Sunderbans is the largest mangrove ecosystem in the world, covering an area of about one million hectares of which 60% is located in Bangladesh and remaining part in India.
Why the name- Sunderbans?
It derived its name from the Sundari trees (Heritiera fomes) that once abundantly populated Sunderbans.
What type of Climate does Sunderbans have?
The Sunderbans region has a warm and humid climate. The average maximum and minimum temperature of this region is 400 and 180 respectively, with an average rainfall of 1600 mm to 1800 mm through South-west Monsoon in the month of June to October.
Occasionally during May and Oct violent cyclonic storms accompanied with high sea waves and tides devastate the coastal Sunderbans.
What type of Soil does Sunderbans have?
It contains different types of soils such as silty clay loam, sandy clay and loams, swampy and marshy soil. The soil is oxygen deficient and nitrogen content is also low. Soil pH is more or less acidic ranging between 5.4 to 7.8.
What type of Vegetation grow in Sunderbans?
Mangroves are flowering plants comprising of at least three types of floral components:
1- True Mangroves– They are salt tolerant halophytic plants growing on tidal swamps.They thrive in high salinity, daily submergence, & fine clayey oxygen deficient soil.To adapt to the situation they have stilt roots.They possess pnematophores to access atmospheric oxygen.
2- Back Mangroves- They are bushy and discontinuous type of vegetation.These plants are not found in the inter-tidal zones colonized by true mangrove plants.
3- Mangrove Associates– are not true mangroves plants. They are common mesophytic plants occurring near the human habitation.These plants can grow in nutrient deficient soil but cannot withstand environmental conditions as encountered by the true mangroves.
What are the threats to Mangroves?
1- Man made activities such as indiscriminate exploitation of mangrove forest produce, mainly for timber and firewood is causing a massive loss of biodiversity.
2- Enhanced coastal erosion due to natural processes is a threat to the biodiversity.
3- Diminished soil fertility is also become a threat in recent times.
4- Dumping of superfluous pollutants and green house gases has affected the mangrove system adversely
5- Oil spills are also a potent threat that causes immense damage to aquatic fauna and mangrove vegetation.
What are the advantages of Mangroves?
1- Mangroves act as natural sewage treatment plants that absorb pollutants both from air and water.
2- Mangroves possess high % of tannin’s in their bark and leaves that can neutralize some of the industrial pollutants.
3- Mangroves are important Carbon di Oxide sink.