Friday, September 30, 2011

The Sundarban (Home of The Royal Bengal Tigers)

The Sundarban is the largest mangrove forest in the world and located in the south western part of Bangladesh, in the district of Khulna and India (West Bengal). Here “Sundar” means “Beautiful” and “Ban” means “Forest”. This name came from “Sundari” tree that are found in large number in this forest. This beautiful forest is one of the major tourist attractions of Bangladesh and it is also a world heritage site which declared by UNESCO in 1997. This forest lies on the river of Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna Delta at the point where it merges with
the Bay of Bengal. This forest consists of many islands, tidal rivers, creeks and canals. This forest also the finalist of the New7Wonders of nature.

Sundarban forests were originally measured about 250-300 years ago. Then it was 16, 947 square kilometers. After the partition of India in 1947, Bangladesh received about 2/3 part of this forest and India received another part of this forest. This forest is bounded by Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira districts, in the south by the Bay of Bengal, in the east by Perojpur, Barisal district, Baleswar River and in the west by Raimangal and Hariabhanga rivers which partially form Bangladesh boundary with West Bengal in India.

The first Forest Management Division of the Sundarban was created in 1869. A large portion of the mangrove forests was declared as reserved forests in 1875–76 under the Forest Act, 1865 (Act VIII of 1865) in 1875. In 1879, a Forest Division, which is the basic forest management and administration unit, was established with headquarter in Khulna, Bangladesh. The first management plan was written for the period 1893–98.

Sundarban’s climate is moderate. The annual rainfall in the Sundarban is average 64-70 inches. In the month of June to September this climate is too much monsoon. Besides this, air is always humid. But during ebb-tide, the forest becomes bare by 6 to 7 feet and at high tide (30 miles an hour) the entire territory of the forest floats on water. Soils are semi-solid and poorly consolidated in this forest. The pH ranges widely from 5.3 to 8.0. Sodium and calcium contents of the soil vary from 5.7 to 29.8 meq/100g dry soil and are generally low in the eastern region and higher towards the west but potassium content of the soil is low.

In 1903, a total of 245 genera and 334 plant species were recorded by David Prain. Sundari, Dhundul, Keora, Kankra and Gewa are the major tree in this beautiful forest. Among grasses, trees and Palms are well distributed in this forest. Mangrove plants live in hostile environmental conditions such as high salinity, hypoxic (oxygen deficient) waterlogged soil strata, tidal pressures, strong winds and sea waves. To cope with such a hostile environment, mangroves exhibit highly evolved morphological and physiological adaptations to extreme conditions. But a Mangrove plant doesn’t need salt. These plants are facultative halophytes. So, these plants can grow very well into fresh water. But Keora, Nypa fruticans, Poresia coaractata, Phragmites karka, Imperata cylindrica, and Myriostachya wightiana and many other trees and grasses are well distributed in this beautiful forest. They created an excellent environment in this forest such like a beautiful picture.

Sundarban has a rich wildlife habitat with excellent ecosystem. According to the 2011 tiger census, the Sundarban have about 270 tigers but previous estimates had suggested much higher figures close to 300 though it was a rough estimate. This is the home of Royal Bengal Tiger. As a result, tiger attacks are frequent in this forest. 190 to 260 people are killed per year. But now a day, many tigers are killed by men due to their sudden attack. Besides this, Sundarban forest also contains with some Panther and leopard. Many small fishes, hermit crabs, Crocodile, Saltwater Crocodile, Mugger Crocodile, Estuarine Crocodile, many kinds or Rhino, Elephant, Fishing Cats, Jungle Cats, Foxes, spotted deer, Chital deer, Hog deer, Macaques, wild boars, Gangetic Dolphins, Common Grey Mongooses, Gharial, Water monitor lizards, Sharks, Pangolins, River Terrapins, Shrimps, Butter Fish, Silver carp, Electric rays, Rhesus Macaque, Water Buffalos Indian Muntjacs, Skipping Frogs, Tree Frogs, Flying Foxes, many kinds of snakes and many other animals and fishes are also found in the Sundarban. It is a normal estimated that, there are now at least 500 Bengal tigers and about 31,000 spotted deer in the area.

Sundarban forest has also rich in bird life. There are many kinds of birds in the Sundarban. Such as, Open Billed Storks, White-bellied Sea Eagles, Brown-winged Kingfishers, Gray Herons, Seagulls, Open Billed Storks, Pariah Kites, Cotton Teals, Red Jungle fowls, Coots, Jungle Crows, Common Snipes, Fishing Eagles, White Eyed Pochards, Wood Sandpipers, Paradise Flycatchers, Jungle Babblers, Marsh Harriers, Black-tailed Godwits, Common Kingfishers, Curlews, Whistling Teals, Little Stints, Spot-billed Pelicans, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, Common Mynahs, Bangladesh’s National Bird “Doel” and many others.

Sundarban is not only a wonderful forest of Bangladesh but also the whole world. It is a unique forest in the world. So, if you will visit Bangladesh, you must visit this forest. If anybody vote this forest into any contest (such as New7Wonders) or not our Sundarban is always beautiful and the biggest mangrove forest in the world.


  1. I was waiting for this post for a long time and now really i am happy about this post.

  2. Sundarban is the greatest world heritage site.