West Bengal government has given its approval to State Forest Department to apply for coveted Ramsar Site recognition under Ramsar Convention to Sunderban Reserve Forest. Now, State Forest Department through Central Government will apply to Ramsar Convention Secretariat.
Once it is conferred Ramsar site status, Sundarbans Reserve Forest will be largest protected wetland in the country. There are currently 26 sites in India recognised as Ramsar wetland sites of international importance, including East Kolkata Wetlands in West Bengal. Sunderban Reserve Forest is spread across 4,260 sq. km. with over 2,000 sq. km. of mangrove forests and creeks making it ideal site of wetland. The status wetland of international importance under Ramsar Convention will help in conservation of Sunderban (already World Heritage Site) which is facing threat from climate change and rising sea level.
Sundarbans is vast contiguous mangrove forest ecosystem in the coastal region of Bay of Bengal spread across India and Bangladesh. It covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres of area of which 60% is in Bangladesh and remaining in India. It is located in delta region of Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra river basins. It is the largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. It was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Sundarban forests are known for its self- Royal Bengal Tiger and other numerous species of animals, including Chital Deer, Crocodile and Snakes. It is facing threat from climate change and rise in sea level. It also faces threat from widespread construction and clearing of mangrove forests for fisheries.