Assessing health, livelihoods, ecosystem services and poverty alleviation in populous deltas

Lead Research Organisation: National Oceanography Centre
Department Name: Science and Technology

Abstract

Delta regions are probably the most vulnerable type of coastal environment and their ecosystem services face multiple stresses in the coming decades. These stresses include, amongst others, local drivers due to land subsidence, population growth and urbanisation within the deltas, regional drivers due to changes in catchment management (e.g. upstream land use and dam construction), and global climate change impacts such as sea-level rise.The ecosystem services of river deltas support high population densities, estimated at over 500 million people globally, with particular concentrations in Southern and Eastern Asia and Africa. A large proportion of these people experience extremes of poverty and are severely exposed to vulnerability from environmental and ecological stress and degradation. In areas close to or below the poverty boundary, both subsistence and cash elements of the economy tend to rely disproportionately heavily on ecosystem services which underpin livelihoods.Understanding how to sustainably manage the ecosystem services in delta regions and thus improve health and reduce poverty and vulnerability requires consideration of all these stresses and their complex interaction. This proposal aims to develop methods to understand and characterise the key drivers of change in ecosystem services that affect the environment and economic status in the world's populous deltas. This will be done through analysis of the evolving role of ecosystem services, exploring the implications of changes for the livelihoods of delta residents, and developing management and policy options that will be beneficial now and in the future in the face of the large uncertainties of the next few decades and beyond.The extensive coastal fringe of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta within Bangladesh has been selected as the pilot study area for this work. This is because Bangladesh is almost entirely located on one of the world's largest and most dynamic deltas. It is characterised by densely populated coastal lowlands with significant poverty, supported to a large extent by natural ecosystems such as the Sunderbahns (the largest mangrove forest in the world). It is under severe development pressure due to many growing cities, eg Khulna and the capital, Dhaka.At present the importance of ecosystems services to poverty and livelihoods is poorly understood. This is due to due to the complexity of interactions between physical drivers, environmental pressures and the human responses to stresses and the resultant impacts on ecosystems. Government policy rarely takes up the ecosystems services perspective and as a result an holistic overview of their value is often overlooked.This project aims to address this gap by providing policy makers with the knowledge and tools to enable them to evaluate the effects of policy decisions on people's livelihoods. This will be done by creating a holistic approach to formally evaluating ecosystems services and poverty in the context of changes such as subsidence and sea level rise, land degradation and population pressure in delta regions. This will be tested and applied in coastal Bangladesh and tested conceptually in other populous deltas.

Planned Impact

See lead proposal

Publications

10 25 50
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Bricheno L (2016) Tidal intrusion within a mega delta: An unstructured grid modelling approach in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

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Bricheno L (2021) Saline intrusion in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna megadelta in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

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Bricheno L (2016) Tidal intrusion within a mega delta: An unstructured grid modelling approach in Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science

 
Description An unstructured-grid model of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta has been constructed and validated. It has been used to look at projections of salinity under climate change and coastal management scenarios. In the future, with changing patterns of precipitation, it will be more difficult to cultivate rice and other crops.
WP5 on Biophysical Modelling has produced a suite of models of climate, hydrology, hydrodynamics, estuarine processes, agriculture, mangroves and fisheries which have been incorporated into the Emulator DeltaDIEM allowing exploration of a range of scenarios of climate and magagement leading to outcomes for livelihood and well-being
Exploitation Route The research findings are already being used in a simplified emulator model to be used by policymakers
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice

URL http://www.espadelta.net/members_area/WP5-archive/
 
Description The work done on this project is being used in informing the policy on coastal zone management in Bangladesh.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Title FVCOM model implementation for the Bay of Bengal/Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta 
Description A 3D baroclinic hydrodynamic model has been implemented for the geographical study area of the project. This allows the calculation of various physical parameters such as sea surface elevation, 3D currents and profiles of temperature and salinity, under various forcing scenarios. This has enabled the calculation of tidal dynamics and salinity intrusion for various future climate scenarios of heating and precipitation, combined with a hydrological model and offshore conditions including sea level rise. This model has been used to provide an emulator version into Delta-DIEM. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The model has been used in the calculation of tidal dynamics and salinity intrusion for various future climate scenarios of heating and precipitation, combined with a hydrological model and offshore conditions including sea level rise. This model has been used to provide an emulator version into Delta-DIEM, which in turn has provided future projections for health and livelihoods for the Bangladesh General Management Division. 
 
Title FVCOM model of GBM Delta 
Description The FVCOM unstructured grid model system has been used to implement a model of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2013 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The model has been used to make projections of the salinity arising from climate change and management scenarios 
 
Title WP5 Suite of Biophysical Models 
Description The various individual models implemented for the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) Delta within this project are collectively described in D5.4 Model Descriptions report. These models include a climate model for the South Asia region, hydrological models of the river catchments, groundwater model, the FVCOM and Delft3D estuarine delta models, the Bay of Bengal coastal hydrodynamic and ecosystem model and agriculture, mangrove and fisheries models. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The model suite has been used in the emulator model DeltaDIEM, developed in WP4, which is being used by policymakers in Bangladesh for exploring climate and management options for the GBM Delta. A book is being prepared describing the model outcomes. 
 
Description Challenger conference presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Bricheno, L., Islam, A. K. M. S., Wolf, J. (2016) "River salinity within a mega delta; tide and river interactions" Oral presentation at Challenger Society , Liverpool
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Conference poster presentation (Rotterdam) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Bricheno, L., Islam, A. K. M. S. and Wolf, J. (2014) River salinity on a mega-delta, an unstructured grid model approach. Poster presentation at Deltas in Times of Climate Change II, Rotterdam, The Netherlands 24 - 26 September 2014
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description EGU Conference Oral Presentation (Vienna) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Bricheno, L. M., Islam, A K M S, Wolf, J. (2014) "River salinity on a mega-delta, an unstructured grid model approach." Presented at EGU General Assembly 2014: Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 16, EGU2014-5273, 2014
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description EGU Conference oral presentation (Vienna) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 9. Wolf, J., Bricheno, L., Chowdhury, M.S.M., Rahman, M., Ghosh, T., Kay, S., and Caesar, J. Assessing the impact of cyclones in the coastal zone of Bangladesh. Oral presentation at EGU 2014. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 16, EGU2014-4773, 2014
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description ESPA conference poster presentation (London) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact 10. Wolf, J., Chowdhury, M.S.M., Rahman, M., Ghosh, T. Bricheno, L., Kay, S. and Caesar, J. Assessing the impact of cyclones in the coastal zone of Bangladesh. Poster presentation at ESPA conference, London, October 2013.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description IUGG Conference poster presentation (Prague) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lucy Bricheno, Akm Saiful Islam, and Judith Wolf (2015) "River salinity on a mega-delta, an unstructured grid model approach." Poster presentation at the 26th IUGG GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Prague
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.iugg2015prague.com/
 
Description Oral conference presentation (Cambridge) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lucy Bricheno, Akm Saiful Islam, and Judith Wolf (2015) River salinity on a mega-delta, an unstructured grid model approach. Oral presentation at The Challenger Society Ocean Modelling Group meeting Corpus Christi College Cambridge
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Oral conference presentation (Liverpool) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lucy Bricheno, Akm Saiful Islam, and Judith Wolf (2015) "River salinity on a mega-delta, an unstructured grid model approach." Oral presentation at the Liverpool Marine Symposium
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Oral presentation (Liverpool) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lucy Bricheno, Akm Saiful Islam, and Judith Wolf (2016) "Physical and Social interactions on the Bangladesh river delta" Oral presentation at Liverpool Marine Symposium
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Oral workshop presentation (Plymouth) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Lucy Bricheno, Akm Saiful Islam, and Judith Wolf (2015) "River salinity on a mega-delta, an unstructured grid model approach." Oral presentation at the 6th UK FVCOM Workshop, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Poster presentation at NERC Fellows meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Bricheno, L., Islam, A. K. M. S., Wolf, J. (2017) "River salinity within a mega delta; tide and river interactions" Poster presentation at NERC Fellows meeting, Birmingham. Wider dissemination of research results beyond the usual audience of researchers in the same discipline
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Workshop oral presentation (Edinburgh) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 11. Lucy Bricheno, Judith Wolf and Akm Saiful Islam, (2013) ESPA river deltas Bangladesh project" Oral Presentations at the 4th UK FVCOM workshop, Edinburgh
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Workshop presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Bricheno, L. and Wolf, J. (2017) "Coastal modelling of a mega delta; tide and river interactions" Oral presentation at GODAE OceanView Fifth International Coordination Meeting of the Coastal and Shelf Seas Task Team (COSS-TT)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.godae-oceanview.org/outreach/meetings-workshops/task-team-meetings/coss-tt-workshop-2017...
 
Description Workshop presentation (Oban) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Lucy Bricheno, AKM Saiful Islam, Judith Wolf (2014) "Ecosystem Services And Poverty Alleviation In Populous Deltas" Oral presentation at the 5th UK-FVCOM workshop at SAMS Oban 17-18 November 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014