Building Resilience in the Sundarbans: Recognition by the World Bank of the importance of mangroves and sustainable shrimp farming
The Sundarbans, a world heritage site of mangrove forests since 1987 and home to the Bengal tigers, is faced with environmental damage worth INR 6.7 billion (~USD $10758750) due to anthropogenic pressures and climate change. The recent release of the report ‘Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans’ by the World Bank denotes that this loss is equivalent to 4.8% of Sundarbans’ GDP in 2009 and is a combination of six damage categories (not including overfishing):
- Cyclones: INR 2.9 billion (2.1% of GDP; USD $4656770), which includes infrastructure damage, human injuries and fatalities.
- The cost of shrimp post-larvae by-catch losses: INR 2 billion (1.5% of GDP; USD $ 3211566), which is associated with fry collection and lack of hatcheries.
- The cost of carbon sequestration: INR 0.8 billion (~USD $1284626), which is associated with degradation and suboptimal density of mangrove forests.
- The cost of soil salinity: INR 0.6 billion (~USD $963470), in terms of yield of paddy rice.
- Biodiversity losses: INR 0.2 billion (~USD $321157).
- Preventable sea level: INR 0.045 billion (~USD $72260)