Skip to main content
Log in

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

  • Published:
Environment, Development and Sustainability Aims and scope Submit manuscript


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Abbas, S., Mian, S. H., & Lee, S. (2020). Effects of climate on rice yield in the Punjab Province, Pakistan. Journal of the Korean Geographical Society, 55, 379–390.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ahmed, S. S. (2010). Impact of tourism in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh [Master’s thesis]. Bangladesh: North South University. Available from: Accessed 15 March 2020.

  • Ahmed, N. (2013). Linking prawn and shrimp farming towards a green economy in Bangladesh: Confronting climate change. Ocean & Coastal Management, 75, 33–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ahmed, N., Cheung, W. W., Thompson, S., & Glaser, M. (2017). Solutions to blue carbon emissions: Shrimp cultivation, mangrove deforestation and climate change in coastal Bangladesh. Marine Policy, 82, 68–75.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ahsan, M. K., Ghosh, S. K., Runa, N. S., Hasan, M. M., & Kamal, M. (2016). Study on marketing channel and value chain analysis of some commercially important marine fish species available in Cox s Bazar area, Bangladesh. Research in Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, 3, 195–201.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Al Mamun, M. A., Raquib, M., Tania, T. C., & Rahman, S. M. K. (2014). Salt industry of Bangladesh: A study in the Cox’s Bazar. Banglavision, 14, 7–17.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alongi, D. M. (2015). The impact of climate change on mangrove forests. Current Climate Change Reports., 1, 30–39.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baird, A. H., Bhalla, R. S., Kerr, A. M., Pelkey, N. W., & Srinivas, V. (2009). Do mangroves provide an effective barrier to storm surges? PNAS, 106, E111.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barua, P., Rahman, S. H., & Molla, M. H. (2017). Sustainable adaptation for resolving climate displacement issues of south eastern islands in Bangladesh. International Journal of Climate Change Strategies and Management, 9, 790–810.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • BARC-CIMMYT. (2006). Bangladesh country almanac ver.3.0 — a CD-based spatial database. A user friendly GIS tool for agricultural, Forestry and Natural Resource Management.

  • BBS. (2001). Statistical yearbook of bangladesh. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), Ministry of Planning, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  • BBS. (2011). Population census—2011. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), Ministry of Planning Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  • BBS. (2014). Handbook of agricultural statistics. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), Ministry of Planning, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  • Bhuiyan, M. B. (2016). Socio-economic impact of tourism in Cox’s Bazar: a study of local residents’ attitude (Master’s Thesis, University of Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh).

  • CCC. (2016). Assessment of sea level rise on Bangladesh Coast through Trend Analysis, Climate Change Cell (CCC), Department of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Bangladesh.

  • Chen, J., & Mueller, V. (2018). Coastal climate change, soil salinity and human migration in Bangladesh. Nature Climate Change., 8, 981–985.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cloern, J. E., Abreu, P. C., Carstensen, J., Chauvaud, L., Elmgren, R., Grall, J., Greening, H., Johansson, J. O. R., Kahru, M., Sherwood, E. T., Xu, J., & Yin, K. (2016). Human activities and climate variability drive fast-paced change across the world’s estuarine–coastal ecosystems. Global Change Biology, 22, 513–529.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dasgupta, S., Huq, M., Khan, Z. H., Ahmed, M. M. Z., Mukherjee, N., Khan, M. F., & Pandey, K. (2014). Cyclones in a changing climate: The case of Bangladesh. Climate and Development., 6, 96–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • DCLG. (2016). Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). Coastal Communities Fund, Annual Progress Report, 2015. UK Government and Big Lottery Fund.

  • Depledge, M., Lovell, R., Wheeler, B., Morrissey, K., White, M., & Fleming, L. (2017). Future of the sea: Health and wellbeing of coastal communities. Government Office for Science 1 Victoria Street London.

  • DOF. (2018). Yearbook of Fisheries Statistics of Bangladesh, 2017–18. Fisheries Resources Survey System (FRSS), Department of Fisheries (DOF), Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Bangladesh, 2018. Vol. 35, p. 129.

  • Duarte, C. M., Losada, I. J., Hendriks, I. E., Mazarrasa, I., & Marba, N. (2013). The role of coastal plant communities for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Nature Climate Change, 3, 961–968.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Duke, N. C. (2016). Oil spill impacts on mangroves: Recommendations for operational planning and action based on a global review. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 109, 700–715.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Elliott, M., Day, J. W., Ramachandran, R., & Wolanski, E. (2019). A synthesis: What is the future for coasts, estuaries, deltas and other transitional habitats in 2050 and beyond? Coasts and Estuaries.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fatema, T., & Miah, T. H. (2011). Rice versus shrimp farming in Khulna district of Bangladesh: Interrelations of field level data. Bangladesh Journal of Agricultural Economics, XXXIV, 129–140.

  • Fatema, S., Marandi, A., Zahid, A., Hassan, M. Q., Hossain, M. A., & Schüth, C. (2018). Seawater intrusion caused by unmanaged groundwater uses in a coastal tourist area, Cox’s Bazar. Bangladesh. Environtal Earth Sciences, 77, 75.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fedorov, G. M., Kuznetsova, T. Y., & Razumovskii, V. M. (2017). How the proximity of the sea affects development of economy and the settlement pattern in kaliningrad oblast. Regional Research of Russia, 7, 352–362.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • GED. (2018). Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100: Baseline Studies. Socio-economic Aspects of Bangladesh, General Economics Division (GED), Bangladesh Planning Commission, Ministry of Planning (Alam, S. de Heer, J. & Choudhury G. (eds.). 2100 BL Study Volume 5 Socio-economic Aspects of the Bangladesh Delta.pdf

  • Haque, M. M., Rabbani, M. G., & Hasan, M. K. (2015). Efficiency of marine dry fish marketing in Bangladesh: A supply chain analysis. The Agriculturists, 13, 53–66.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hoque, M. A. A., Ahmed, N., Pradhan, B., & Roy, S. (2019). Assessment of coastal vulnerability to multi-hazardous events using geospatial techniques along the eastern coast of Bangladesh. Ocean & Coastal Management.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hossain, M. A. R., Belton, B., & Thilsted, S. H. (2015). Dried fish value chain in Bangladesh (p. 120). WorldFish, Bangladesh and South Asia Office, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  • Hossain, M. S., Chowdhury, S. R., & Sharifuzzaman, S. M. (2017). Blue economic development in Bangladesh: A policy guide for marine fisheries and aquaculture (p. 32). University of Chittagong, Bangladesh.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hossain, M. S., Hossain, M. Z., & Chowdhury, S. R. (2006). An analysis of economic and environmental issues associated with sea salt production in Bangladesh and Thailand Coast. International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 32, 159–172.

    Google Scholar 

  • ICZMP. (2002). Perceptions of the direct stakeholders on coastal livelihoods: An unpublished study report of ICZMP project. Bangladesh: WARPO, Ministry of Water Resources.

  • IPCC. (2013). Climate change 2013: The physical science basis. Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press. United Kingdom

  • IPCC. (2014). Summary for policymakers. In: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability. Part A: Global and sectoral aspects. contribution of working Group II to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change [Field, C.B., Barros, V.R., Dokken, D.J., Mach, K.J., Mastrandrea, M.D., Bilir, T.E., Chatterjee, M., Ebi, K.L., Estrada, Y.O., Genova, R.C., Girma, B., Kissel, E.S., Levy, A.N., MacCracken, S., Mastrandrea, P.R., & White, L.L. (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, pp. 1–32.

  • IPCC. (2018). Summary for policymakers. In: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty [Masson-Delmotte, V., Zhai, P., Pörtner, H.-O., Roberts, D., Skea, J., Shukla, P. R., Pirani, A., Moufouma-Okia, W., Péan, C., Pidcock, R., Connors, S., Matthews, J. B. R., Chen, Y., Zhou, X., Gomis, M. I., Lonnoy, E., Maycock, T., Tignor, M., & T. Waterfield (eds.)]. World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

  • Islam, M. R. (2004). Where land Meets the sea: A profile of the coastal zone of Bangladesh. Dhaka: The University Press Limited.

  • Islam, M. M., Shamsuzzaman, M. M., Mozumder, M. M. H., Xiangmin, X., Ming, Y., & Jewel, M. A. S. (2017). Exploitation and conservation of coastal and marine fisheries in Bangladesh: Do the fishery laws matter? Marine Policy, 76, 143–151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jahan, K. M., Belton, B., & Viswanathan, K. K. (2014). Communication strategies for managing coastal fisheries conflicts in Bangladesh. Ocean & Coastal Management, 92, 65–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jinu, G. V. (2018). Coastal pollution and eco problems in Kerala. Shanlax International Journal of Arts, Science and Humanities, 6, 41–44.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kaliraj, S., Chandrasekar, N., Ramachandran, K. K., Srinivas, Y., & Saravanan, S. (2017). Coastal landuse and land cover change and transformations of Kanyakumari coast, India using remote sensing and GIS. The Egyptian Journal of Remote Sensing and Space Sciences, 20, 169–185.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marshall, N. A., Marshall, P. A., Tamelander, J., Obura, D., Malleret-King, D., & Cinner, J. E. (2010). A framework for social adaptation to climate change: Sustaining tropical coastal communities and industries. IUCN.

    Google Scholar 

  • Martinez, M. L., Intralawan, A., Vazquez, G., Perez-Maqueo, O., Sutton, P., & Landgrave, R. (2007). The coasts of our world: Ecological, economic and social importance. Ecological Economics, 63, 254–272.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Masselink, G., & Gehrels, R. (2014). Introduction to coastal environments and global change. In: Masselink, G., Gehrels, R. (Eds.), Coastal environments and global change, pp. 1–27.

  • Mazhar, N., Mirza, A. I., Abbas, S., Akram, M. A. N., Ali, M., & Javid, K. (2021). Effects of climatic factors on the sedimentation trends of Tarbela Reservoir, Pakistan Pakistan. SN Applied Sciences, 3, 122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mehvar, S., Filatova, T., Sarker, M. H., Dastgheib, A., & Ranasinghe, R. (2019). Climate change-driven losses in ecosystem services of coastal wetlands: A case study in the west coast of Bangladesh. Ocean & Coastal Management, 169, 273–283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Minar, M., Hossain, M. B., & Shamsuddin, M. (2013). Climate change and coastal zone of Bangladesh: Vulnerability, resilience and adaptability. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, 13, 114–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • MOA. (2012). Master Plan for Agricultural Development in Southern Region of Bangladesh. Dhaka, Bangladesh: Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

  • Mullick, M. R. A., Tanim, A. H., & Islam, S. S. (2019). Coastal vulnerability analysis of Bangladesh coast using fuzzy logic based geospatial techniques. Ocean and Coastal Management, 174, 154–169.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Murty, P. L. N., Bhaskaran, P. K., Gayathri, R., Sahoo, B., Kumar, T. S., & SubbaReddy, B. (2016). Numerical study of coastal hydrodynamics using a coupled model for Hudhud cyclone in the Bay of Bengal. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 183, 13–27.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Newton, A., Brito, A. C., Icely, J. D., Derolez, V., Clara, I., Angus, S., Schernewski, G., Inácio, M., Lillebø, A. I., Sousa, A. I., Béjaoui, B., Solidoro, C., Tosic, M., Cañedo-Argüelles, M., Yamamuro, M., Reizopoulou, S., Tseng, H.-C., Canu, D., Roselli, L., … Khokhlov, V. (2018). Assessing, quantifying and valuing the ecosystem services of coastal lagoons. Journal of Nature Conservation, 44, 50–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Newton, A., Icely, J., Cristina, S., Brito, A., Cardoso, A. C., Colijn, F., Dalla Riva, S., Gertz, F., Hansen, J. W., Holmer, M., & Ivanova, K. (2014). An overview of ecological status, vulnerability and future perspectives of European large shallow, semi-enclosed coastal systems, lagoons and transitional waters. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 140, 95–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pan, S., Li, G., Yang, Q., Ouyangm, Z., & Lockaby, G. (2013). Monitoring land-use and land-cover change in the Eastern Gulf Coastal Plain using multi-temporal Landsat imagery. Journal of Geophysics & Remote Sensing, 2, 108.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Patro, S. G. K., & Sahu, K.K. (2015). Normalization: A Pre-processing stage. arXiv:1503.06462

  • Paul, B. K., & Rashid, H. (2017c). Climate change and sea level rise in Bangladesh. In Paul, B. K., & Rashid, H. (Eds.), Climatic hazards in coastal Bangladesh (pp. 83–120). Butterworth-Heinemann.

  • Paul, B. K., & Rashid, H. (2017b). Introduction. In Paul, B. K., & Rashid, H. (Eds.), Climatic hazards in coastal Bangladesh (pp. 1–34), Butterworth-Heinemann.

  • Paul, B. K., & Rashid, H. (2017a). Coastal landform changes: Coastal erosion, land accretion and subsidence. In Paul, B. K., & Rashid, H. (Eds.), Climatic hazards in coastal Bangladesh (pp. 121–152), Butterworth-Heinemann.

  • Paul, P. C., Reza, M. S., Islam, M. N., & Kamal, M. (2018). A review on dried fish processing and marketing in the coastal region of Bangladesh. RALF, 5, 381–390.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rahman, M. M., Mostofa, M. G., Rahman, M. A., Islam, M. R., Keya, S. S., Das, A. K., Miah, M. G., Kawser, A. Q. M. R., Ahsan, S. M., Hashem, A., & Tabassum, B. (2019). Acetic acid: A cost-effective agent for mitigation of seawater-induced salt toxicity in mungbean. Scientific Reports, 9, 15186–15186.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rahman, S., & Rahman, M. A. (2015). Climate extremes and challenges to infrastructure development in coastal cities in Bangladesh. Weather and Climate Extremes, 7, 96–108.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rakib, M. A., Sasaki, J., Pal, S., Newaz, M. A., Bodrud-Doza, M., & Bhuiyan, M. A. (2019). An investigation of coastal vulnerability and internal consistency of local perceptions under climate change risk in the southwest part of Bangladesh. Journal of Environmental Management, 231, 419–428.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rekha, R. S. (2018). Exploring the cognitive image of tourists for visiting Cox’s Bazar as a tourism destination in Bangladesh. Journal of Business Studies, 20.

  • Roy, J., & Mahmud, H. (2021). Reconfiguring the energy progress of Bangladesh, White Board, December.

  • Roy, J., Sheikh Tawhidul Islam, S. T., & Pal, I. (2021b), Implementation framework for sustainable development: What matters in the context of Bangladesh? International Energy Journal, 21, Special Issue 1A, 1–8.

  • Roy, J. (2021). Basket case to Beacon: How Bangladesh Transformed itself into a modern resilient society, Breakthrough Journal, No 14, summer, pp. 93–105.

  • Roy, J., Datta, S., Kapuria, P., Guha, I., Banerji, R., Miah, M. G. M., Islam, M. R., Ratnasiri, J., Kumara, P. B. T. P., Lokuhetti, C. S., & Vidanage, S. P. (2021). Coastal ecosystems and changing economic activities: Challenges for sustainability transition (pp. 425–441). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sannigrahi, S., Chakraborti, S., Joshi, P. K., Keesstra, S., Sen, S., Paul, S. K., Kreuter, U., Sutton, P. C., Jha, S., & Dang, K. B. (2019). Ecosystem service value assessment of a natural reserve region for strengthening protection and conservation. Journal of Environmental Management, 244, 208–227.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sarker, S., Bhuyan, M. A. H., Rahman, M. M., Islam, M. A., Hossain, M. S., Basak, S. C., & Islam, M. M. (2018). From science to action: Exploring the potentials of Blue Economy for enhancing economic sustainability in Bangladesh. Ocean & Coastal Management, 157, 180–192.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sayeda, T. (2017). The effects of mass tourism: An evaluative study on Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. IOSR -JHSS., 22, 31–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shameem, M. I. M., Momtaz, S., & Rauscher, R. (2014). Vulnerability of rural livelihoods to multiple stressors: A case study from the southwest coastal region of Bangladesh. Ocean & Coastal Management, 102, 79–87.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Shamsuzzaman, M. M., Xiangmin, X., Ming, Y., & Tania, N. J. (2017). Towards sustainable development of coastal fisheries resources in Bangladesh: An analysis of the legal and institutional framework. Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 17, 833–841.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Simpson, M. (2013). Impacts of climate change on tourism (and marine recreation). MCCIP Science Review, 271–283.

  • Spalding, M. D., Ruffo, S., Lacambra, C., Meliane, I., Hale, L. Z., Shepard, C. C., & Beck, M. W. (2014). The role of ecosystems in coastal protection: Adapting to climate change and coastal hazards. Ocean & Coastal Management, 90, 50–57.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Uddin, M. N., Islam, A. S., Bala, S. K., Islam, G. T., Adhikary, S., Saha, D., Haque, S., Fahad, M. G. R., & Akter, R. (2019). Mapping of climate vulnerability of the coastal region of Bangladesh using principal component analysis. Applied Geography, 102, 47–57.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • UNEP. (2014). The importance of mangroves to people: A call to action. UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vivekananda, J., Schilling, J., Mitra, S., & Pandey, N. (2014). On shrimp, salt and security: Livelihood risks and responses in South Bangladesh and East India. Environment, Development and Sustainability., 16, 1141–1161.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wester, P., Mishra, A., Mukherji, A., & Shrestha, A. B. (2019). The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment—mountains, climate change, sustainability and people. Cham: Springer.

  • WorldFish. (2013). Greater Harvest and Economic Returns from Shrimp (GHERS). Final Program Performance Report, WorldFish, Dhaka.

  • Yee, S. (2010). REDD and BLUE carbon: Carbon payments for mangrove conservation. UC San Diego: Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. Retrieved from

Download references


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.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



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

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Md. Rafiqul Islam.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: