Sundarban is one of the largest mangrove forests in the world. It is located at the south of the Ganges River bordering northern Bay of Bengal. Sundarban ecosystem falls within the territory of Bangladesh and India. The area is about 10000 sq. km of which 62% in Bangladesh stretches into the districts of Khulna, Bagerhat and Satkhira. It is protected as Reserved Forest since 1875 and is a World Heritage declared by UNESCO. It is a Ramsar site because of its potential wetland and migratory birds.
(i) Halophytic i.e. salt-eating
(ii) Development of Pneumatophores i.e. breathing roots, stilt roots
(iii) Viviparous germination.
(i) No settlements, no agriculture, no markets
(ii) Sundarban is separated from human habitat through rivers and canals.
The main type is dominated by Sundri (Heritiera fomes), which grades into low-stature stands with mixed sundry, gewa (Excoecaria agallocha) and goran (Ceriops decandra).
Configuration of the Ground:
Elevation is about 0.9 m to 2.11 m (above sea level). The whole area is inundated twice in a day with tidal flow and is intersected by an intricate network of interconnecting Rivers and canals follows north-south direction. Water level rise up to 3 meter height i.e. difference between low and high tide is about 3 m. Time difference of high tide between Hironpoint and Nalian is 2 hour 50 minutes.
Sundarban is an unique ecosystem and ideal habitat for about 334 species of plant, 165 sp. algae, 13 sp. of orchid, 315 species bird, 53 species reptiles, 8 species amphibians, 120 species fish, 42 species mammals, 7 species crab, 8 species mollusks, 30 species of shrimp. Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris), Estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and beautiful spotted deer (Axis axis) of this mangrove are the heritage of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Forest Department under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) manages the Sundarban using the following Rules and Regulations (a) Forest Act, 1927 (Amended 2000). (b) Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) (Amendment) Act, 1974. (c) Sundarban Transit Rules. Sundarban is divided into two Division, (i) Sundarban East and (ii) Sundarban West and composed of 55-Compartment, 4-Range, 17-Station, 48-Petrol Post, 7-Goolpata Coup and 4-Goran Coup involving 1038 staffs.
Gewa tree was used as main raw material for Khulna News Print Mills Ltd. & Dada Match Factory and Sundri, Singra tree was the main raw materials for Khulna Hard Board Mill but it is closed now a days. On the other hand Forest Department earned a lot of revenue by providing Boat License Certificate (BLC) for Shrimp fry collection but is illegal according to government regulations.
Bouali (wood and thatch cutter), Mouali (honey extractor), Jalley (fish and crab harvester) and the number of Sundarban Stakeholders is about 300000 (Three lac).
Sundri tree, Goolpata palm (Nypa fruticans), Goran (Ceriops decandra), Honey, Wax, Fish, crab, shrimp, dried fish of Dubla fishing island.
The major recent change in the physical environment of the Sundarban is a reduction in the amount of fresh water flowing into the area causing increased salinity and top dying in Sundri trees.
Tourist Attraction Sites:
Katka-Kachikhali, Hironpoint, Koromjal, Shekhertech, Alorkole (Rashmela - held at mid November), Burigoalini Visitor's Centre run by CCEC.
Tour Operators: The Guide Tour, Bengal Tour, Rupantar Eco-tourism and others.