Mapping tidal channel dynamics in the Sundarbans, Bangladesh, between 1974 and 2017, and implications for the sustainability of the Sundarbans mangrove forest

  • Manoj Kumer GhoshEmail author
  • Lalit Kumar
  • Philip Kibet Langat


This study presents the spatial and temporal dynamics of tidal channels in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Parts of the Passur River system were considered for this investigation. Tidal channel bank layers were extracted from aerial photographs from 1974 and 2011 and a Sentinel-2 image from 2017. On-screen digitizing of a tidal channel was undertaken to create the tidal channel layers, and special care was taken during digitization to obtain more accurate results. Layers were overlaid together so that the tidal channel position could be seen for each date. Tidal channel positions were highlighted to infer the erosion/accretion sectors along the channel, and the tidal channel dynamics were calculated. Remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) platforms were used to analyse, interpret and visualize data on accretion and erosion, as well as the locations of the tidal channel bank over different years. The results revealed that erosion was severe in the larger channels, whereas accretion was dominant in the smaller channels. These erosion and accretion processes played an active role in the displacement of tidal channel banks during the period under investigation. Displacement of the tidal channel bank has had a profound impact on the Sundarbans mangrove ecosystem, and continued erosion and accretion processes are of concern for the future sustainability of biodiversity in the Sundarbans. While in the short term, these changes may not have much impact; over decades, the dynamics of tidal channels may significantly contribute to the imbalance of fauna and flora in the Sundarbans.


Passur River system Erosion and accretion GIS On-screen digitizing Aerial photographs 



We acknowledge the Survey of Bangladesh (SOB) for the provision of aerial photographs used in this study.

Author contributions

M.K.G., L.K. and P.K.L. conceived and designed the experiments; M.K.G. performed the experiments and analysed the data. M.K.G. wrote the paper, with support from L.K and P.K.L.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manoj Kumer Ghosh
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lalit Kumar
    • 1
  • Philip Kibet Langat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecosystem Management, School of Environmental and Rural ScienceUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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