Climate Change and Economic Adaptability of Indian Sunderban

Subhadip Gupta, Gargi Sarkar


Sunderban, a World Heritage Site, is the largest block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the globe. It is a delta of the rivers Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna and located in West Bengal state of India and neighbouring country of Bangladesh. It is dynamic ecosystems formed by interactions between land and water, and is considered as one of the most productive wetlands on earth. The entire Sunderban is about 26000 sq. km, the one-third of which falls in India. The present paper deals with the Indian part of Sunderban which is comprised of 102 islands; of which 54 islands are inhabited by human being.The Indian region is demarcated by the river Hooghly on the west, the Bay of Bengal on the south, the Ichamati-Kalindi –Raimongal rivers on the east and the Dampier-Hodges line on the north. It comprises of 19 Community Development blocks of which 6 in North 24-Parganas and 13 in South 24-Parganas districts with total 190 Gram Panchayats and 1064 villages. Sandeshkhali I,Sandeshkhali II, Hingalgunj, Hasnabad, Haroa, Minakhan belong to North 24 Paraganas and the blocks , like- Sagar, Namkhana, Kakdwip, Patharpratima, Kultali, Mathurapur I ,Mathurapur II, Jaynagar I, Jaynagar II, Canning I, Canning II, Basanti and Gosaba belong to the South 24-Parganas. The present paper deals with climate change and its impact on the economy of Suderban. The sharp rise of sea surface temparature, high rise of sea level, increasing tendency of average rainfall in monsoon, dominance of cyclonic activity in Sunderban region have been indicating the signs of climate change in Sunderban. Sunderban people have been lost their land as the tidal inflow tranforms into tidal bores, start to breach the embankments and aggravate the land subsidence in those sea facing lands of southern Sundarban. Overheating after short span of heavy rainfall event changes the fragile economy of this estuarine mangrove ecosystem. The recorded number of main worker remains constant, where as the number of marginal worker has been rapidly increased to contend with climate change. Fishing, aquaculture will be the possible way to survive. But the high intensity cyclones and tidal surges create a new challenge for the poor inhabitants. Monoculture of rice farming has been changing into vulnerable intensive subsistence and indigenous one to adapt with changing nature of climate of Indian Sunderban region. Thus the fate of economy of Indian Sunderban is completely directed by the changing climate of that region. Climate change is a dynamic and complex process which has been changing the basic economic structure of this mangrove kingdom.

Keywords:  Climate Change, Economy, Main & Marginal worker, Indigenous

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