(Last Updated on : 07-12-2015)
Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India is most popular for being the largest mangrove ecosystem in the world. Sajnakhali Wildlife Sanctuary
, Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuary and Sundarbans West Wildlife Sanctuary are the wildlife sanctuaries of Sundarbans Mangrove Forest
Eco Regions of Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India
Sundarbans Mangrove Forest eco-region is named after the mangrove species, Heritiera fomes, which is locally known as Sundari, as this species is the most dominant one in the entire eco-region.
Location of Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India
Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India lied in the vast delta formed by the confluence of the rivers like Ganga River
, Brahmaputra River
, and Meghna River. Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India extends across the southern part of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal
Climate of Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India
The monsoon brings heavy rainfalls and frequent devastating cyclones to Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India, during the months of June to September. The annual rainfall in this region can exceed 3,500 mm, and the daytime temperatures can exceed a stifling 48 degree Celsius during these monsoon months.
Flora and Fauna of Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India
Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India is playing an important role in preserving Tiger populations in India. Apart from this, the ecoregion also houses mangroves, which are the results of transition from the marine to freshwater and terrestrial systems. The mangroves provide critical habitat for numerous species of fishes and crustaceans that are adapted to live, reproduce, and spend their juvenile lives. The live among the tangled mass of roots, known as pneumatophores, which can grow upward from the anaerobic mud to get the trees' supply of oxygen.
Trees in Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India
In comparison to most of the other terrestrial ecosystems, the Sundarbans Mangroves in India are not that diverse. These undisturbed forests have an unstratified, dense canopy and their undergrowth is made up of seedlings and saplings of the canopy trees. The mangrove forests are mainly characterised by Heritiera fomes in the Sundarbans. This species is well valued for its timber and the other important plant species found in the Sundarbans include Avicennia spp., Xylocarpus mekongensis, X. granatum, Sonneratia apetala, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Cereops decandra, Aegiceras corniculatum, Rhizophora mucronata, and the palm Nypa fruticans, etc.
Animals in Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India
Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India is the only mangrove ecoregion that harbours the Indo-Pacific region's largest predator, the Tiger. The Tigers live and swim among the mangrove islands and also hunt scarce prey like Chital Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, and even Macaques, in this ecoregion. The vast Sundarbans mangrove ecosystem along the marine, freshwater, and terrestrial interfaces provides critical ecosystem functions. The tangled mass of roots from the mangrove trees provides safe habitats for the juvenile stages of a gamut of species, which ranges from fish fry to shrimp naupleii.
Sundarbans Mangroves in India also harbour numerous mammal species out of which, the most charismatic one is undoubtedly the majestic Royal Bengal Tiger. The ecoregion has been designated a Level I TCU for representing the only example of Tigers ecologically adapted to a life in the mangroves. The Tiger's reputation as a human-eater is also greater here than anywhere else in its range. Apart from the Tigers, the Sundarbans Mangroves in India are also home to several other predators like the crocodiles like Crocodylus porosus and C. palustris, the Gangetic Gavial, and the Water Monitor Lizard. These mammal species use both land and water to hunt and bask in. The Sharks and the Gangetic Freshwater Dolphins also inhabit in the waterways of this ecoregion. A gobioid fish, which climbs out of the water into mudflats and even climbs trees, named the Mudskippers, is also found in the Sundarbans. The ecoregion is also home to an abundance of Crabs, Hermit Crabs, and Shrimp Scavenge among the roots.
Birds in Sundarbans Mangrove Forest in India
Apart from the rich variety of vegetation and mammal species, the Sundarbans Mangroves in India are also home to a total of 170 bird species. Out of these, one is considered is as endemic and the species is named as the Brown-Winged Kingfisher. This species is strictly limited to the coastal habitats in this ecoregion. The globally threatened bird species like Lesser Adjutant and the threatened species like Masked Finfoot (IUCN 2000) are also found in this ecoregion. Twelve birds of prey coexist in this ecoregion including the Osprey, White-Bellied Sea Eagle, and the Grey-Headed Fish-Eagle. Apart from these, the Sundarbans Mangroves in India are also an important staging and wintering area for several migratory birds, including the Shorebirds, Gulls, and Terns.