Global of economy, environment and ecology (Chakraborty,
Global warming is a great perl, the most pretentiousareas are the coastlines of less developed countries and India is one of them. Mainly,the deltas of river are facing the brunt of climate change and these effectscan be expected to rise with a pace in the course of this century.The SunderbanRainforest are one of the region in India having a great threat.
The Sunderbansis the world’s stupendous mangrove forest. Designated as a United Nations WorldHeritage site in both India and Bangladesh, it covers nearly 4,000square miles (10,000 square kilometers). The forest provides home to the Bengaltiger, as well as other rare and endangered species of aquatic mammals, birds andreptiles.DESCRIPTIONSundarbans mangroveecosystem, (between 21032’–220 40′ North and between 880 85’–89000 East) is anunique, productive and highly valued ecosystem in terms of economy, environmentand ecology (Chakraborty, 2011). Although, mangroves of India account for only0.67% of the total designated forest area of the country, their presence remainutterly important under growing concern of global reduction of mangrove habitatsand need special attention. The Indian mangroves contribute significantlytowards the shrinking of global mangrove reserves with approximately 2.7% ofthe world’s mangroves those exist along the 7516.
6km long coastline of India(Giri et al.,2011). Several conservation strategies have been adopted toprotect Indian mangroves in view of ongoing and persisting ecological andanthropogenic threats.
(Bhatt and Kathiresan, 2012). The Sundarbans MangroveForest is particularly critical and a highly fragile ecosystem because of itscomplexgeo-morphological and environmental settings, enormous populationdensity and gradual shrinking of the islands under the rising Sea level (DasGupta and Shaw, 2013).ASSESSMENT OFBIODIVERSITY Field surveys, collection, and identification of floral and faunalcomponents during last two decades following standard literatures (Chaudhuriand Choudhury 1994, Chakraborty, 2011, Giri and Chakraborty, 2012). RECORDINGOF PHYSICO-CHEMICAL AND METEOROLOGICAL PARAMETERS Different Physico-chemicalparameters of soil and water were analyzed following standard methods (APHA,2005) and with the help of water quality checker (Towa, Model No. WQC 22AJapan). Meteorological parameters (Rainfall, Temperature) of previous decadeswere collected from the Indian Meteorological Department, Alipore, Kolkata(Chakraborty et al.. 2009).
APPLICATION OFREMOTESENSING AND GIS Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery has proven to be effectivein mapping temporal and spatial variations in environmental indicators withinlarge water bodies, as well as phyto-environment, pedological characterization,land use/cover system etc. For land use/cover thematisation, Optimum IndexFactor (OIF) has been used for selecting the potential band combination, whichis based on the total variance within bands and correlation coefficient betweenbands. The products of vegetation vis-s-vis forest cover mapping derived fromremotely sensed images are being objectively verified and communicated in orderto enable to chalk out proper strategies for sustainable environmentalmanagement. However, the role of vegetation indices and textural imagesimproving land-cover classification performance is still poorly understood,especially in moist tropical vegetated regions such as the Sundarbans mangroveforest areas.TheSundarban Biosphere Reserve which was declared in 1989 is one of the three greatestmarine biosphere reserves in the country. The main objective of the marinebiosphere reserve is protection, conservation and judicious utilization of the marineenvironment.
The Sundarbans Project Tiger and National Park and the threeWildlife Sanctuaries i.e Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary, Lothian IslandSanctuary, Haliday Island Sanctuary are located within the biosphere reserve.The other areas in the reserve are habitations and cultivated fields. Peopleliving in these forest areas are predominantly either fishermen or farmers.
TheSundarban Biosphere Reserve has been divided into two regions for effectivemanagement. They are the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve under the Field Director(Gosaba) and D.F.O Parganas South (Alipore).CAUSES AND ITS EXTENTTigers alreadythreatened by poaching and habitat loss.In addition to climate change, the Sundarbans tigers, likeother tiger populations around the world already face tremendous threats frompoaching and habitat loss. Tiger ranges have fallen by 40 percent over the pastdecade, and tigers today occupy less than seven percent of their originalrange. Scientists fear that accelerating deforestation and rampant poachingcould push some tiger populations to the same fate as their now-extinct Javanand Balinese relatives in other parts of Asia.
Tigers are attacked for their body parts and highly prizedskins, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The 2010 Year of theTiger will mark an important year for conservation efforts to save wild tigers,with WWF continuing to play a vital role in implementing bold new ideas to savethis magnificent Asian big cat.Thecurrent and potential threats to both the aquatic and terrestrial elements ofthe property are many. Largely effective management of the Sundarbans NationalPark means that current threats to the site are minimized. However, theSundarbans National Park is part of the wider Sundarbans ecosystem, andactivities both within the site’s buffer zone and within the wider Sundarbansand the Bay of Bengal provide cause for concern in regards to the site’sOutstanding Universal Values. Future threats from sea level rise and increasedfrequency and intensity of extreme weather events (storms and tidal surges)under climate change are severe. The site’s ecological and biodiversity valuesare all affected by these pressures and the Outstanding Universal Values of thesite are therefore under serious threat in the future.
The largest habitat ofthe Royal Bengal Tiger, the Sundarbans is home to five critically endangeredreptiles, including the Hawksbill Sea Turtle and River Terrapin.The endangered andnear-threatened species in Sundarbans include the Asian Giant Softshell Turtle,Indian Rock Python, King Cobra, Greater Adjutant Stork, Black-headed Ibis,Fishing Cat and Gangetic Dolphin.According to officialfigures, about 175,000 tourists visited the Sundarbans tiger reserve, whileanother 42,000 people visited the biosphere reserve in 2015.Besides large-scaletourism, climate change is also posing a threat to Sundarbans, according toWorld Wildlife Fund-India (WWF-India).
A Climate AdaptationReport released by the group warned that Sundarbans was “already in the midstof a heightened state of danger.”Atmospheric warming iscausing thermal expansion of waters, inducing a sea-level rise of about 12 mmper year, the report said, adding that surface air temperatures over the Bay ofBengal have been rising at a rate of 0.019 degrees Celsius (0.034 degreesFahrenheit) per year.”Given thedisproportionately heavy impact that climate change is expected to have on thisdelta area, the need to improve adaptive management and develop moreappropriate solutions for this unique system has become acutely urgent,” theWWF report said.Ratul Saha, who headsWWF’s Sundarbans Landscape team, said, “The current policies and patterns ofdevelopment have to be completely revised, or else the situation would becatastrophic. The livelihoods and the survival of the people are at risk.”Climate change hasbeen found to be responsible for several cyclonic storms and increasedfrequency of extreme weather events in the recent past in the Sundarbans, Sahasaid.
It has also been causing coastal erosion, change in embankments,acidification of waters and submergence of islands.Analysis of the problemMangroves are diverse and highly productive ecologicalcommunities at the land-sea interface. The Sundarban mangrove forests are thelargest in the world.
They provide a wide range of important ecosystemservices, including: the provision of food and water for millions of itsinhabitants; protection against the worst effects of natural hazards, such aswith cyclones and tsunamis; the ability to act as a giant long-term carbonsink; the retention of terrestrial sediments; and as a habitat for manyspecies, including for the rare and protected Royal Bengal tiger. The importanceof the Sundarbans therefore extends from the local to the global, wheredifferent stakeholder objectives attempt to decide its future. During the lasttwo-and-a-half centuries, the Sundarban mangrove ecosystem has been affected byhuman impact, slow onset climatic change and extreme weather events. Humanactivities in the inhabited part of the Indian Sundarbans have a greaterincremental impact on mangrove forests, salinity increase, relative mean sealevel rise and land loss than previously assumed. Protection of mangroveforests is extremely complex and multiscalar because of the interaction ofclimatic threats, path-dependent development regimes and environmentalgovernance.
Enforcement of legal protection is intricately connected to powerstruggles and by no means a universal virtue. Direct human pressure on thesestrictly protected forests comes from the extraction of goods and enlargingarable land.While mangroves inherently possess a high resilience tonatural disturbances such as tropical storms or tsunamis, the effects ofanthropogenic degradation is often irreversible. This is why it is important toreconfigure development plans by including local requirements and to approachthe problem through a multiscalar and polycentric manner, instead of looking atconservation and climate change adaptation separately. More effectiveconservation elicits adaptation co-benefits and vice versa, for examplebio-embankments and beach nourishment, which have provided effective protectionagainst coastal erosion along the Netherlands coasts. In the Sundarbans, thiscalls for an interdisciplinary collaboration between natural and socialscientists to develop policies addressing conservation and climate changeadaptation.
The West Bengal government recently announced a number ofdevelopment measures for the Sundarbans including ecotourism infrastructure.Such developments, if realized, might irreversibly jeopardize the ecosystem,without first addressing the core problems, i.e.
industrialpollution, upstream diversion schemes, forest clearing, and, importantly, locallivelihood needs.