Freshwater swamp forests, or flooded forests, are forests which are inundated with freshwater, either permanently or seasonally. They normally occur along the lower reaches of rivers and around freshwater lakes. Freshwater swamp forests are found in a range of climate zones, from boreal through temperate and subtropical to tropical. Ratargul Swamp Forest is the only freshwater swamp forest in Bangladesh.
Ratargul Swamp Forest is located in Goainghat area of Sylhet. This forest is flooded by the water coming from hills of India only in the monsoon period and make the swamp. Other time, it remains dry. Water of this beautiful forest is so clear that you can see the bottom layer. Water level never remains in the same level on this forest. It depends on the quantity of rainfalls. Water level could be 15-20 feet in the forest on the time of heavy rainfall. Total area of the forest is 3325.61 acres, among which 504 acres of forest was declared wildlife sanctuary in 1973.
Main trees of this forest are zigzag style Koroch and Hizal tree. Root of these trees are in two level. One in the ground, and another in the mid level which is used while the forest is flooded in the monsoon time. If someone sees this forest in monsoon time, he may think these trees are born above the water because of the roots in mid level. Among wildlife, monkeys, snakes, frogs, and many types of birds are seen here.
4 months in monsoon period is the best time to explore the forest. You can hire a local wooden boat and spend a whole day wondering and relaxing in the forest. Other time there will be no water in the forest, and you have to walk in clay. If you want to spend a whole day in Sylhet division, Ratargul Swamp Forest is the best place for doing so!
Raw Hasan ( র. হাসান )
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