Sarankhola Range of Sundarbans and associated areas
The Sundarbans Reserved Forest covers in total 600,386 ha – the world’s largest mangrove forest – and extends across three districts and four administrative ranges of the Forest Department.
From west to east four CMCs work to protect the Sundarbans – Munshigonj, Dacope-Koyra, Chandpai and Sarankhola, as well as
the Ecologically Critical Area that surrounds the forest as a buffer. Sarankhola range covers 145,601 hectares. Within Sarankhola range is Sundarbans East Wildlife Sanctuary, a 31,226.94 ha area designated in 1996.
This forest is adapted to brackish tidal waters and forms a natural barrier between the Bay of Bengal and mainland Bangladesh. The forest traps sediment, naturally building land and helps protect coastal people from high tides, storms and cyclones. However, storms and climate change pose threats to the forest, and increasing intrusion of saline water north of the mangroves during the dry season hampers agriculture and access to fresh water for our communities. Illegal felling of trees, and poaching of Tiger and Spotted Deer are significant challenges. In addition to being home to one of the world’s largest populations of Tigers, the sanctuaries of this range protect Ganges River and Irrawaddy Dolphins; many other mangrove dependent species, including the world’s largest population of an unusual waterbird – the Masked Finfoot; and are one of just two safe zones in Bangladesh for the critically endangered White-rumped Vulture.
Sarankhola range is bordered by 21 villages where most of the people depend directly on forest resources. Collection of shrimp larvae, fish and golpata (Nipa fruticans) palm leaves are the main income sources. However, destructive practices used in catching prawn and shrimp post larvae and excess pressure catching finfish and crabs threaten the ecology of the area and sustainability of livelihoods.
WHY ARE SUNDARBANS MANGROVE FORESTS IMPORTANT?
A Ramsar and World Heritage site
The largest block of mangrove forest in the world
Home to globally endangered Royal Bengal Tiger, Ganges River Dolphin and Masked Finfoot
High species diversity: 120 fish species, 8 amphibian species, 50 reptile species, 42 mammals, over 250 bird species, and 60 shrimp species
Stores over 250 tons of carbon (equivalent to 939 tons CO2 per hectares)
Local people are poor and depend on forest resources, threatening the biodiversity and ecology
CO-MANAGEMENT HELPS PROTECT CRITICAL FOREST HABITATS IMPORTANT FOR A WIDE RANGE OF CREATURES AND PLANTS, INCLUDING GLOBALLY THREATENED SPECIES …
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The largest cat and our national animal, the magnificent Bengal Tiger has disappeared from the rest of Bangladesh and is globally endangered. The Sundarbans are home to one of the largest remaining populations. A solitary predator that readily swims, and is an expert at remaining hidden, it hunts mainly Spotted Deer and Wild Boar. The Forest Department and communities are working together to protect tigers and their habitat
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A secretive resident of dense mangroves and narrow creeks, this endangered waterbird is the Asian representative of an unusual family of tropical birds, with just two relatives in Africa and South America. It swims well with its lobed toes and caches small crabs for food, and clambers into trees but rarely flies. The Sundarbans hold the largest population of this declining bird in the world.
Sustaining Nature, Biodiversity, and Local Communities
Sarankhola Co-Management Committee engages with forest users to conserve the eastern part of Sundarban and adjacent areas, and its threatened species, including Masked Finfoot, through climate-resilient natural resources management and diversified livelihoods
Co-Management of Sarankhola was established in April 2010 and is recognized through a Ministry of Environment and Forests order published in November 2009. Sarankhola CMC formally works with and includes Bangladesh Forest Department as well as all key local stakeholders including local government and of course representatives of the surrounding 21 villages who are organized into a common forum. We help protect the Sundarbans under an integrated resource management plan, and promote sustainable practices in over 7,500 ha of the Sundarbans Ecologically Critical Area in coordination with Department of Environment.
SARANKHOLA CO-MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE (CMC)
- Conservation of biodiversity in Sundarban forests and its Ecologically Critical Area
- Mobilize local people including youth as environmental stewards and stakeholders
- Assist natural resource users to enhance and diversify their livelihoods, reduce extraction from forests, and reduce vulnerability to hazards and climate change
- Encourage eco-tourism, and provide adequate facilities for visitors
- Provide a forum for discussions,consultations, and conflict resolution
How You Can Help ?
Please support our efforts to strengthen conservation. The work of Sarankhola CMC and associated organizations involves local communities working with local government and Bangladesh Forest Department. These activities depend on support from grants and outside resources.
Sarankhola CMC has a bank account (Sonali Bank Limited, Rayenda Bazar Branch, Bagerhat) and can receive grants from domestic sources. For international assistance, funds can be channeled through CODEC – a national NGO which has helped establish the CMC. CODEC is registered with Bangladesh NGO Affairs Bureau, registration no. 263.
Its programs focus on the disadvantaged coastal and fisher communities for their social, cultural and economic development.
Your donations to Sarankhola CMC will support:
- Improving protection of forest, and their threatened species, through community patrols and forest restoration
- Creating awareness among the local people and increasing alternative income source.
- Reducing conflicts between people and animals, especially Tiger (e.g., relocating cultivation, patrols, education,, improving warnings, and a compensation fund)
- Promoting eco-tourism (e.g. establishing and maintaining visitor facilities and publicizing the Sundarbans)
- Increasing community sustainability (e.g. reducing disaster vulnerability and improving services)
Sarankhola Range Office, Sarankhola,
Tel: 01716 321 780
DFO, Sundarban East Forest Division
Tel: 0468 63197
Sarankhola Range Office,
Tel: 01718 692 774
Khurshid Alam Ph.D
CODEC Bhaban, Plot#2, Road#2, Lake Valley R/A, Hazi Zafor Ali Road (Nuria
Madrasha Lane), Foy’s Lake, Khulshi, Chittagong, Bangladesh