Protected areas of West Bengal
Protected areas of West Bengal cover 4% of the state area. Forests make up 14% of the geographical area of West Bengal, which is lower than the national average of 23%. Part of the world's largest mangrove forest, Sundarbans, is located in southern West Bengal. There are five national parks and 10 Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal.
National parks and wildlife sanctuaries
- Ballabhpur Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bethuadahari Wildlife Sanctuary
- Bibhutibhushan Wildlife Sanctuary
- Buxa Tiger Reserve
- Chapramari Wildlife Sanctuary
- Gorumara National Park
- Haliday Island Wildlife Sanctuary
- Jaldapara National Park
- Jore Pokhri Wildlife Sanctuary
- Lothian Island Wildlife Sanctuary
- Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary
- Neora Valley National Park
- Narendrapur Wildlife Sanctuary
- Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary
- Ramnabagan Wildlife Sanctuary
- Sajnakhali Wildlife Sanctuary
- Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary
- Singalila National Park
- Sundarban Biosphre Reserve
- Mayurjharna Elephant Reserve
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. The mangrove forest also acts as a natural fish nursery, supporting coastal fishes along the Bay of Bengal.
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. The alluvial soil of the Gangetic plain compounded with favorable rainfall make this region especially fertile. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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