Designing an Enhanced Bio-diverse Adaptation to Climate Change in the Sundarbans
Aqua culture in a CMAASC plot
The pioneer of CMAAS Culture on his arm
Unnayan Onneshan (UO)
Community / field-based implementation
The Sundarbans is the largest contagious mangrove ecosystem of the world enriched with high biodiversity. The combination of various types of ecosystems (forest, coastal and wetland) makes the Sundarbans home to uniquely-adapted aquatic and terrestrial flora and fauna. A significant number of people maintain their livelihoods by utilising these resources. This globally important ecosystem is now vulnerable due to anthropogenic pressures amidst fragile institutions and ineffective command-driven governance system. On the positive side, the customary sustainable practices and traditional knowledge of traditional resource users contribute to conservation, restoration and sustainable uses efforts, if such is recognised by agencies concerned. This project aimed at designing a pilot project by assessing the sustainability of a traditional knowledge based integrated cultivation method, innovated by the indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs), which combines floral and faunal species as a response to the critical impacts of anthropogenic pressures and climate change on the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. The method has been termed as Community Based Mangrove Agro-Aqua-Silvi-Culture (CMAASC).
- The project organised group consultation with the traditional resource users, conducted participatory vulnerability resource assessments, specified sustainability indicators, assessed the cultivation method based on indicators, undertook a cost-benefit analysis, verified and finalised the findings, designed a pilot project and disseminated the findings at policy level.
- The project has exhibited that CMAASC - a mixture of traditional and scientifically based cultivation of mangrove faunal and floral species – is more profitable and has negligible environmental impacts as compared to commercial shrimp culture, which has caused habitat degradation and biodiversity loss.
- The Cooperatives have mobilised the traditional forest users or Banajibis and provided a space for discussion, consultation, planning, and claiming their rights. Moreover, the Cooperatives have also become platforms for inspiration for innovative options, such as locally available climate adaptive economic activities.
- CMAASC has been found to be a long-term community-based adaptation measure and an alternative to commercial shrimp culture. CMAASC can be promoted as a long-term community-based adaptation measure that responds to the agro- ecological zone’s associated climate risks.
- The community-based biodiverse adaptation mechanisms help reduce pressure on the Sundarbans by reversing mangrove degradation, reducing habitat vulnerability and providing forest resources while ensuring livelihood security for IPLCs through the generation of multiple income sources.
- The contributions of IPLCs towards vulnerable ecosystems and knowledge regarding adaptation to changing ecosystems have to be promoted in the post 2020 CBD framework.
Unnayan Onneshan (UO)
- academic/ research institute
Environmental Protection and Conservation Organisation (EPCO)
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