Protected areas of West Bengal

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Protected areas of West Bengal cover 4% of the state area.[1] Forests make up 14% of the geographical area of West Bengal, which is lower than the national average of 23%.[2][3] Part of the world's largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans, is located in southern West Bengal.[4] There are 6 national parks and 15 wildlife sanctuaries in West Bengal.[5]

National parks and wildlife sanctuaries[edit]


Wildlife in these Protected areas includes the Indian rhinoceros, Indian elephants, deer, bison, leopards, gaur, and crocodiles; the state is also rich in bird life. Migratory birds come to the state during the winter; the high altitude forests like Singalila National Park shelter barking deer, red panda, chinkara, takin, serow, pangolin, minivet and kalij pheasants. In addition to the Bengal tiger, the Sundarbans host many other endangered species like the Ganges river dolphin, river terrapin, estuarine crocodile etc;[6] the mangrove forest also acts as a natural fish nursery, supporting coastal fishes along the Bay of Bengal.[6]


From a phytogeographic viewpoint, the southern part of West Bengal can be divided into two regions: the Gangetic plain and the littoral mangrove forests of the Sundarbans;[8] the alluvial soil of the Gangetic plain compounded with favorable rainfall make this region especially fertile.[8] Much of the vegetation of the western part of the state shares floristic similarities with the plants of the Chota Nagpur Plateau in the adjoining state of Jharkhand;[8] the predominant commercial tree species is Shorea robusta, commonly known as sal. The coastal region of Purba Medinipur exhibits coastal vegetation; the predominant tree is the Casuarina; the most valuable tree from the Sundarbans is the ubiquitous sundri (Heritiera fomes) from which the forest gets its name.[9] Vegetation in northern West Bengal is dictated by elevation and precipitation. For example, the foothills of the Himalayas, the Dooars, are densely wooded with Sal and other trees of the tropical evergreen type.[10] Above 1000 m, the forest type changes to subtropical. In Darjeeling, which is above 1500 m, common trees typifying the temperate forest are oaks, conifers, and rhododendrons.[10]


  1. ^ "West Bengal: General Information". India in Business. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Archived from the original on 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
  2. ^ "Flora and Fauna". (P) Ltd. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
  3. ^ "Environmental Issues". West Bengal Human Development Report 2004 (PDF). Development and Planning Department, Government of West Bengal. 2004. pp. 180–182. ISBN 81-7955-030-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-05-27. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
  4. ^ Islam, Sadiq (June 29, 2001). "World's largest mangrove forest under threat". CNN Student Bureau. Cable News Network. Retrieved 2006-10-31.
  5. ^ "West Bengal". Directory of Wildlife Protected Areas in India. Wildlife Institute of India. Archived from the original on 2007-02-02. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
  6. ^ a b "Problems of Specific Regions". West Bengal Human Development Report 2004 (PDF). Development and Planning Department, Government of West Bengal. 2004. pp. 200–203. ISBN 81-7955-030-3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-05-27. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
  7. ^ Akash Banerjee
  8. ^ a b c Mukherji, S.J. (2000). College Botany Vol. III: (chapter on Phytogeography). Calcutta: New Central Book Agency. pp. 345–365.
  9. ^ Snedaker, Samuel. "Notes on the Sundarbans with Emphasis on Geology, Hydrology, and Forestry". A.K. Townsend. Archived from the original on 2006-06-30. Retrieved 2006-11-01.
  10. ^ a b "Natural vegetation". West Bengal. Suni System (P) Ltd. Retrieved 2006-10-31.

External links[edit]