Advertisement

The Sundarbans: A Flight into the Wilderness

  • H. S. SenEmail author
  • Dipankar Ghorai
Chapter
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 30)

Abstract

The Sundarbans is an agglomeration of about 200 islands, separated by some 400 interconnected tidal rivers, creeks and canals spanning across two neighbouring countries of India and Bangladesh. It is the habitat of world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest and abode for the enigmatic Royal Bengal Tiger. The area, over time, has been continuously truncated in size and at present it is approximately three-fifths the size of what existed 200 years ago (about 16,700 km2), the rest having been cleared and converted for agriculture and allied activities. Of the present expanse of 10,217 km2, 4262 km2 (41.7%) is in India. About half of the area in India (2320 km2) is land mass. The rest 5955 km2 (58.3%) is in Bangladesh. The eco-region has huge ecological significance in terms of the deluge of ecological services and functions for human welfare. But unbridled and naive anthropogenic avarice is taking a heavy toll of Sundarbans’ resources in both the countries ripping people of the region off their precious livelihoods. There is a need for concerted efforts by all players transcending the international border for its ecological sustenance. A succinct overview of Sundarbans comprising of its structure, its historical progression, its ecological and economic value, its challenges and livelihood of people in it is chronicled in this introductory piece for the book.

Keywords

Sundarbans Livelihood Community based tourism Challenges Recurvature of storm Ecological value 

References

  1. Alam M, Furukawa Y, Akter S (2009) Forest-based tourism in Bangladesh: status, problems and prospects. Tourismos Int Multidiscip J Tour 5(1):163–172Google Scholar
  2. Alam MF, Basha MA (1995) Structure of cost and profitability of small scale riverine fishing in Bangladesh. J Res Prog 9:235–241Google Scholar
  3. Alauddin M, Shah MGF, Ullah H (2014) Tourism in Bangladesh: a prospects analysis. Inform Knowl Manag 4(5):67–73Google Scholar
  4. Alongi DM (2002) Present state and future of the world's mangrove forests. Environ Conserv 29(3):331–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Anon (1993) Farakka causes annual loss of 675 min USD to Bangladesh. 20 September, Item No: 0920052, The Xinhua General Overseas News Service, DhakaGoogle Scholar
  6. Azad AK, Jensen KR, Lin CW (2009) Coastal aquaculture development in Bangladesh: unsustainable and sustainable experiences. Environ Manag 44:800–809.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-009-9356-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Azad MS, Matin MA (2012) Climate change and change in species composition in the Sundarbans mangrove forest, Bangladesh. In: Dahdouh-Guebas F, Satyanarayana B (eds) Proceedings of the international conference meeting on mangrove ecology, functioning and management – MMM3, held at Galle, Sri Lanka, 2–6 July 2012, VLIZ Special Publication 57, xxxix + 192 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. Badola R, Hussain SA (2005) Valuing ecosystem functions: an empirical study on the storm protection function of Bhitarkanika mangrove ecosystem, India. Environ Conserv 32(1):85–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baldwin AH, Egnotovich M, Ford M et al (2001) Regeneration in fringe mangrove forests damaged by Hurricane Andrew. Plant Ecol 157:151–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barbier EB (2001) The protective service of mangrove ecosystems: a review of valuation methods. Mar Pollut Bull.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.01.033 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Be TT, Dung LC, Brennan D (1999) Environmental costs of shrimp culture in the rice-growing regions of the Mekong Delta. Aquac Econ Manag 3(1):31–42Google Scholar
  12. Bernier F (1914) Travels in the Moghul empire, 1656–1668. Oxford University Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Boithias L, Terrado M, Corominas L et al (2016) Analysis of the uncertainty in the monetary valuation of ecosystem services—a case study at the river basin scale. Sci Total Environ 543(A):683–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bundell K, Maybin E (1996) After the prawn rush: the human and environmental costs of commercial prawn farming. Christian Aid report, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Cahoon DR, Hensel PF, Spencer T et al (2006) Coastal wetland vulnerability to relative sea-level rise: wetland elevation trends and process controls. In: Verhoeven JTA, Beltman B, Bobbink R et al (eds) Wetlands and natural resource management, Ecological studies, vol 190. Springer, Berlin, pp 271–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cebrian J, Foster CD, Plutchak R et al (2008) The impact of Hurricane Ivan on the primary productivity and metabolism of marsh tidal creeks in the North Central Gulf of Mexico. Aquat Ecol 42:391–404CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Chatterjee TK (2011) Coastal Fishes of Indian Sundarbans. World Wildlife Fund, Chapter 15Google Scholar
  18. Chowdhury MTA, Ashrafi SA (2008) Environmental factors determining forest resources used in livelihood of the peripheral villages of Sundarban. Journal of Innovative Development Strategy 2(2):38–46Google Scholar
  19. Costanza R (1997) The value of world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387:253–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Costanza R, de Groot R, Farber S et al (1998) The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Ecol Econ 25(1):3–15.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(98)00020-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Craighead FC Jr, Gilbert VC (1962) The effects of Hurricane Donna on the vegetation of southern Florida. Q J Florida Acad Sci 25:1–28Google Scholar
  22. Danda AA (2007) Surviving in the Sundarbans: threats and responses. An analytical description of life in an Indian Riparian Commons. PhD dissertation, University of Twente, Enschede, NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  23. de Groot RS (1987) Environmental functions as a unifying concept for ecology and economics. Environ Summer 7:105–109Google Scholar
  24. de Groot RS, Wilson MA, Boumans RMJ (2002) A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services. Ecol Econ 41:393–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Deb AK (1998) Fake blue revolution: environmental and socioeconomic impacts of shrimp culture in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. Ocean Coast Manag 41:63–88CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Doyle TW (1997) Modeling hurricane effect on mangrove ecosystem. Bull USGS FS-095-097Google Scholar
  27. Doyle TW, Smith TJ, Robblee MB (1995) Wind damage effects of Hurricane Andrew on mangrove communities along the southwest coast of Florida, USA. J Coast Res Spec Issue 21:159–168Google Scholar
  28. Ehrlich PR, Mooney HA (1983) Extinction, substitution, and ecosystem services. Bioscience 33:248–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. El Serafy S (1998) Pricing the invaluable: the value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Ecol Econ 25(1):25–27.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(98)00009-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ellison JC (1998) Impacts of sediment burial on mangroves. Mar Pollut Bull 37:420–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Getzner M, Islam MS (2013) Natural resources, livelihoods, and reserve management: a case study from Sundarbans mangrove forests, Bangladesh. Int J Sustain Dev Plan 8(1):75–87.  https://doi.org/10.2495/SDP-V8-N1-75-87 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ghorai D, Sen HS (2015) Role of climate change in increasing occurrences oceanic hazards as a potential threat to coastal ecology. Nat Hazards 75(2):1223–1245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ghosh A, Schmidt S, Fickert T et al (2015) The Indian Sundarban mangrove forests: history, utilization, conservation strategies and local perception. Diversity 7:149–169.  https://doi.org/10.3390/d7020149 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gilman EL, Ellison J, Duke NC et al (2008) Threats to mangroves from climate change and adaptation options: a review. Aquat Bot 89:237–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Giri C, Ochieng E, Tieszen EE et al (2011) Status and distribution of mangrove forests of the world using earth observation satellite data. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 20:154–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Government of West Bengal (2005) District human development reports. Kolkata, Development and Planning Department. http://wbplan.gov.in/HumanDev/DHDR.htm
  37. Guha I, Ghosh S (2007) Does tourism contribute to local livelihoods? A case study of tourism, poverty and conservation in the Indian Sundarbans. SANDEE working paper no. 26–07, pp 1–54Google Scholar
  38. Hamel P, Bryant BP (2015) Uncertainty assessment in ecosystem services analyses: common challenges and practical responses. Glob Environ Chang 24:1–33Google Scholar
  39. Hannan A (1980) Impact of reduced low flow of the Ganges. Paper presented at the seminar on impact of low flow of major rivers of Bangladesh, organized by the Department of Water Resources Engineering, Bangladesh, University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka, 23 August, 23 ppGoogle Scholar
  40. Haq SA (2010) Impact of climate change on “Sundarbans”, the largest mangrove forest: ways forward. Paper presented at the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference during 28 June–02 July, 2010 at Edinburgh International Conference Center, ScotlandGoogle Scholar
  41. Hasan R, Naser MN (2016) Fishermen livelihood and fishery resources of the Sundarbans reserved forest along the Mongla port area Bangladesh. Int J Fish Aquat Stud 4(3):468–475Google Scholar
  42. Hossain MZ, Islam MT, Sakai T et al (2008) Impact of tropical cyclone on rural infrastructures in Bangladesh. Agric Eng Int 10(2):1–13Google Scholar
  43. Hussain KZ, Acharya G (eds) (1994) Mangroves of the Sundarbans, vol II: Bangladesh. IUCN, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  44. Hussain SA, Badola R (2010) Valuing mangrove benefits: contribution of mangrove forests to local livelihoods in Bhitarkanika conservation area, east coast of India. Wetland Ecol Manag 18:321–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Inskip C, Ridout M, Fahad Z et al (2013) Human–Tiger conflict in context: risks to lives and livelihoods in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. Hum Ecol 41(2):169–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. IPCC (2012) Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. In: Field CB, Barros V, Stocker TF et al (eds) A special report of working groups I and II of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 1–582Google Scholar
  47. Islam MW, Rahman MM, Iftekar MS et al (2013) Can community based tourism facilitate conservation of the Bangladesh Sundarbans? J Ecotour 12(2):119–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Islam M, Braden JB (2006) Bio-economic development of floodplains: farming versus fishing in Bangladesh. Environ Dev Econ 11:95–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Islam MS, Haque M (2004) The mangrove-based coastal and nearshore fisheries of Bangladesh: ecology, exploitation and management. Rev Fish Biol Fish 14(2):153–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Kamp K, Brand E (1994) Greater options for local development through aquaculture (GOLDA). CARE GOLDA Project, CARE Bangladesh, Dhaka – 1209Google Scholar
  51. Kathiresan K (2008) Threats to mangroves. Degradation and destruction of mangroves, Centre of advanced study in marine biology. Annamalai University, India, pp 476–483Google Scholar
  52. Kathiresan K, Bingham BL (2001) Biology of mangroves and mangrove ecosystems. Adv Mar Biol 40:81–251.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2881(01)40003-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Kauffman J, Cole TG (2010) Micronesian mangrove forest structure and tree responses to a severe typhoon. Wetlands 30:1077–1084CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kendrick A (1994) The gher revolution: the social impacts of technological change in freshwater prawn cultivation in southern Bangladesh. Bangladesh Aquaculture and Fisheries Resource Unit (BAFRU), Dhaka – 1212Google Scholar
  55. Khan AH (1993) Farakka Barrage: its impact on Bangladesh—an overview. Dhaka, 13 ppGoogle Scholar
  56. Khan RS (1992) Cyclone hazard in Bangladesh. Community Development library, Dhaka. National States Geographic Information Council, 2006, pp 86–102. http://www.nsgic.org/about/index.cfm. Retrieved 20 Oct 2009
  57. Lin CK (1989) Prawn culture in Taiwan: what went wrong? World Aquacult 20:19–20Google Scholar
  58. Mazda Y, Magi M, Kogo M et al (1997) Mangrove on coastal protection from waves in the Tong King Delta, Vietnam. Mangrove Salt Marshes 1:127–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mazilu ME, Marinescu R (2008) Sustainable tourism in protected areas – case study of the iron gates Natural Park, Rural Futures Conference, organized by University of Plymouth and School of Geography, 2–4 April, Plymouth, Great Britain, pp 1–7Google Scholar
  60. Mirza MM (1998) Diversion of the Ganges water at Farakka and its effects on salinity in Bangladesh. Environ Manag 22(5):711e722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Mitchener WK, Blood ER, Bildstein KL et al (1997) Climate change, hurricanes and tropical storms and rising sea level in coastal wetlands. Ecol Appl 7(3):770–801CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Mukul S, Uddin MB, Rashid AZM et al (2010) Integrating livelihoods and conservation in protected areas: understanding the role and stakeholder views on prospects for non-timber forest products, Bangladesh case study. Int J Sustain Dev World Ecol 17:180–188.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13504500903549676 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Murty TS, El-Sabh MI (1992) Mitigating the effects of storm surges generated by tropical cyclones: a proposal. Nat Hazards 6(3):251–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Nguyen TKC, Suzuki T, Erik D et al (2013) Modeling the impacts of mangrove vegetation structure on wave dissipation in Ben Tre Province, Vietnam, under different climate change scenarios. J Coast Res 31(2):340–347.  https://doi.org/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00271.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Odum HT (1971) Environment, power and society. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  66. Opschoor JB (1998) The value of ecosystem services: whose values? Ecol Econ 25(1):41–43.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(98)00013-5 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Prasetya GS (2006) The role of coastal forest and trees in protecting against coastal erosion. In: Braatz S, Fortuna S, Broadhead J et al (eds) Coastal protection in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami: what role for forests and trees? UN FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, pp 103–80. http://www.fao.org/forestry/media/13191/1/0/
  68. Primavera JH (1998) Tropical shrimp farming and its sustainability. In: De Silva SS (ed) Tropical mariculture. Academic, London, pp 257–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Rahman MM, Giedraitis VR, Liberman LS et al (2013) Shrimp cultivation with water salinity in Bangladesh: the implications of an ecological model. Univ J Public Health 1(3):131–142.  https://doi.org/10.13189/ujph.2013.010313 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Risi JA, Wanless HR, Tedesco LP et al (1995) Catastrophic sedimentation from Hurricane Andrew along the Southwest Florida coast. J Coast Res Spec Issue 21:83–102Google Scholar
  71. Rog S, Cook C, Clarke RH (2016) More than marine: revealing the critical importance of mangrove ecosystems for terrestrial vertebrates. Divers Distrib 23:221–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Rosenberry B (1993) Shrimp farmers ravage the environment and people in Bangladesh. World Shrimp Farm 18(5):8–9Google Scholar
  73. Roy S (2011) Forestry sector livelihood support strategy and action plan. World Bank Non-Lending Technical Assistance for West Bengal Sundarbans: climate change adaptation, Biodiversity Conservation, and Socioeconomic Sustainable DevelopmentGoogle Scholar
  74. Sánchez-Triana E, Paul T, Leonard O et al (eds) (2014) Building resilience for sustainable development of the Sundarbans. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, The World Bank, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  75. Sathirathai S, Barbier EB (2001) Valuing mangrove conservation in Southern Thailand. Contemp Econ Policy 19:109–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sen HS, Ghorai D (2017) Coastal ecosystems: risk factors for development and threats due to climate change. In: Gupta SK, Goyal MR (eds) Soil salinity management in agriculture: technological advances and applications. Apple Academic Press, Oakville, pp 63–96Google Scholar
  77. Sen HS, Oosterbaan (1992) Research on water management and control in the Sunderbans, West Bengal, India. In: Annual Report 1992 of the International Institute for Land Reclamation and Improvement, Wageningen, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  78. Seneviratne SI, Nicholls N, Easterling D et al (2012) Changes in climate extremes and their impacts on the natural physical environment. In: Field CB, Barros V, Stocker TF (eds) Managing the risks of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation. A special report of working groups I and II of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 109–230Google Scholar
  79. Shahid MA, Islam J (2003) Impact of denudation of mangrove forest due to shrimp farming on the coastal environment in Bangladesh. In: Wahab MA (ed) Technical proceedings of BAU-NURAD workshop on environment and socio-economic impacts of shrimp farming in Bangladesh. BRAC Centre, Dhaka. Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensing, pp 67–75, 5 March, 2002Google Scholar
  80. Shams Uddin Md (2011) Economic valuation of Sundarbans mangrove ecosystem services- a case study in Bangladesh. M.Sc. thesis ES 11.17, EUNESCO-IHE, Institute of Water EducationGoogle Scholar
  81. Sherman RE, Fahey TJ (2001) Hurricane impacts on a mangrove forest in the Dominican Republic: damage patterns and early recovery. Biotropica 33(3):393–408.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-7429.2001.tb00194.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Singh A, Bhattacharya P, Vyas P et al (2010) Contribution of NTFPs in the livelihood of mangrove forest dwellers of Sundarbans. J Hum Ecol 29(3):191–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Smith TJ, Robblee MB, Wanless HR et al (1994) Mangroves, hurricanes, and lightning strikes. Bioscience 44:256–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Smith TJ, Andersen GH, Balentine K et al (2009) Cumulative impacts of hurricanes on Florida mangrove ecosystems: sediment deposition, storm surges and vegetation. Wetlands 29:24–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Sukardjo S, Alongi DM, Kusmana C (2013) Rapid litter production and accumulation in Bornean mangrove forests. Ecosphere 4(7).  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-015-9478-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Takle ES, Chen TC, Wu X (2006) Protective functions of coastal forests and trees against wind and salt spray. In: Proceedings coastal protection in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami: what role for forests and trees? FAO, Khao Lak, 2007, pp 65–81Google Scholar
  87. Thilsted SH, Roos N, Hasan N (1997) The role of small indigenous fish species in food and nutrition security in Bangladesh. NAGA, the ICLARM Quarterly (July–December) 20:82–84Google Scholar
  88. Valiela I, Bowen JL, York JK (2001) Mangrove forests: one of the world’s threatened major tropical environments. Bioscience 51(10):807–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Verma M, Negandhi D, Khanna C et al (2017) Making the hidden visible: economic valuation of tiger reserves in India. Ecosyst Serv 26:236–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Vermaat J, Thampanya U (2006) Mangroves mitigate tsunami damage: a further response. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 69:1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Viswanathan PK, Pathak Kinjal D, Mehta I (2011) Socio-economic and ecological benefits of mangrove plantation: a study of community based mangrove restoration activities in Gujarat. Gujarat ecology commission (GEC). Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar, p 164 Available at www.gec.gov.in/pdf/GIDR%2520Report.pdf Google Scholar
  92. Westman WE (1977) How much are nature’s services worth? Science 197:960–964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Wolanski E (2007) Protective functions of coastal forests and trees against natural hazards. In: Coastal protection in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami: what role for forests and trees? Proceedings of FAO Regional Technical Workshop, Khao Lak, 28e31 August 2006. FAO, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  94. Woodroffe CD, Grime D (1999) Storm impact and evolution of a mangrove-fringed chenier plain, Shoal Bay, Darwin, Australia. Mar Geol 159:303–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibers (Formerly)BarrackporeIndia
  2. 2.Krishi Vigyan KendraICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied FibresBurdwanIndia

Personalised recommendations