17.08.2010 - 31.08.2010 45 °C
The Sundarbans is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. The name Sundarban can be literally translated as "beautiful jungle" or "beautiful forest" in the Bengali language (Sundar, "beautiful" and ban, "forest" or "jungle"). The name may have been derived from the Sundari trees that are found in Sundarbans in large numbers. Alternatively, it has been proposed that the name is a corruption of Samudraban or Chandra-bandhe (name of a primitive tribe). But the generally accepted view is the one associated with Sundari trees.
The forest lies in the vast delta on the Bay of Bengal formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers across southern Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. The seasonally-flooded Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie inland from the mangrove forests on the coastal fringe. The forest covers 10,000 km2 of which about 6,000 are in Bangladesh. It became inscribed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1997, but while the Bangladeshi and Indian portions constitute the same continuous ecotope, these are separately listed in the UNESCO world heritage list as the Sundarbans and Sundarbans National Park, respectively. The Sundarbans is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests. The area is known for the eponymous Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), as well as numerous fauna including species of birds, spotted deer, crocodiles and snakes. The fertile soils of the delta have been subject to intensive human use for centuries, and the ecoregion has been mostly converted to intensive agriculture, with few enclaves of forest remaining. The remaining forests, together with the Sundarbans mangroves, are important habitat for the endangered tiger.