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Potential CO2 Emission Due to Loss of Above Ground Biomass from the Indian Sundarban Mangroves During the Last Four Decades

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Sundarban, the largest single patch of mangrove forest of the world is shared by Bangladesh (~ 60 %) and India (~ 40 %). Loss of mangrove biomass and subsequent potential emission of carbon dioxide is reported from different parts of the world. We estimated the loss of above ground mangrove biomass and subsequent potential emission of carbon dioxide in the Indian part of the Sundarban during the last four decades. The loss of mangrove area has been estimated with the help of remotely sensed data and potential emission of carbon dioxide has been evaluated with the help of published above ground biomass data of Indian Sundarban. Total loss of mangrove area was found to be 107 km2 between the year 1975 and 2013. Amongst the total loss ~60 % was washed away in the water by erosion, ~ 23 % was converted into barren lands and the rest were anthropogenically transformed into other landforms. The potential carbon dioxide emission due to the degradation of above ground biomass was estimated to be 1567.98 ± 551.69 Gg during this period, which may account to 64.29 million $ in terms of the social cost of carbon. About three-forth of the total mangrove loss was found in the peripheral islands which are much more prone to erosion. Climate induced changes and anthropogenic land use change could be the major driving force behind this loss of ‘blue carbon’.

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Authors are grateful to the funding agency of this work i.e. National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Department of Space, Government of India. Abhra Chanda is indebted to Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, for providing INSPIRE Fellowship.

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Correspondence to Anirban Akhand.

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Akhand, A., Mukhopadhyay, A., Chanda, A. et al. Potential CO2 Emission Due to Loss of Above Ground Biomass from the Indian Sundarban Mangroves During the Last Four Decades. J Indian Soc Remote Sens 45, 147–154 (2017).

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