IESWM has started collaborating with Queens University of Belfast, UK for the purpose of sediment dating in different parts of Sundarban. Queen’s University, Belfast, and Institute of Environment Studies & Wetland Management (IESWM) researchers are going to give a new dimension to the climate related concerns in Sundarban.
They postulate that uninhabited islands are higher in level than inhabited islands. They support this fact by the observation that in inhabited islands the embankments prevent the sea waters form coming in and hence there is no new sedimentation over the islands where as in uninhabited islands they are abundant creeks and no restrictive embankments so facilitating sedimentation.
Now this study group is planning to take on radiocarbon study of sediments deep in soil to find out the rate of sedimentation and then comparing it to rate of rise in sea level to find out that is this sedimentation really competing with the sea level rise and thereby have prevented the uninhabited islands from inundation and submerging.
If this goes in favour the hypothesis then the researchers would end up advising that depopulating the islands would help them survive the rising sea level.
But looking at the population density in sundarbans 1437/ sq. km it would be a challenging conservation effort if to be taken. Total islands in Sundarban are 102 and out of these 54 are inhabited.
The main aims of this research are:
- What are the sediment pathways in the region and from where this sediment is originating;
- What are the sedimentation rates and levels of deposition and erosion taking place in the Sundarbans;
- How do sedimentation rates differ over the course of the late Holocene between uninhabited and inhabited islands within the Sundarbans.
Understanding the provenance and rates of sedimentation in the Sundarbans may facilitate in the modeling of sedimentation for this region and how the transport, deposition and reworking of sediment is to change in future scenarios of mean sea-level rise and cyclonic events in this region.
This research will use multi-proxy geochemical techniques for the analysis of sedimentation in the Sundarbans. Analysis of granulometry and lithostratigraphy of sediment cores will be combined with geochemical datasets obtained using; XRD, AAS, mineral magnetics, stable and radiogenic isotope analysis. This analysis should provide some insight into the rates and origins of sediment in this region and how sediment has responded to both natural and anthropogenic forcing over the course of the late Holocene.