Home » Climate/Climate Change » Climate Change Induced Tropical Cyclone and Salinity Intrusion in the Sundarbans: An Impediment to the REDD Programs


Climate Change Induced Tropical Cyclone and Salinity Intrusion in the Sundarbans: An Impediment to the REDD Programs


Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries, or REDD for short, is a broad set of approaches and actions that will reduce emissions from deforestations and forest degradation. Bangladesh Climate Change Strategic Action Plan (BCCSAP) has six pillars, one of which is low carbon development. REDD is one program under it. Sundarbans is the largest unique tract of natural mangrove forest. It has the potential to bear the REDD and REDD+ projects. However, from time immemorial this forest is being disturbed by the actions of furious climate. Climate change induced natural calamities like cyclone and salinity intrusion may hamper the REDD program. Practical experience and observation after the cyclone SIDR (occurred at November 15, 2007) revealed that the forest was half way destructed. SIDR affected almost 31% of the Sundarbans reserved forest area. Cyclone Aila in the next year also caused great loss to the forest. During these two recent cyclones, the forest gets lucid changes in its biodiversity pattern. Abatement in wood productivity hampers the faunal regeneration. Thus the forest stock is reduced now than the original. But nature has its own way to regain losses. The forest department had taken revolutionary decision to stop collection of all sorts of revenue materials from the Sundarbans after SIDR attack for one year. This might help the forest to recuperate. After the salvation collection was started again. Climate change induced sea level rise affects the forest by salinity intrusion into its rivers. In summer and winter season, when the upstream river flow is reduced, saline flow from the Bay of Bengal enters the river territory. This increases salinity in the delta. Salinity in rivers and streams in the forest might be the principal causes of top dying disease of Heritiera fomes, major climax species in the Sundarbans. Both salinity intrusion and cyclonic attack reduce the growing stock of the Sundarbans. This is affecting the usual emission reduction process through forest sinks. The REDD (Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) programme might be very much threatened by climate change effects in near future. Climate change and subsequent atmospheric temperature increase would rather shift forest vegetation. It is evident that higher temperature could shift vegetation from lower altitude to higher altitude. As higher altitude possesses lower temperature than lower altitude has. In Bangladesh, geological altitudes incline toward eastern part from western part. Therefore, species availability in western Bangladesh would be more rare and hard. Some anthropogenic causes might increase these affects such as construction of Dam in upstream rivers by foreign countries, using forestland for agricultural purposes, settlements etc. Forest areas in central Bangladesh are shrinking day by day due to population pressure. Sundarbans, the unique mangrove forest is very much dependant to the nature. Natural destructive phenomena cause great loss to its composition. Sundri, the major tree species in the Sundarbans (occupying 73% coverage), is being exhausted due to unknown causes.
Thus, this may be said that REDD programme in our central and westerm part would not be such wise as it would be in eastern part. Previously rich higher altitudinal hill forests might be our last resource to go for international aid. Though hill forests are decreasing at a great rate, possibilities are few to be destructed fully. These areas are fertile, well drained, sloped and rich with humus to support rich biodiversity. We have such kind of mountains having medium altitudes that would never freezes. Use of SALT (Sloping Agricultural Land use Technology) in green hills would be the safest possible way to preserve them. SALT, Tangya or Agroforestry would be able to conserve eastern hills. Here one major problem is landslide. If nude hills were covered with vegetation this problem would be minimized. Hill forests possess high rate of growth per hactre per year than central and southern forests. Therefore, practices need to be launched to save our hill forests by REDD programme where standing trees would give us currencies other than felled one. This may reduce deforestation and soil erosion in hills to near zero.


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