Effects of changes in land-use and natural disasters on social-ecological resilience and vulnerabilities in coastal Bangladesh
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Natural disasters and land-use change are major concerns all over the world, and if these two concerns exist together in a coastal area, then the consequences for people and the environment may be severe. This study investigated the changes in land-use in the past 10 years in Shyamnagar Upazila of the south-west coastal area of Bangladesh. The drivers of land-use change and the occurrence of disasters were explored in relation to their effects on social and ecological systems. Satellite images were analyzed to detect changes in land-cover in the last 13 years. Three areas were selected for on-the-ground data collection. Household surveys were conducted to discover the type, level and effects of disasters. Focus Group Discussions and personal interviews were also conducted to explore the drivers behind changes in land-use. Probability regression analysis was performed to assess the relationship between various disasters with overall income, agricultural production and outward migration. Results from image analysis showed an overall 21 percent increase in shrimp culture ponds in the past 13 years. Agricultural land and forest resources decreased by 48 and 3 percent, respectively, while barren and built up areas increased by 71 percent. Analysis of household data showed that cyclones and tidal floods had significant effects on income, agricultural production and migration. Social, economic and political factors combined with natural causes were found to be the main drivers behind land-use changes. These empirical findings suggest that social and ecological resilience was reduced and vulnerabilities increased in this part of coastal Bangladesh for these reasons between 1999 and 2012.