Sundarbans a Dynamic Ecosystem: An Overview of Opportunities, Threats and Tasks

  • Shafi Noor IslamEmail author
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 30)


The Sundarbans, spreading over 10,000 km2 area, is one of the largest productive deltas in the world, and is located in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna river basin over parts of Bangladesh and India. The coastal mangrove wetland is playing a potential role in balancing the ecology, community socio-economy, and livelihoods of the community. It is a hotspot of mangrove biodiversity with 373 faunal and 324 floral species. The ecosystem is dynamic, fragile and complex owing to several climate-, soil-, and water- related stress factors. Climate change and several anthropogenic interventions have transformed the natural landscape with significant changes in the social matrix. The salinity intrusion of water is the most sensitive and serious threat for mangrove ecosystem in the coastal region, more in Bangladesh. Since the diversion of Ganges freshwater at Farakka Barrage in India since early 1975, salinity levels have increased drastically in the coastal region in Bangladesh. The reduction of Ganges flow has made disastrous effects on agriculture, fisheries, hydro-morphology, drinking water and mangrove coastal ecosystem. All these factors, individually and collectively, pose serious threats to livelihood and food security for the coastal community in Sundarbans, and what’s more, to the ecological balance. E-flow assessment methodologies are discussed in this chapter with reference to attempts made in Bangladesh. It is believed that the present coastal mangrove wetland ecosystem conservation and planning policy is inadequate. In this backdrop, the article suggests in this introductory chapter thrust on future policies for better management, monitoring and conservation of the Sundarbans in a transboundary mode towards improved livelihood.


Sundarbans mangrove Wetland Ecosystem Biodiversity Salinity intrusion Agricultural crop production Food security Management and conservation 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)Universiti Brunei DarussalamBandar Seri BegawanBrunei Darussalam

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