Pseudo-effects on Climate Change in Sunderbans

Gautam Kumar Das

Rapid rate of erosion, loss of vegetation or sudden changes of biodiversity fosters panic to the people of the Sunderbans, and for these reasons, people of the India and Bangladesh part of the Sunderbans of late need nature, love nature, who occupied the areas surrounding the Sunderbans Reserved Forest for generations after generations for not only the air they breathe, the food they eat, the water they drink, but for their secured home and the stability of livelihoods which become gradually different due to climate change at present. The people of the Sunderbans now realizes about the effects and impacts of the climate change and sea level rise on Sunderbans upon which they are all dependant owing to agriculture, fish capture, wood cutting and honey collection. They all know if the health of the Sunderbans ecosystem affected they would have to be refugee at the after-effect situation. So, the people afraid of the exposure of huge erosion visible in the coastal Sunderbans or the disappearance of the common mangrove's species in different islands of the reserved forest areas and all those facts as a consequence of the climate change. Let us come to know about the changes that make the inhabitants of the Sunderbans panic-fright, for e.g. one of such changes is havoc erosion in the coastal Sunderbans at its western part, where the shoreline moves towards landside 3 to 4 km since 1840 as mapped and measured by the researchers accurately. This erosional process to the western part of the Sunderbans, particularly of the Indian Sunderbans is due to its sediments starved nature or eastward migration of the river mouths or source sediment supply by the major rivers of the Sunderbans through local distributaries, as suggested by many world-class researchers of the Sunderbans. So, therefore, such huge erosion in the coastal Sunderbans should not be intermingled with the climate change, the burning topics of the recent phenomena.

Among other evidences, dendrochronology of the mangrove trees is considered for the determination for the analysis of impact of climate change. This method of analysis of ring growth has been applied on the Sundari and Passur trees which are well-grown in the Bangladesh part of the Sunderbans. Hard and reddish coloured Sundari (Heritiera fomes) wood has a strong domestic demand for multipurpose uses because it is a good durable wood with a weight of 65 pounds per cubic foot. Like Sundari, timber yielding plant Passur (Xylocarpus mekongensis) and its moderately heavy and highly durable woods, having excellent textured finishing and machining properties, has very good potency in furniture and carpentry making small-scale industries. Matured Sundari and Passur trees have well-developed stem, which in cross section, shows wide and thick rings indicating a fertile, well-watered growing period instead of thin, narrow rings that indicate a time of lower rainfall and less-than ideal growing conditions. So, therefore, dendrochronology, a method of analysis of tree ring growth patterns to determine the age of a tree, indicates the normal climatic conditions for several years before present.

Presence of foraminifera acts as an indicator of climate change through determination of vigour of water current and rate of sedimentation. Abundant occurrence of foraminifera, their population density in the sediment samples collected from the shallow coastal region indicate higher rate of sedimentation. Higher population density and higher species diversity in the sediment samples of coastal waters away from the nearshore region suggest low rate of sedimentation. Reduced size of benthic foraminifera in the estuarine area indicates a euryhaline shallow marine environment and huge influx of freshwater carried from the upstream by the Hooghly River. Both the planktonic and benthic foraminifera indicating nearshore marine environment with high energy condition infers that the coastal Sunderbans is with normal environmental condition and the visibility of impact of climate change is still confused and obscured for further contemplation.

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Vol. 52, No. 2, Jul 14 - 20, 2019