Sunderbans and Climate change
THE SUNDERBANS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
What’s in news?
The report titled The Sunderbans and Climate Change was released during the ongoing Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals.
- The fact sheet notes that as climate change progresses, the monsoon in Sunderbans is likely to last longer and get more intense over the coming years.
- Conversely, drought conditions will also become more pronounced, presenting further challenges for agricultural producers in particular and ecosystems in general.
Risk of flooding:
- The fact sheet points out that large parts of Sunderbans, which are designated as ‘Ramsar Sites’, are highly susceptible to flooding.
- The inundation of seawater is going to dramatically affect the area.
- Although mangroves demonstrate some degree of resistance to submersion in water, they are susceptible to tidal inundation which occurs too frequently or lasts too long.
- Apart from the frequent storms and the rise of sea level, another concern is the rise of salinity both in water and soil.
- Excess levels of soil salinity can be damaging to ecosystems as salts can accumulate in the soil and hinder plant growth and also threaten the health of freshwater aquatic life such as fish and giant prawns.
- The report estimates the rise in the sea level at 3.2 mm per year currently. The report states that an estimated rise of 28 cm above the sea levels registered in the year 2000 would result in a 96 % decline of the habitat of the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) in Bangladesh.
- The intense monsoon storm is also expected to reduce the availability of prey for the Bengal Tiger in the region, adversely affecting its sustainability in the region.
- The convention discussions involved the Transboundary Conservation of Threatened Freshwater Fauna, including species like Indian River Terrapin (Batagur Baska), Hilsa (Tenualosa ilisha) and Ganges River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica).
- There is clear evidence of the habitat of all the three species extending to the Sunderbans in both India and Bangladesh.
- The risk of flooding in Sunderbans will adversely affect these freshwater species.
Links to note: