The Sundarbans: A Flight into the Wilderness

  • H. S. SenEmail author
  • Dipankar Ghorai
Part of the Coastal Research Library book series (COASTALRL, volume 30)


The Sundarbans is an agglomeration of about 200 islands, separated by some 400 interconnected tidal rivers, creeks and canals spanning across two neighbouring countries of India and Bangladesh. It is the habitat of world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest and abode for the enigmatic Royal Bengal Tiger. The area, over time, has been continuously truncated in size and at present it is approximately three-fifths the size of what existed 200 years ago (about 16,700 km2), the rest having been cleared and converted for agriculture and allied activities. Of the present expanse of 10,217 km2, 4262 km2 (41.7%) is in India. About half of the area in India (2320 km2) is land mass. The rest 5955 km2 (58.3%) is in Bangladesh. The eco-region has huge ecological significance in terms of the deluge of ecological services and functions for human welfare. But unbridled and naive anthropogenic avarice is taking a heavy toll of Sundarbans’ resources in both the countries ripping people of the region off their precious livelihoods. There is a need for concerted efforts by all players transcending the international border for its ecological sustenance. A succinct overview of Sundarbans comprising of its structure, its historical progression, its ecological and economic value, its challenges and livelihood of people in it is chronicled in this introductory piece for the book.


Sundarbans Livelihood Community based tourism Challenges Recurvature of storm Ecological value 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied Fibers (Formerly)BarrackporeIndia
  2. 2.Krishi Vigyan KendraICAR-Central Research Institute for Jute and Allied FibresBurdwanIndia

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