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Mangrove forest Sundarbans

 

The Sundarbans – the largest continuous block of mangrove forest in the world
Hiron-Point-Sundarban

The Sundarbans – the largest continuous block of mangrove forest in the world – covers an area of 5770 sq. km of land and water. It is a part of the world’s largest delta, which has been formed from sediments deposited by the great rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra that converge on the Bengal basin. The western part of the forest lies in India and the rest (about 60%) in Bangladesh. About one third of the total area of this forest is covered by river channels and tidal creeks, varying in width from just a few meters to 5 kilometers in some places! All parts of the Sundarbans forest are subject to tidal inundation during spring tides. The Bangladesh part of the forest is dominated by a high mangrove forest cover. The climate is mainly tropical maritime with lots of rain, most of which falls during the monsoon. The monsoon season (May – October) is hot and humid, while winter (October – February) is mild and dry. During January temperatures can fall as low as 4°C.
The entire National Park area is covered by mangrove forest. There are small patches of brackish marshes on emerging islands and riverbanks, and sandy areas with grass and low shrubs on some of the outer islands. The two dominant mangroves are Sundori (Heritiera fomes) and Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha).

Sundarbans is home to many different species of birds, mammals, insects, reptiles and fishes. Over 120 species of fish and over 270 species of birds have been recorded in the Sundarbans. The Gangetic River Dolphin (Platanista gangeticus) is common in the rivers. No less than 50 species of reptiles and eight species of amphibians are known to occur. The Sundarbans now support the only population of the Estuarine, or Salt-Water Crocodile (Crocodylus parasus) in Bangladesh, and that population is estimated at less than two hundred individuals.

About 32 species of mammal are still found in this forest. Among these are Rhesus Macaques, Clawless Otters, Leopard Cats, Fishing Cats and Spotted Deer. The entire Sundarbans Forest comprises the largest remaining tract of habitat for the Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris).

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