Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 5

Search results for: Sundarban megadelta

5 Sundarban as a Buffer against Storm Surge Flooding

Authors: Mohiuddin Sakib, Fatin Nihal, Anisul Haque, Munsur Rahman, Mansur Ali


Sundarban, the largest mangrove forest in the world, is known to act as a buffer against the cyclone and storm surge. Theoretically, Sundarban absorbs the initial thrust of the wind and acts to ‘resist’ the storm surge flooding. The role of Sundarban was evident during the cyclone Sidr when the Sundarban solely defended the initial thrust of the cyclonic wind and the resulting storm surge inundation. In doing this, Sundarban sacrificed 30% of its plant habitats. Although no scientific study has yet been conducted, it is generally believed that Sundarban will continuously play its role as a buffer against the cyclone when landfall of the cyclone is at or close to the Sundarban. Considering these facts, the present study mainly focused on a scientific insight into the role of Sundarban as a buffer against the present-day cyclone and storm surge and also its probable role on the impacts of future storms of similar nature but with different landfall locations. The Delft 3D dashboard and flow model are applied to compute the resulting inundation due to cyclone induced storm surge. The results show that Sundarban indeed acts as a buffer against the storm surge inundation when cyclone landfall is at or close to Sundarban.

Keywords: buffer, Mangrove forest, Sidr, landfall, roughness

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4 Impact of Anthropogenic Stresses on Plankton Biodiversity in Indian Sundarban Megadelta: An Approach towards Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainability

Authors: Dibyendu Rakshit, Santosh K. Sarkar


The study illustrates a comprehensive account of large-scale changes plankton community structure in relevance to water quality characteristics due to anthropogenic stresses, mainly concerned for Annual Gangasagar Festival (AGF) at the southern tip of Sagar Island of Indian Sundarban wetland for 3-year duration (2012-2014; n=36). This prograding, vulnerable and tide-dominated megadelta has been formed in the estuarine phase of the Hooghly Estuary infested by largest continuous tract of luxurious mangrove forest, enriched with high native flora and fauna. The sampling strategy was designed to characterize the changes in plankton community and water quality considering three diverse phases, namely during festival period (January) and its pre - (December) as well as post (February) events. Surface water samples were collected for estimation of different environmental variables as well as for phytoplankton and microzooplankton biodiversity measurement. The preservation and identification techniques of both biotic and abiotic parameters were carried out by standard chemical and biological methods. The intensive human activities lead to sharp ecological changes in the context of poor water quality index (WQI) due to high turbidity (14.02±2.34 NTU) coupled with low chlorophyll a (1.02±0.21 mg m-3) and dissolved oxygen (3.94±1.1 mg l-1), comparing to pre- and post-festival periods. Sharp reduction in abundance (4140 to 2997 cells l-1) and diversity (H′=2.72 to 1.33) of phytoplankton and microzooplankton tintinnids (450 to 328 ind l-1; H′=4.31 to 2.21) was very much pronounced. The small size tintinnid (average lorica length=29.4 µm; average LOD=10.5 µm) composed of Tintinnopsis minuta, T. lobiancoi, T. nucula, T. gracilis are predominant and reached some of the greatest abundances during the festival period. Results of ANOVA revealed a significant variation in different festival periods with phytoplankton (F= 1.77; p=0.006) and tintinnid abundance (F= 2.41; P=0.022). RELATE analyses revealed a significant correlation between the variations of planktonic communities with the environmental data (R= 0.107; p= 0.005). Three distinct groups were delineated from principal component analysis, in which a set of hydrological parameters acted as the causative factor(s) for maintaining diversity and distribution of the planktonic organisms. The pronounced adverse impact of anthropogenic stresses on plankton community could lead to environmental deterioration, disrupting the productivity of benthic and pelagic ecosystems as well as fishery potentialities which directly related to livelihood services. The festival can be considered as multiple drivers of changes in relevance to beach erosion, shoreline changes, pollution from discarded plastic and electronic wastes and destruction of natural habitats resulting loss of biodiversity. In addition, deterioration in water quality was also evident from immersion of idols, causing detrimental effects on aquatic biota. The authors strongly recommend for adopting integrated scientific and administrative strategies for resilience, sustainability and conservation of this megadelta.

Keywords: Gangasagar festival, phytoplankton, Sundarban megadelta, tintinnid

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3 Trace Element Phytoremediation Potential of Mangrove Plants in Indian Sundarban

Authors: Ranju Chowdhury, Santosh K. Sarkar


Trace element accumulation potential of ten mangrove species in individual plant tissues (leaves, bark and root/pneumatophore) along with host sediments was carried out at 2 study sites of diverse environmental stresses of Indian Sundarban Wetland, a UNESCO world heritage site. The study was undertaken with the following objectives: (i) to investigate the extent of accumulation and the distribution of trace metals in plant tissues (ii) to determine whether sediment trace metal levels are correlated with trace metal levels in tissues and (iii) to find out the suitable candidate for phytoremediation species. Mangrove sediments showed unique potential in many- fold increase for most trace metals than plant tissues due to their inherent physicochemical properties. The concentrations of studied 11 trace elements (expressed in µg g -1) showed wide range of variations in host sediment with the following descending order: Fe (2865.31-3019.62) > Mn (646.04- 648.47 > Cu (35.03- 41.55) > Zn (32.51- 36.33) > Ni (34.4- 36.60) > Cr (27.5- 29.54) > Pb (11.6- 20.34) > Co (6.79- 8.55) > As (3.22- 4.41) > Cd (0.19- 0.22) > Hg (0.06- 0.07). The ranges of concentration of trace metals (expressed in µg g -1) for As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn in plant tissues were 0.006- 0.31, 0.02- 2.97, 0.10- 4.80, 0.13- 6.49, 4.46- 48.30, 9.20- 938.13, 0.02- 0.13, 9.8- 1726.24, 5.41- 11.34, 0.04 - 7.64, 3.81- 52.20 respectively. Among all trace elements, Cd and Zn were highly bioaccumulated in Excoecaria agallocha (2.97 and 52.20 µg g -1 respectively). The bio- concentration factor (BCF) showed its maximum value (15.5) in E. agallocha for Cd, suggesting that it can be considered as a high-efficient plant for trace metal bioaccumulation. Therefore, phytoremediation could be extensively used for the removal of the toxic contaminants for sustainable management of Sundarban coastal regions.

Keywords: Indian Sundarban, mangroves, phytoremediation, trace elements

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2 Disaggregating Communities and the Making of Factional States: Evidence from Joint Forest Management in Sundarban, India

Authors: Amrita Sen


In the face of a growing insurgent movement and the perceived failure of the state and the market towards sustainable resource management, a range of decentralized forest management policies was formulated in the last two decades, which recognized the need for community representations within the statutory methods of forest management. The recognition conceded on the virtues of ecological sustainability and traditional environmental knowledge, which were considered to be the principal repositories of the forest dependent communities. The present study, in the light of empirical insights, reflects on the contemporary disjunctions between the preconceived communitarian ethic in environmentalism and the lived reality of forest based life-worlds. Many of the popular as well as dominant ideologies, which have historically shaped the conceptual and theoretical understanding of sociology, needs further perusal in the context of the emerging contours of empirical knowledge, which lends opportunities for substantive reworking and analysis. The image of the community appears to be one of those concepts, an identity which has for long defined perspectives and processes associated with people living together harmoniously in small physical spaces. Through an ethnographic account of the implementation of Joint Forest Management (JFM) in a forest fringe village in Sundarban, the study explores the ways in which the idea of ‘community’ gets transformed through the process of state-making, rendering the necessity of its departure from the standard, conventional definition of homogeneity and internal equity. The study necessitates an attention towards the anthropology of micro-politics, disaggregating an essentially constructivist anthropology of ‘collective identities’, which can render the visibility of political mobilizations plausible within the seemingly culturalist production of communities. The two critical questions that the paper seeks to ask in this context are: how the ‘local’ is constituted within community based conservation practices? Within the efforts of collaborative forest management, how accurately does the depiction of ‘indigenous environmental knowledge’, subscribe to its role of sustainable conservation practices? Reflecting on the execution of JFM in Sundarban, the study critically explores the ways in which the state ceases to be ‘trans-national’ and interacts with the rural life-worlds through its local factions. Simultaneously, the study attempts to articulate the scope of constructing a competing representation of community, shaped by increasing political negotiations and bureaucratic alignments which strains against the usual preoccupations with tradition primordiality and non material culture as well as the amorous construction of indigeneity.

Keywords: community, environmentalism, JFM, state-making, identities, indigenous

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1 A Case Study of Wildlife Crime in Bangladesh

Authors: M. Golam Rabbi


Theme of wildlife crime is unique in Bangladesh. In earlier of 2010, wildlife crime was not designated as a crime, unlike other offenses. Forest Department and other enforcement agencies were not in full swing to find out the organized crime scene at that time and recorded few cases along with forest crime. However, after the establishment of Wildlife Crime Control Unitin 2012a, total of 374 offenses have been detected with 566 offenders and 37,039 wildlife and trophies were seized till November 2016. Most offenses seem to be committed outside the forests where the presence of the forest staff is minimal. Total detection percentage of offenses is not known, but offenders are not identified in 60% of detected cases (UDOR). Only 20% cases are decided by the courts even after eight years, conviction rate of the total disposal is 70.65%. Mostly six months imprisonment and BDT 5000 fine seems to be the modal penalty. The monetary value of wildlife crime in the country is approximate $0.72M per year and the maximum value counted for reptiles around $0.45M especially for high-level trafficking of geckos and turtles. The most common seizures of wildlife are birds (mynas, munias, parakeets, lorikeets, water birds, etc.) which have domestic demand for pet. Some other wildlife like turtles, lizards and small mammals are also on the list. Venison and migratory waterbirds often seized which has a large quantity demand for consuming at aristocratic level.Due to porous border and weak enforcement in border region poachers use the way for trafficking of geckos, turtles, and tortoises, snakes, venom, tiger and body parts, spotted deerskin, pangolinetc. Those have very high demand in East Asian countries for so-called medicinal purposes. The recent survey also demonstrates new route for illegal trade and trafficking for instance, after poaching of tiger and deer from the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove track of the planet to Thailand through the Bay of Bengal, sharks fins and ray fish through Chittagong seaport and directly by sea routes to Myanmar and Thailand. However, a good number of records of offense demonstrate the transition route from India to South and South East Asian countries. Star tortoises and Hamilton’s turtles are smuggled in from India which mostly seized at Benapole border of Jessore and Hazrat Shah Jajal International Airport of Dhaka, in very large numbers for transmission to East Asian countries. Most of the cases of wildlife trade routes leading to China, Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar. Most surprisingly African ivory was seized in Bangladesh recently, which was meant to be trafficked to the South-East Asia. However; forest department is working to fight against wildlife poaching, illegal trade and trafficking in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies. The department needs a clear mandate and to build technical capabilities for identifying, seizing and holding specimens. The department also needs to step out of the forests and must develop the capacity to surveillance and patrol all sensitive locations across the country.

Keywords: Bangladesh forest department, Sundarban, tiger, wildlife crime, wildlife trafficking

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