The Sundarbans mangrove forest was severely damaged after cyclones Yass and Amphan in West Bengal. Now, the forest department of the Bengal government is planning to plant more than 5 crore mangroves across the Sundarbans to compensate for the damage caused by the natural calamities. As part of the plantation drive, six species of mangrove saplings have been planted in 14 nurseries of the forest department, forest officials said. These saplings will be later planted in Sundarbans.
According to the state forest department, about 2.5 crore trees, both large and small, were destroyed in Sundarbans, during the flood and cyclones last year. The damage was particularly high in coastal and riverine areas. Last year too, the state forest department had planted crores of trees to compensate for the loss.
Bengal’s Forest Minister Jyotipriya Mallick said, “Many trees were planted in the Sundarbans after cyclone Amphan. But those trees have also been damaged by Cyclone Yass. So, this time more than 5 crore trees are being planted. Special attention will also be given to the care of the trees.”
The forest department is going to plant 5 crore mangrove saplings under its own initiative. The district administrations have also allotted 1,094 hectares of land for the plantation of a sapling. Trees will also be planted on the banks of various rivers. In all, mangroves will be planted in about 1,902 hectares of land.
Preparations are also being made to plant these trees by hiring workers through a 100-day work project. The forest department wants the mangrove planting to be completed by December this year.
The forest minister has also directed the officials of the department to keep an eye on trees after plantation so that they are not damaged.
According to UNESCO World Heritage Convention, the Sundarbans mangrove forest is one of the largest such mangrove forests in the world and lies on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. The area is known for its wide range of fauna, including 260 bird species, the Bengal tiger and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.