The impact of climate change and aquatic salinization on mangrove species in the Bangladesh Sundarbans
This paper investigates the possible impacts of climate change on aquatic salinity and mangrove species in the Bangladesh Sundarbans. The impact analysis combines the salinity tolerance ranges of predominant mangrove species with aquatic salinity measures in 27 scenarios of climate change by 2050. The estimates indicate significant overall losses for Heritiera fomes; substantial gains for Excoecaria agallocha; modest changes for Avicennia alba, A. marina, A. officinalis, Ceriops decandra, and Sonneratia apetala; and mixed results for species combinations. Changes in mangrove stocks are likely to change the prospects for forest-based livelihoods. The implications for neighboring communities are assessed by computing changes in high-value mangrove species for the five sub-districts in the Sundarbans. The results of the impact analysis indicate highly varied patterns of gain and loss across the five sub-districts. Overall, however, the results suggest that salinity-induced mangrove migration will have a strongly regressive impact on the value of timber stocks because of the loss of highest value timber species, Heritiera fomes. In addition, the augmented potential for honey production will likely increase conflicts between humans and wildlife in the region.
KeywordsAquatic salinization Bangladesh: Sundarbans Climate change Mangrove
The authors are grateful to Zahir Iqbal, Bangladesh Forest Department, for data on mangrove species in the Sundarbans. The authors are thankful to Yunus Ali, Chief Conservator of Forest, Bangladesh Forest Department, for his expert opinion. The authors would like to extend their special thanks to Lia Sieghart, Glenn-Marie Lange, Mainul Huq, and Michael Toman for their review comments on this paper. The authors also acknowledge help from Polly Means with the graphics.
The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/World Bank and its affiliated organizations, or those of the Executive Directors of the World Bank or the governments they represent.
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