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India: Lost 40% of its mangroves in the last century. And it’s putting communities at risk by Soumya Sarkar March 13,2018   |  Source: The Hindu

The sight of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, straddling India and Bangladesh, is humbling. This biodiversity hotspot is home to 180 species of trees and plants growing within its marshy boundaries, the Gangetic dolphin, estuarine crocodiles, river terrapins, hawksbill turtles, horseshoe crabs and of course the iconic Bengal tiger.

The tides in this 10,000 sq.km. swamp are so dramatic that about a third of the land disappears and reappears every day. It has been happening for centuries, but the changes have become more extreme in the past few decades. In this delta of the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers, the sea is rising more dramatically than in other parts of the world, research shows. Known as the biggest carbon sink in South Asia, these mangrove forests are recognised as a world heritage site.

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However, the story of the Sundarbans, which means ‘beautiful forest’ in Bengali, is not limited to its incredible variety of flora and fauna. There are as many as 4.5 million people in two countries — India and Bangladesh — who depend on this tidal forest for their survival. The same holds true for the other mangrove forests along India’s 7,500 km coastline. Mangroves have long been taken for granted, and it’s time

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