Author/s:

Islam, M.
Ali, M.
Amin, M.
Zaman, S.

Publisher:

Springer

Year of Publication:

2010

Geographically, Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to climate change. In particular, impacts of climate variability on agriculture and consequences on other sectors are already evident in the drought prone High Barind Tract and coastal regions. The agriculture and fisheries sectors in the High Barind Tract (HBT) and southern coastal region are very likely to face significant yield reduction in the future due to climate change. Global circulation model results revealed that higher temperature and water stress due to heat results an in decline in vegetation and agricultural production, especially in the drought affected HBT. While the coastal region would suffer from increased degradation of land, salinity intrusion, river bank erosion, siltation, water logging, tidal surge and floods. Drought delays the timely planting of T.Aman rice, the main crop of HBT, while drought in September and October drastically reduces the yield of said crop, and the chance of sowing/planting of different rainfed rabi crops markedly decreases. Nationwide rice production losses due to drought in 1982 were about 50% more than losses due to flood in the same year, particularly in the HBT, >80% T.Aman rice production was lost. Moreover, the ground water table of HBT is continuously going down in the dry season due to over exploitation by deep-tube well. The 1997 drought caused a reduction of around1 million tons of food grain, of which about 0.6 million tons was T.Aman rice, entailing a loss of around $ 500 million. A cyclone in 1970 resulted in 300,000 deaths, and another in 1991 led to the loss of 138,000 lives. These effects are likely to be exacerbated by climate change as peak intensity of cyclones is projected to increase by 5–10%, and precipitation rates may increase by 20–30%. The strength of SIDR and economic losses was caused by the major hurricane in 2007 fit into this trend. Even before the new impacts of SIDR, about 1.2 million hectares of arable land were already affected by varying degrees of soil salinity, tidal flooding during wet season, direct inundation by saline water and upward and lateral movement of saline ground water during the dry ­season. Inundation of brackish water for shrimp farming is a key cause for secondary salinization of coastal lands. The severity of salinity problem has increased over the years and is expected to increase in the future due to rise of sea level. Even in non-cyclonic situations, higher mean sea-levels are going to increase the problem of coastal flooding and salinization, causing significant pressure on livelihood activities. Thus, climate change effect has a large negative impact on the farming systems and livelihoods of rural people of HBT and coastal area and on the overall economy of Bangladesh.

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