Identification and valuation of ecosystem services of the Sundarbans mangrove forest: existing scenario and the way forward towards blue governance in Bangladesh

Nazmul Ahsan, A.O. Debrot, Pierre Failler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

Abstract

Characterized by tidal flats, natural levees and the unique Sundarbans mangroveforest, the coastal zone of Bangladesh is regarded as one of the most productiveecosystems of the world due to regular flush of nutrient rich silts and supply of organic matters from the mangroves. Over the last few decades, however, changes in land use pattern including clearing of mangroves for settlement and agriculture, construction of embankments along the coast to boost rice production and conversion of saline waterlogged agricultural lands to shrimp farming have redefined the coastal landscape and damaged the ecosystem of the coast and the Sundarbans. The tidal forest provides a wide range of ecosystem services (ES) to millions of coastal people, yet unsustainable extraction of resources and traditional economic development continue further jeopardizing the ES potential of mangroves. Lack of knowledge on the value of mangroves ES are largely responsible for such unsustainable practices. True valuation of mangroves ES is a daunting task because all the services cannot be quantified in tangible monetary terms; consequently, efforts in this regard are lacking. Hence, identification of ES and understanding their interplay are crucial to apprehend theactual value of the Sundarbans and its biosphere-supporting contribution to thedynamic delta. This is also necessary to understand how the mangroves ES arecontributing to the wellbeing of the coastal community of Bangladesh whose lives and livelihoods are directly dependent on a healthy ecosystem.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-178
JournalBangladesh Maritime Journal
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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