Assessing Influence of Erosion and Accretion on Landscape Diversity in Sundarban Biosphere Reserve, Lower Ganga Basin: A Geospatial Approach

  • Mehebub Sahana
  • Haroon SajjadEmail author
Part of the Geography of the Physical Environment book series (GEOPHY)


Sundarban Biosphere Reserve (SBR) is located in world’s largest sediment depocenter of Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) deltaic coast of India. Unprecedented increase in the frequency of tropical cyclone, sea level rising and changes in shoreline has dynamically and significantly increased the threat to the world’s largest mangrove habitation. Spatio-temporal variation of water level regimes is an important factor for estuarine and tidal-fluvial dynamics of deltaic islands in SBR. This article examines the land use/land cover dynamic and landscape diversity due to erosion and accretion processes in Sundarban deltaic region. Landsat MSS (1975), Landsat TM (1990, 2000) and Landsat 8 OLI (2015) were used for assessing land use land cover change, landscape metric, shoreline changes, and tidal-fluvial dynamics in the study area. Land use/land cover maps were prepared using supervised classification scheme and maximum likelihood method. Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) extension tool of Arc GIS was used to assess the shoreline change rate. On the basis of land use/land cover map, Shannon’s diversity index (SHDI) was estimated to understand the landscape fragmentation due to tidal-fluvial dynamics and estuarine processes within the biosphere region. The study revealed that the land use/land cover of the Sundarban Biosphere Reserve has been diversely changed during the study period. Northern part of the SBR experienced maximum diversity of landscape. The findings revealed that there has been dramatic increase in settlement, swamp, and water-logged area and a decrease in vegetation/plantation in the study area. A remarkable change was noticed in the area under water-logging in the upper part of the Biosphere Reserve. This change is attributed to river erosion and inclusion of sea water into the agricultural fields. The overall erosion rate in the study area has been 5.98 km2/year during 1975–2015. Marked variations were observed in erosion rate in different in different blocks and islands. Southern inhabited islands were more prone to erosion than the uninhabited islands. The outcome of this study may help in management and planning for estuarine dynamics, river bank erosion and accretion of Sundarban Biosphere Reserve.


Land use/land cover Erosion accretion Landscape diversity Sundarban Biosphere Reserve 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography, Faculty of Natural SciencesJamia Millia IslamiaNew DelhiIndia

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