Tropical Asia is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots in the world, and yet, it is one of the most vulnerable to climate change and sea level increases. The region is home to a large number of threatened and endemic species, making it critical to integrate assessment and planning for effective conservation in the context of climate change.
Located in a low-lying coastal region in Asia, Bangladesh lies in the transitional point between the Indo-Himalaya and Indo-Chinese sub-regions of the Orient. Within 147,570 square kilometers, it boasts a number of diverse ecosystems and an associated richness of unique plants and animals.
The Sundarbans is the world’s largest contiguous mangrove forest (over 10,000 square kilometers in size) and it is shared between Bangladesh and India. It is also the world’s only mangrove forest with tigers. It represents the largest remaining Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) habitat, and is home to ~ 750 animals. Other fauna include the spotted deer (Axis axis), estuarine crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), wild boar (Sus scrofa), fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), Indian python (Python molurus), and over 275 bird species. This mangrove forest is a UNESCO-declared world heritage site and is ratified by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
Lawachara National Park is best known for its faunal diversity. It spans over 12 square kilometers and is categorized as semi-evergreen forest. The park is home to 6 primate species, including the lesser ape, the Endangered western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock). Lawachara also boasts a large variety of herpetofauna and avifauna with several new species for Bangladesh having been reported recently, some by the course instructor himself.