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Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve: Where Nature’s Majesty Meets Conservation Excellence

by In-house Editor


Nestled in the delta of the mighty Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers, the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve stands as a unique and awe-inspiring natural wonder. Spanning the border between India and Bangladesh, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sanctuary for an incredible variety of flora and fauna, as well as a global symbol of successful conservation efforts. In this article, we delve into the magnificence and significance of the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve.

Area Covered:The Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve covers approximately 10,000 square kilometers. It accounts for about 60% of the total area of the Sundarbans mangrove forest, which spans both India and Bangladesh.

Mangrove Forest: The biosphere reserve is primarily composed of mangrove forests, which make up nearly 95% of the total forest cover. The Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world.

Biodiversity: The Sundarbans is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, with about 33% of the world’s Bengal tiger population residing here. It houses over 260 bird species, approximately 50 species of reptiles, and numerous fish and invertebrate species.

Human Population: The human population in the Indian part of the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve constitutes around 4.5% of the total population of the Indian state of West Bengal. The region has witnessed significant human-wildlife conflict, particularly involving tigers.

Economic Activities: Around 70% of the local population is engaged in various economic activities related to fishing, agriculture, and honey collection. Eco-tourism is on the rise, contributing to the livelihoods of local communities.

Conservation Areas: Nearly 40% of the Sundarbans is designated as protected areas or wildlife sanctuaries. The biosphere reserve comprises core, buffer, and transition zones, each with its specific conservation regulations.

Threats and Challenges: About 50% of the Sundarbans mangrove forest in Bangladesh has been lost over the past few decades, primarily due to human activities and climate change.

Rising sea levels and increased salinity in water bodies pose significant challenges to the ecosystem.

Tourism Growth: Tourism in the Sundarbans has been growing at a rate of approximately 10-12% per year, contributing to the local economy. Responsible tourism practices are being encouraged to minimize environmental impact.

Biodiversity Conservation Efforts: Conservation organizations are working on protecting and increasing the population of the Bengal tiger, which has seen a rise of around 20% in recent years. Various initiatives aim to safeguard the biodiversity of the region.

Climate Change Impact: The Sundarbans is particularly vulnerable to climate change, with rising sea levels affecting approximately 70% of the area. The region is experiencing temperature increases and altered precipitation patterns.

The Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve is a critical ecological zone with its unique challenges and opportunities. Efforts are ongoing to balance conservation with sustainable livelihoods and to address the threats posed by climate change and human activities.

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