneratia apetala, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Cereops decandra, Aegiceras corniculatum, Rhizophora mucronata, Nypa fruticans palms etc. 

Systematic management of this forest started in the end of 18th century, when a Forest Department established in the Province of Bengal, in British India. The GL of Sundarbans' varies from 0.9 m to 2.11 m above sea level. The freshwater swamp forests lies between the upland and Lower Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests with the brackish-water mangroves, bordering the Bay of Bengal. This swamp forests is the tropical moist broadleaf forest eco-region of Bangladesh. It represents the brackish swamp forests that lie behind the Mangroves, where the salinity is more pronounced.

Crocodile, Sundarban
The Sundarbans plays an important role in our national economy. It is the single largest source of forest product in the country. It provides the raw materials for wood based industries. In addition, honey, bees-wax, fish etc as non wood forest products. 

The forest is also a trap for nutrient and sediment that comes with the river steam. It acts as a storm barrier and shore stabilizer. Last but not the least, Sunderbans provides a wonderful attraction through its natural beauties for local and foreign tourists.

2011 declared as the year of Forest. So we need to support Sudarbans. It’s a big Natural carbon Bank, a big Natural Botanical Garden and; a big Natural Zoo. Forget all,-as we need to take Breath, so we need to take care of Forest.

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