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A changing coastal ecosystem: Cox’s Bazar in southeastern coastal region of Bangladesh

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Abstract

The southeastern coastline of Bangladesh where the longest natural sea beach Cox’s Bazar is located has experienced more pronounced changes due to human intervention compared to the changes due to storms, cyclones and flooding. Over the past 30 years, nature-dependent livelihood and economic activities have generated employment, income and shelter to people but has also enhanced exposure level and consequent vulnerability and risks to fast growing economic activities and human settlements to projected climate-induced natural disasters. Satellite imageries clearly show the changing land-use pattern due to human intervention. On the ground, questionnaire-based, face-to-face interview method has helped in understanding the key drivers behind the changing economic activities, occupation category-wise exposure and vulnerability of the people along the coast. Fishing, salt-shrimp practice, fish drying, agriculture, tourism, and related small trading business are now the main economic activities, and human settlement expansion has changed the coastal ecosystem. The vulnerability assessment suggests that the fast emergence of salt-shrimp farm-based employment and livelihood is one of the most sensitive to natural threats. As per anthropogenic threats, the hotel and restaurant industries are polluting the most fragile coastal ecosystem.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) under the project “Coastal Ecosystem and Changing Economic Activities: Challenges for Sustainability Transition along the South Asian Coasts” (ARCP2013-07CMY-ROY). We thank all the stakeholders in the study site for their assistance and contributions to the questionnaire surveys.

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Md. Giashuddin Miah conceived the framework of the research and this paper. Md. Rafiqul Islam contributed to conceptualization, methodology, supervision, data curation, investigation, visualization, software, and writing—reviewing and editing. Joyashree Roy performed conceptualization, supervision, and writing and editing. Md. Mezanur Rahman helped in writing—original draft preparation, data curation, visualization, and software. Hasan Muhammad Abdullah contributed to software and validation

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Correspondence to Md. Rafiqul Islam.

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Miah, M.G., Islam, M.R., Roy, J. et al. A changing coastal ecosystem: Cox’s Bazar in southeastern coastal region of Bangladesh. Environ Dev Sustain 25, 6141–6165 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-022-02297-4

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