An indicator based approach to assess coastal communities’ resilience against climate related disasters in Indian Sundarbans

Abstract

The article attempts to develop a five dimensional community resilience assessment framework and a composite resilience index against climate related disasters with special applications to the coastal rural communities’ in the developing world. Consequently, it narrates the case study of Indian Sundarbans, which serves as a typical example of a complex & dynamic ‘socio-ecological’ system characterized by dense mangrove forests, high population density and recurrent climate related disasters. In the present study, ‘community resilience’ of 19 coastal administrative blocks of Indian Sundarbans were assessed through a systematic questionnaire survey of administrative officials and the composite resilience scores were found to vary between 2.51 and 3.63 in a five point scale. Out of the 19 coastal blocks only one could be classified as high resilient block and the rest were found to be in low to moderate resilience categories. In general, the extreme coastal blocks were found to be less resilient due to their high exposure & developmental deficit, however, at the same time, the study finds strong correlation of institutional interventions & effective coastal zone management in enhancing the overall resilience scores. The study concludes with broad recommendation of integrated planning for disaster & climate resilience in this eco-fragile region where low impact economic development remains at the central.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Adger WN (2000) Social and ecological resilience: are they related? Prog Hum Geogr 24(3):347–364

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Adger WN, Hughes TP, Folke C, Carpenter SR, Rockström J (2005) Social-ecological resilience to coastal disasters. Science 309(5737):1036–1039

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Auld H (2008) Disaster Risk Reduction under Current and Changing Climate Conditions. WMO Bull 57(2):118–125

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bandyopadhyay S (1997) Natural environmental hazards and their management: a case study of Sagar Island, India. Singap J Trop Geogr 18(1):20–45

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Banerjee A (1998) Environmental Population and Human Settlements of Sundarban Delta. Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi

    Google Scholar 

  6. Béné C, Wood RG, Newsham A, Davies M (2012) Resilience: new utopia or new tyranny? Reflection about the potentials and limits of the concept of resilience in relation to vulnerability reduction programmes. IDS Work Pap 2012(405):1–61

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Costanza R, Farley J (2007) Ecological economics of coastal disasters: Introduction to the special issue. Ecol Econ 63(2):249–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Cutter S (2008) A framework for measuring coastal hazard resilience in New Jersey communities-White Paper for the Urban Coast Institute

  9. Cutter SL, Barnes L, Berry M, Burton C, Evans E, Tate E, Webb J (2008) A place-based model for understanding community resilience to natural disasters. Glob Environ Chang 18(4):598–606

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Cutter SL, Burton CG, Emrich CT (2010) Disaster resilience indicators for benchmarking baseline conditions. J Homel Secur Emerg Manag 7(1)

  11. Danielsen F, Sørensen MK, Olwig MF, Selvam V, Parish F, Burgess ND, Suryadiputra N (2005) The Asian tsunami: a protective role for coastal vegetation. Science (Washington) 310(5748):643

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. DasGupta R, Shaw R (2013) Changing perspectives of mangrove management in India–An analytical overview. Ocean Coast Manag 80:107–118

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. De Bruijn KM (2004) Resilience indicators for flood risk management systems of lowland rivers. Int J River Basin Manag 2(3):199–210

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Edward JP, Lakshmi SA (2010) Coastal Issues and Management Strategy for Sagar Island in Bay of Bengal. Recent Res Sci Technol 2(5)

  15. Folke C (2006) Resilience: The emergence of a perspective for social–ecological systems analyses. Glob Environ Chang 16(3):253–267

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Forest Survey of India (2011) State Forest Report-2011

  17. Gopal B, Chauhan M (2006) Biodiversity and its conservation in the Sundarban Mangrove Ecosystem. Aquat Sci 68(3):338–354

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Gopinath G (2010) Critical coastal issues of Sagar Island, east coast of India. Environ Monit Assess 160(1–4):555–561

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Gopinath G, Seralathan P (2005) Rapid erosion of the coast of Sagar island, West Bengal-India. Environ Geol 48(8):1058–1067

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. INCCA (2010) Climate change and india; A 4 × 4 Assessment, available online at http://www.moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/fin-rpt-incca.pdf

  21. IPCC (2012) Summary for Policymakers. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation. In: Field CB, Barros V, Stocker TF, Qin D, Dokken DJ, Ebi KL, Mastrandrea MD, Mach KJ, Plattner G-K, Allen SK, Tignor M, Midgley PM (eds) A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, pp 1–19

    Google Scholar 

  22. Joerin J, Shaw R (2011) Mapping climate and disaster resilience in cities in Community, Environment and Disaster Risk Management, Emerald Publications, UK, 6, 47–61

  23. Joerin J, Shaw R, Takeuchi Y, Krishnamurthy R (2012) Action-oriented resilience assessment of communities in Chennai, India. Environ Hazards 11(3):226–241

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Kathiresan K, Rajendran N (2005) Coastal mangrove forests mitigated tsunami. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 65(3):601–606

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Klein RJ, Smit MJ, Goosen H, Hulsbergen CH (1998) Resilience and vulnerability: Coastal dynamics or Dutch dikes? Geogr J. 259–268

  26. Knutson TR, Mcbride JL, Chan J, Emanuel K, Holland G, Landsea C, Held I, Kossin JP, Srivastava AK, Sugi M (2010) Tropical Cyclones and Climate Change. Nat Geosci 3:157–163

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Mandal RN, Das CS, Naskar KR (2010) Dwindling Indian Sundarban mangrove: the way out. Sci Cult 76(7–8):275–282

    Google Scholar 

  28. McDaniels T, Chang S, Cole D, Mikawoz J, Longstaff H (2008) Fostering resilience to extreme events within infrastructure systems: characterizing decision contexts for mitigation and adaptation. Glob Environ Chang 18(2):310–318

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. McGranahan G, Balk D, Anderson B (2007) The rising tide: assessing the risks of climate change and human settlements in low elevation coastal zones. Environ Urban 19(1):17–37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Miller F, Osbahr H, Boyd E, Thomalla F, Bharwani S, Ziervogel G, Nelson D (2010) Resilience and vulnerability: complementary or conflicting concepts? Ecol Soc 15(3):11

    Google Scholar 

  31. Mimura N, Nurse L, McLean RF, Agard J, Briguglio L, Lefale P, Payet R, Sem G (2007) Small islands. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 687–716

    Google Scholar 

  32. Mitra A, Gangopadhyay A, Dube A, Schmidt AC, Banerjee K (2009) Observed changes in water mass properties in the Indian Sundarbans (northwestern Bay of Bengal) during 1980–2007. Curr Sci 97(10):1445–1452

    Google Scholar 

  33. Mukhopadhyay A (2009) Cyclone Aila and the Sundarbans: An Enquiry into the Disaster and Politics of Aid and Relief (http://www.mcrg.ac.in/pp26.pdf)

  34. Murphy BL (2007) Locating social capital in resilient community-level emergency management. Nat Hazards 41(2):297–315

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Nakagawa Y, Shaw R (2004) Social Capital: A Missing Link to Disaster Recovery, Int J Mass Emergencies Disasters, 5–34

  36. Nicholls RJ, Branson J (1998) Coastal resilience and planning for an uncertain future: an introduction. Geogr J 164(3):255–258

  37. Nicholls RJ, Cazenave A (2010) Sea-Level Rise and Its Impact on Coastal Zones. Science 328:1517–1520

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Nicholls RJ, Wong PP, Burkett VR, Codignotto JO, Hay JE, McLean RF, Ragoonaden S, Woodroffe CD (2007) Coastal systems and low-lying areas. Climate Change 2007. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 315–356

    Google Scholar 

  39. Norris FH, Stevens SP, Pfefferbaum B, Wyche KF, Pfefferbaum RL (2008) Community resilience as a metaphor, theory, set of capacities, and strategy for disaster readiness. Am J Community Psychol 41(1–2):127–150

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Peacock WG, Brody SD, Seitz WA, Merrell WJ, Vedlitz A, Zahran S, Harris C, Stickney R (2010) Advancing resilience of coastal localities: developing, implementing, and sustaining the use of coastal resilience indicators: A final report. Hazard reduction and recovery center. final report for NOAA CSC grant no. NA07NOS4730147

  41. Small C, Nicholls RJ (2003) A global analysis of human settlement in coastal zones. J Coast Res 584–599

  42. Stanley DJ, Hait AK (2000) Holocene depositional patterns, neotectonics and Sundarban mangroves in the western Ganges-Brahmaputra delta. J Coast Res 26–39

  43. Teo M, Goonetilleke A, Ziyath AM (2013) An integrated framework for assessing community resilience in disaster management. In Proceedings of the 9th Annual International Conference of the International Institute for Infrastructure Renewal and Reconstruction, Risk-informed Disaster Management: Planning for Response, Recovery and Resilience

  44. Thomalla F, Downing T, Spanger‐Siegfried E, Han G, Rockström J (2006) Reducing hazard vulnerability: towards a common approach between disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation. Disasters 30(1):39–48

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. U.S. Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System Program (USIOTWSP) (2007) How Resilient is Your Coastal Community? A Guide for evaluating coastal community resilience to tsunamis and other coastal hazards. U.S. Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System Program supported by the United States Agency for International Development and partners, Bangkok, Thailand

  46. Uy N, Takeuchi Y, Shaw R (2011) Local adaptation for livelihood resilience in Albay, Philippines. Environ Hazards 10(2):139–153

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Vandermeulen H (1998) The development of marine indicators for coastal zone management. Ocean Coast Manag 39(1):63–71

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The first author greatly acknowledges the MEXT (MONBUKAGAKUSHO) scholarship provided by the Japanese Government for conducting research in the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies of Kyoto University. The authors would also like to thank the district administrative officials for their administrative support during the field survey at Indian Sundarbans. In this regard, the continuous support of GCOE-ARS program and CoHHO program (Studies on the Connectivity of Hilltop, Human and Ocean) of Kyoto University is thankfully acknowledged.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rajarshi DasGupta.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

DasGupta, R., Shaw, R. An indicator based approach to assess coastal communities’ resilience against climate related disasters in Indian Sundarbans. J Coast Conserv 19, 85–101 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11852-014-0369-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Community resilience
  • Climate related disasters
  • Resilience indicators
  • Indian Sundarbans