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      Biosphere Reserve Information



  General Description   This biosphere reserve is located in the vast Delta of the Ganges, south of Calcutta and bordering Bangladesh in the east. Sunderban is the largest contiguous mangrove area (along with Bangladesh) in the world. It represents the largest mangal diversity in the world with 81 mangal plant species and it provides habitat for the threatened Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris). The core area (Sunderban National Park) has been designated as a World Heritage site. The entire Eastern India is dependent on the fishery resources from Sunderban.
Some three million people live in the biosphere reserve (2001). They depend directly on forest and forest-based resources since agriculture is not productive enough due to saline water. Sales of timber, fuel wood, thatching leaves, honey and wax are the main sources of income. Due to demographic pressures, the Sunderban is under great stress and therefore an eco-development programme is envisaged based on a highly participative approach of the local communities. Emphasis is given to schemes that generate additional income and economic security to people, such as mangrove forest management, animal husbandry, popularisation of energy alternatives, habitat improvement, aquaculture, honey and wax culture, development of crafts and education.
  Major ecosystem type   Tropical humid forest; Mangroves
  Major habitats & land cover types   Coastal/marine area including mangrove such as Avicennia alba, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, Ceriops tagal, Rhizophora apiculata etc.; tropical semi-evergreen forest; agroecosystems; silviculture, pisciculture; prawn culture
  Location   2130' to 2215'N; 8810' to 8910'E
  Area (hectares)    
  Total   963,000
  Core area(s)   169,200
  Buffer zone(s)   223,300
  Transition area(s) when given   570,500
  Altitude (metres above sea level)   +6 to +9
  Year designated   2001
  Administrative authorities   Chief Conservator of Forest and Director of Biosphere Reserve, reporting to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest
  Brief description   Water and soil characteristics of estuaries
Mechanism of siltation in the tidal river system
Soil related problems and fertility of coastal soils
Diversity of flora and fauna
Studies on algal flora
Medicinal values of mangrove species
Plankton composition and its population density
Socio-economic status and dependency ration of the rural population on the fishery resources of Sunderban
  Specific variables...    
  Abiotic   Hydrology, siltation/sedimentation, soil.
  Biodiversity   Algae, biodiversity, coastal/marine, fauna, flora, mangrove, natural medicinal products, plankton, population genetics/population dynamics.
  Socio-economic   Fishery/Fisheries, social/socio-economic aspects.
  Integrated monitoring   Rural systems.
  Contact address    
Ministry of Environment and Forests
Paryvaran Bhavan - C.G.O. Complex - Lodhi Road
110 003 New Delhi
  Telephone   (91.11) 436 4593
  Fax   (91.11) 436 2551

Last updated: 27/09/2001

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