Sundarbans is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of the Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal. It spans the area from the Baleswar River in Bangladesh's division of Khulna to the Hooghly River in India's state of West Bengal. It comprises closed and open mangrove forests, land used for agricultural purpose, mudflats and barren land, and is intersected by multiple tidal streams and channels. Four protected areas in the Sundarbans are enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Sundarbans West (Bangladesh), Sundarbans South (Bangladesh), Sundarbans East (Bangladesh) and Sundarbans National Park (India).
The literal meaning of Sundarbans (Bengali: সুন্দরবন) is "beautiful forest". Alternatively, it was proposed that the name is a corruption of Samudraban, Shomudrobôn ("Sea Forest"), or Chandra-bandhe, the name of a tribe. However, the likely origin of the word is Sundari or Sundri, the local name of the mangrove species Heritiera fomes abundant in the area.
The Sundarban forest lies in the vast delta on the Bay of Bengal formed by the super confluence of the Hooghly, Padma (both are distributaries of Ganges), Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers across southern Bangladesh. The seasonally flooded Sundarbans freshwater swamp forests lie inland from the mangrove forests on the coastal fringe. The forest covers 10,000 km2 (3,900 sq mi) of which about 6,000 sq km (2,300 sq mi) are in Bangladesh. The Indian part of Sundarbans is estimated to be about 4,110 sq km (1,590 sq mi), of which about 1,700 sq km (660 sq mi) is occupied by water bodies in the forms of river, canals and creeks of width varying from a few metres to several kilometres.
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