Author/s:

Islam, M.
Hossain, M.
Sunny, A.

Publisher:

Wiley Online Library

Year of Publication:

2018

Mangroves are now well known to provide a range of ecosystem services that benefit local populations, though such ecosystem services are at risk from mangrove deforestation and degradation across much of the tropics. This study aimed to identify the natural and anthropogenic drivers of change that affect ecosystem services of the Sundarbans mangrove forest. Secondary data analysis and primary fieldwork were conducted in three districts in the Sundarbans region of Bangladesh to understand ecosystem service usage and the perceptions of local resource users. Time series data for a range of ecosystem services and biophysical, socio-economic variables were analyzed to identify the range of trends and the significant drivers of change. Also, community perceptions were consulted to elicit how these changes are felt and how they affected the local ecosystem services users. Results show that most of the ecosystem services of the Sundarbans experienced negative changes over the last two decades. Time series analysis and community perceptions held a number of drivers responsible for these changes. Climatic change, rapid environmental change, demand for mangrove products on the global market, major infrastructure development and governance failure were identified as primary drivers leading to the degradation of ecosystem services of the Sundarbans. The study calls for a transformation in the stewardship of ecosystem services of the Sundarbans and other mangroves across the tropics, to escape the situation where negative environmental impacts might be difficult to reverse.

 

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