Asia

Has the Green Revolution Really Succeeded?

Over the past 50 years, human population has more than doubled, but cereal-crop production has grown even faster. Unfortunately, newer high-yield crops are less nutritious.

Overhanging rooks and slumps reveal the much larger amount of erosion and land loss in the Indian Sundarban

Indian Sundarban

We arrived in Kolkata, and filmed by the Hooghly River. While it is no longer the main channel of the Ganges, it is still the Holy Ganges and we saw a funeral procession spreading ashes of a loved one while filming there. Then a 5 hour trip by car, ferry, rickshaw and boat to the Indian Sundarbans. The mangrove forest here is undergoing more erosion and land loss than in Bangladesh, where more river sediments can replenish it. The water here is more saline and the trees are small. A tiger was spotted by another boat, but was gone when we got there.

by |March 30, 2015
A small boat sailing up a scenic river in Mizoram.

Geology and Filming in Mizoram

In the small town of Kolasib, we stayed in Hotel Cloud 9. I had been told since I was a child that I was always off on Cloud 9 and now I was actually here. However, the electricity wasn’t for the first few hours, so showers were cold, but the dinner was hot.

by |March 27, 2015
Tiger pugmarks (footprints) in the tidal channel.  Our guide estimated 5-6 hours old.

Tiger Footprints and Dhaka

We finished our time in the Sundarbans with a silent boat ride in a tidal creek. The highlight was sets of fresh tiger footprints. We then had a long sail back to Dhaka with only one stop at a village. We then had a whirlwind tour of Old Dhaka with enough shopping to send the students back happy.

by |March 24, 2015
As the sun sets, we climb into the launch to leave the island and return to the Kokilmoni

Salt Kilns and Landscape Change in the Sundarbans

Leaving Hiron Point, we headed east through the Sundarbans to Kotka. At Kotka the students had walks through the forest seeing deer, wild boar and monkeys, while a smaller group also sampled near a set of 300 year old salt making kilns for OSL dating. We managed to finish while the tide inundated the site. We ended our day with a visit to an island that has recently emerged from the slain which the succession from bare sand to mangrove is visible.

by |March 21, 2015
Group photo at Hiron Point in the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest - a world heritage site.

Polder 32 and Hiron Point

We visited Polder 32, an embanked island in the delta that was flooded for almost two years when the embankment failed in several places during Cyclone Aila. In addition to the problem of increased subsidence due to the embankment, the area struggles for fresh water. Then we sailed to Hiron Point, a forest station in the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. We serviced equipment we have here while our armed guards watch for tigers.

by |March 20, 2015
Tanner and Yassamin in a discussion at sunset.

Working in the Bangladeshi Countryside

After traveling by boat for two days, including crossing the Sundarban Mangrove Forest, we finally arrived in Khulna. We drove to the site of our compaction meter and separated into teams servicing the instruments, investigating agricultural practices, measuring arsenic in the well water and taking sediment samples for dating. We had finally started our work in rural Bangladesh.

by |March 20, 2015
The M/V Kokilmoni, our home for the next 8 days. This tourist boat for the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest came all the way to Dhaka to pick us up.

Sailing Around Political Unrest in Bangladesh

With the roads in Bangladesh hazardous to drive because of the ongoing political unrest, our undergraduate sustainable development class managed to proceed with our class trip over Spring Break by doing all travel by boat.

by |March 15, 2015
mono-lake-hss

Upcoming Scientific Fieldwork, 2015 and Beyond

On every continent and ocean, Earth Institute field researchers study the dynamics of climate, geology, ecology, human history and more. Here is a list of expeditions going on this year, and beyond.

by |March 10, 2015
One of the myriad brick factories in Bangladesh.  The lack of rocks means bricks are widely used for construction.

Bricks, an Archeological Site and Home

It was time to pack up and leave. Shofiq, who is from Sylhet, was dropped off near his home and the fellowship of the rocks was broken. We settled in for another long drive. We made an impromptu stop at one of the numerous brick factories scattered across Bangladesh. Here, the workers immediately started snapping pictures of us with their phones.

by |March 7, 2014