Report on the impact of global warming on Sunderban National Park, West Bengal

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                          Submitted by: SURBHI PARASHAR   



The Sunder
bans National Park is a National Park, a Tiger Reserve, and
a Biosphere Reserve in West Bengal, India. It is the part
of the Sunderban on Ganges Delta, and adjacent to Sunderban Reserve
Forest in the country Bangladesh. This delta is densely covered
by the dense mangrove forests, and also it is one of the largest
reserves for the Bengal tiger, found mostly in India. It is also home to a
variety of bird, reptile and invertebrate species, including
the salt-water crocodile. The present Sunderban National Park was declared
as the major area of Sunderban Tiger Reserve in 1973 and declared as a wildlife
sanctuary in 1977. On 4 May 1984 this biosphere was declared a National Park. This
is a UNESCO world heritage site in scripted in 1987. It is
considered as a World Network of Biosphere Reserve in 2001.

very first Forest Management Division, to have jurisdiction over the Sunderban
was then established in 1869. In 1875 a large portion of the massive mangrove
forests was declared as reserved forests
under the Forest Act, 1865. The left away or remaining portions of the forests
were declared a reserve forest the following year and the forest, which was so
far administered by the civil administration district, was placed under the
control of the Forest Department. A Forest Division, which is the basic forest
management and administration unit, was created in 1879 with headquarters
in Khulna, Bangladesh. The very first
management plan was written for the period 1893–1898.

1911, it was illustrated as a tract of unchecked waste country and was excluded
from the census. And then it stretched for about 266 kilometers from the mouth
of Hugli River to the mouth of the Meghna River
and was bordered inland by three settled districts of the 24 parganas, Khulna and Bakerganj.
The total area was estimated at 16,900 square kilometers. And it was a water-logged
jungle, in which tigers and a lot other wild beasts abounded. Attempts for the
reclamation had not been very successful. The Sundarbans was almost everywhere
intersected by the river channels and creeks, some of which did water communication
in the whole Bengal region both for the steamers and
for the native ships. Sunderban National Park is located between 21° 432?
– 21° 55? N latitude and in between 88° 42?
– 89° 04? E longitude. The overall average
altitude of the national park is 7.5 m above the sea level. 54 small islands
form up the park and several distributaries of the Ganges River intersect

 Action on the climate change needed to save the Sunderban:

Unless and until immediate action is taken, the Sunderban National Park, its
wildlife and the natural resources that hold millions of people may vanish
within 60 to 90 years, stated by the study. 

“The mangrove forest of the Bengal tiger joins the sea-ice of the polar bear as
one of its habitats suddenly threatened as global temperature rise during the entire
course of this century,” said Keya Chatterjee, acting director of WWF-US
climate change program. “To avert an ecological catastrophe on much larger
scale, we should sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the
impacts of climate change that we always failed to avoid.”

Sunder bans as the world’s largest mangrove

The Sundarbans, a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by India and Bangladesh at
the mouth of the Ganges River, is the world’s largest single block of mangrove
forest. Mangroves are found at the inter-tidal region between land and sea, and
not only serve as breeding grounds for fish but help protect coastal regions
from natural disasters such as cyclones, storm surges and wind damage. 

Providing the habitat for between 250 and 400 tigers, the Sundarbans is also
home to more than 50 reptile species, 120 commercial fish species, 300 bird
species and 45 mammal species. While their exact numbers are unclear, the
tigers living in the Sundarbans of India and Bangladesh may represent as many
as 10 percent of all the remaining wild tigers worldwide.

Using the rates of sea level rise projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) in its Fourth Assessment Report (2007), the study’s
authors wrote that a 28 cm sea level rise may be realized around 2070, at which
point tigers will be unlikely to survive in the Sundarbans. However, recent
research suggests that the seas may rise even more swiftly than what was
predicted in the 2007 IPCC assessment.



Due to climate change the Sundarbans faces several

With rising sea levels, islands are disappearing and the

Increasing salinity in the water and soil has severely

 the health of
mangrove forests and the quality of soil and crops.

Additionally, there have been serious disturbances to

Hydro logical parameters and change in fishing patterns,
resulting in disastrous consequences for fishermen. Frequent cyclones and

Erratic monsoon raining pattern are damaging ecology and






Global warming, also referred to as climate
change, is the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of
the Earth’s climate system and its related
effects. Multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate
system is warming. Many of the observed changes since the 1950s are
unprecedented in the instrumental temperature record which extends
back to the mid-19th century, and in pale climate proxy records
covering thousands of years.


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