Ratargul Swamp Forest

Ratargul Swamp Forest: The Green Mystery & Discussion Of Plants (Part 1)

Ratargul Swamp Forest is a freshwater swamp forest located in Gowain River, Fatehpur Union, Gowainghat, Sylhet, Bangladesh. It is the only swamp forest located in Bangladesh and one of the few freshwater swamp forests in the world. The forest is naturally conserved under the Department of Forestry, Government of Bangladesh.

Gerography of Ratargul

Its area is 3, 325.61 acre including 504 acre declared as the animal sanctuary in 2015. This only swamp forest in Bangladesh is located 26 kilometres (16 mi) far from Sylhet. The forest’s name comes from the word, “Rata” or “Pati” tree, used by the locals of Sylhet.

The evergreen forest is situated by the river Goain and linked with the channel Chengir Khal. Ratargul is known as “Sundarban of Sylhet”.

 

 

Ratargul Swamp Forest

A Natural Ecosystem

Ratargul Swamp Forest acts as a integral part of wetland ecosystems, serving as habitats, nursery grounds and sources of food for many organisms. The ecosystem of this swamp area consists of different types of habitats such as river, lowland with vegetation and depressions.

In the rainy season, the forest becomes flooded as at that time heavy water from India enters into the lake through the river Goain.

The forest remains flooded from May to early October. This time the temperature remains 32 degree Celsius. It drops to 12 degree Celsius in January. Maximum trees remain 10 ft under water (somewhere even 15–20 ft).But in the winter season, the forest become dry. Department of Forestry is responsible for its conservation. In Rainy season, it goes under 20-30 feet water.

In other seasons of the year, the water level is about 10 feet deep. “Koroch tree” is the most common tree in this forest. There are two haors in the southern part of this forest. Locally is these two bils are called Shilmul bil haor and the neoa bil haor.  It has been an insecure habitat of different wild animals like snakes, lizards, monkeys insects & birds. The interesting thing is that it has also been a great source of different local fish.

Greeny ecosystem:
Ratargul

Plant Diversity 

In the early eighties, this swamp forest was almost depleted with hardly some grassy vegetation, a few bushes of Patipata and a very few of the Koroj trees scattered here and there. Now this area have got two stories forests. The top story consists of Koroj and the understory consist of Patipata.

Two layer of plants can be seen in the swamp forest. The upper layer consists of trees and the lower one consists of intense Schumannianthus dichotomus. The canopy of the plants spreads up to 15 meters of height.

73 species of plants could be found in the forest till now. 80 percent of the forest area is covered with umbrella of the trees.
Here is the list of swamp plant species of Ratargul Swamp Forest.

List of plant species in Ratargul Swamp Forest, Sylhet.

Sl no. Species Family  Habit Occurrence 
1. Ageratum conyzoides Asteraceae Herb Common
2. Ammania baccifera Lythraceae Herb Common
3. Anisomeles indica Lamiaceae Herb Not very common
4. Argemone mexicana Asteraceae Herb Not Very Common
5. Asparagus recemosus Liliaceae Herb Not Very Common
6. Axonopus compressus Poaceae Herb Common
7. Barringtonia acutangula Lythraceae Tree Common
8. Borreria hispida Rubiaceae Herb Common
9. Calamus guruba Arecaceae Climber Planted
10. Cassia tora Mimosaceae Herb Not Very Common
11. Centella asiatica Umbelliferae Herb Common
12. Cissampelos   praiera Menispermaceae Climber Not Common
13. Clinogyne dichotoma Marantaceae Shrub Planted
14. Coldenia procumbens Boraginaceae Herb Not Very Common
15. Colocasia esculenta Araceae Herb Common
16. Cordia dichotoma Boraginaceae Tree Not Very Common
17. Crataeva nurvala Capparidaceae Tree Common
18. Cyperus tenuispica Cyperaceae Herb Common
19. Cyrtococcus patens Poaceae Herb Common
20. Dioscorea pentaphylla Dioscoreaceae Climber Common
21. Diospyros peregrina Ebenaceae Tree Not Very Common
22. Diospyros phillippersis Ebenaceae Tree Not Very Common
23. Drynaria quercifolla Dryneriaceae Epiphyte Common
24. Eichhornia crassipes Pontederiaceae Herb Common
25. Eleocharis acutangula Cyperaceae Herb Common
26. Eleusine indica Poaceae Herb Common
27. Erianthus ravennae Poaceae Herb Common
28. Eupatorium odoratum Asteraceae Shrub Common
29. Ficus hispida Moraceae Tree Common
30. Ficus religiosa Moraceae Tree Not Very Common
31. Fimbristylis schoenoides Cyperaceae Herb Common
32. Garcinia cowa Guttiferae Tree Not cpentaphylla
33. linus lotoides Molluginaceae Herb Common
34. G. Oppositifolius Molluginaceae Herb Common
35. Glochidion multiloculare Euphorbiaceae Shrub Not Very Common
36. Glycosmis pentaphylla Rutaceae Tree Common
37. Grangea madaraspatana Asteraceae Herb Common
38. Heliotropium indicum Boraginaceae Herb Common
39. Hemidesmus indicus Asclepiadaceae Climber Common
40. Hygrophyla salicifolia Acanthaceae Herb Common
41. Ipomoea fistulosa Convolvulaceae Herb Common
42. Lagerstroemia speciosa Lythraceae Tree Planted
43. Lygodium flexuosum Schizaeaceae Climber Not Very Common
44. Melastoma malabathricum Melastomaceae Shrub Common
45. Merremia umbellata Convolvulaceae Climber Not Common
46. Microsolen cochinchinensis Loranthaceae Climber Parasite
47. Mikania scandens Asteraceae Climber Common
48. Mimosa pudica Mimosaceae Herb Common
49. Nelsonia canescens Acanthaceae Herb Common
50. Nicotiana plumbaginifolia Solanaceae Herb Not Very Common
51. Nymphaea nouchali Nymphaeaceae Herb Not Very Common
52. Phragmites karka Poaceae Herb Common
53. Polygonum hydropipe Polygonaceae Herb Common
54. Polygonum plebejum Polygonaceae Herb Common
55. Pongamia pinnata Fabaceae Tree Planted
56. Pteris vittata Pteridaceae Herb Common
57. Rosa involucrata Rosaceae Shrub Common
58. Saccharum spontaneum Poaceae Herb Common
59. Salix tetrasperma Salicaceae Tree Not Common
60. Schoenoplectus juncoides Cyperaceae Herb Not Very Common
61. Scleria levis Cyperaceae Herb Not Very Common
62. Scoparia dulcis Scrophulariaceae Herb Common
63. Sida cordifolia Malvaceae Herb Common
64. Smilax macrophylla Smilacaceae Climber Common
65. Spilanthes acmella Asteraceae Herb Not Common
66. Sporobolus diander Poaceae Herb Common
67. Steblus asper Rutaceae Tree Not Very Common
68. Syzygium fruticosum Myrtaceae Tree Not Very Common
69. Trewia nudiflora Euphorbiaceae Tree Not Very Common
70. Vernonia cinerea Asteraceae Herb Very Common
71. Vetiveria zizanioides Poaceae Herb Common
72. Zizyphus mauritiana Rhamnaceae Tree Planted
73. Zizyphus oenoplia Rhamnaceae Shrub Common

Animal Diversity 

Ratargul Swamp Forest has been an insecure habitat for different wild animals. Still animal habitation and Variation are getting enriched here. Snake and worm snake can widely be seen in this water-drowned forest. Mongoose can be seen in dry season. Monkey and Water Monitor also resides in the forest. Heron, Egret, Kingfisher, Parrot, Bulbul, Swan, Dove, Water fowl, Eagle and Kite Bird are some of the birds of the swamp forest. Cotton Pygmy Goose and other Migratory birds and Vulture visit the forest in winter. Name of some local fishes available in the forest are Batasio, Rita, Pabda, Rohu etc.

Conclusion

Ratargul Swamp Forest has unique floral and faunal composition than other forested areas of Bangladesh.

To save this swamp environment, government and forest department should make and implement some management policies which should be maintained strictly considering the opinion of the local people.

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