close-to-28-of-sunderbans-damaged-by-cyclone-amphan

Context: About 28% of the Sunderbans has been damaged by Cyclone Amphan as per a statement made by Chief Minister of West Bengal.

More on news:

  • 1,200 sq km of the 4,263 sq km forests had been “destroyed”. The Indian Sunderbans, an area south of the Dampier Hodges line, is spread over 9,630 sq km, of which the mangrove forest accounts for 4,263 sq km.
    • Despite the massive plantation drives, it may take years to restore the mangroves.
  • Damage was mostly in the Patharpratima and Kultali areas of South 24 Parganas. The damage has been much on the Indian side of the Sunderbans and not on the Bangladesh side.
  • Due to Salinity the trees turned yellow and red in the Sunderbans after the cyclone.

Mangroves

  • Mangroves are various large extensive types of trees up to medium height and shrubs that grow in saline coastal sediment habitats in the tropics and subtropics - mainly between latitudes 25 N and 25 S.
  • Mangroves are salt tolerant trees (halophytes) adapted to live in harsh coastal conditions.
  • They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with salt water immersion and wave action. They are adapted to the low oxygen (anoxic) conditions of waterlogged mud.

Significance of mangroves:

  • Root systems of mangrove trees help form a natural barrier against violent storm surges and floods. 
  • Protects coastline areas and slows erosion.
  • They are also an important source of honey, tannins, wax, besides fish.
  • Mangroves enhance the natural recycling of nutrients.

 

Sunderbans:

  • It is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal.
  • It spans from the Hooghly River in India's state of West Bengal to the Baleswar River in Bangladesh. 
  • It comprises closed and open mangrove forests, agriculturally used land, mudflats and barren land, and is intersected by multiple tidal streams and channels. 
  • Four protected areas in the Sundarbans are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, viz Sundarbans National Park, Sundarbans West, Sundarbans South and Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuaries

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/over-28-of-sunderbans-damaged-in-cyclone-amphan/article31760595.ece#:~:text=About 28% of the Sunderbans,to mark World Environment Day.&text=She said 1,200 sq km,forests had been “destroyed”.

Image Source: times of India