Participatory Biodiversity and Ecosystem Monitoring, Impact Assessment and Development of Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change for Some of the Important Coastal Ecosystems of Cox’s Bazar District

Introduction

 
Convincing evidences now exist that climate change has been affecting and will continue to affect the faunal and floral species, leading to extinction of many species or reduction in their abundance; also it may bring about changes in the species composition and dominance. All these changes are very likely to affect the ecosystem functions and integrity, leading to serious ecological catastrophe and thus jeopardizing the livelihood of people historically dependant on its resources The central concept of the proposed proposal is that if the early clues regarding the changes in the ecosystem /biodiversity could be obtained, then it will allow taking precautionary or adaptive measures in well advance so that impacts could be minimized, before it reaches to a catastrophe state. These information will also help in designing and implementing appropriate interventions for mitigating or adapting to climate change. . However, the success and applicability of such impact tracking will largely depend on the appropriateness of the indicators used for monitoring, methods of monitoring and continuity of monitoring program.  Therefore, development of a science-based monitoring system need to consider all these aspects so that the monitoring can continue beyond the project period and information collected are effectively managed and utilized.
 

As the Bangladesh strategy with regard to climate change response is to adapt with the changing climate scenarios, therefore, there is also a strong need for developing adaptation strategies specific to different ecosystems. Local people who experience recurrent disasters inherently developed some strategies within the community to cope with changing situations. These strategies could be improved by blending with science based knowledge and promotion of such improved adaptation strategies thus developed could reduce vulnerabilities and improving the resilience of the local communities to climate change.For the purpose of sustained monitoring, involvement of local community and relevant professionals would be of very important. Therefore, a participatory approach in the monitoring mechanism needs to be in place. Further, the collection of monitoring data is useless unless the data outputs are obtained and the data are not utilized by the users. Therefore, integration of data collection and data analysis mechanism into the monitoring program are to be considered, while ensuring the access to the data by users.  The proposed project areas ( St. Martin’s Island, Teknaf Peninsula and Sonadia Island, Chokoria Sundarbans) represent some of the country’s very important and unique ecosystems as these contain many threatened and ally significant species. These ecosystems are already ecologically fragile. Moreover, these areas, being located at the sea front, are thus highly exposed to climatic events and therefore, thought to be very sensitive to climate change.  The project location is shown in Annex 1.

 

However, the specific objectives would be:

 
To set up a participatory ecosystem/biodiversity monitoring system with a provision for data acquisition and management
 
To collect baseline monitoring data employing the developed monitoring system on some selected important coastal ecosystems
 
To assess the potential impacts of climate change on local ecosystem/ biodiversity and local people
 
To identify and recommend local level adaptation strategies to climate change
 

Major project Activities are

 
Selection of indicators for monitoring
 
Development of data collection methodology
 
Baseline data collection on indicators and data analysis
 
Engagement of school students and community in data collection
 
Formation of network for future data collection and data management
 
Development of web portal for data storage and data inspection
 
Collectio of local level perception climate change and its impacts
 
Documentation of local coping strategies to climate change
 
Development of adaptation strategies
 
Development of a guideline on adaptation to climate change
 

Deliverables of the project

 
A manual embodying the methodology for biodiversity monitoring for tracking impacts of climate change
 
A database with monitoring data collected through the research project
 
A guideline on local level adaptation to climate change.
 
Quarterly Progress Reports and Final Report on the findings of the project.
 
The coastal people are mostly poor and their livelihood is primarily dependent on the exploitation of natural renewable resources and further they are the most vulnerable people to climate change impacts as they are impacted by cyclones, storm surges, sea level rise, salinity intrusion, coastal erosion, etc. almost on a regular basis. Climate change has known negative impacts on agriculture and fisheries and assets. The agricultural field of the coastal people are devastated by cyclones and storm surges, their houses are damaged by cyclones frequently, fishing boats are capsized, their assets are lost and damaged, sometimes life casualties occur due to boat capsizes. Sometimes, fishers can go for fishing due to frequent cyclone warnings and thus their livelihoods are jeopardized. Since coastal communities are poor, they have poor resilience to these recurrent disasters. The proposed project is designed to generate information on the changes in ecosystem and its biodiversity caused due to climate change. These early clues about climate change induced impacts will allow for taking precautionary measures as well as developing adaptation strategies, which in turn will help to maintain ecological integrity and functions resulting in sustenance of the local biodiversity/ resources. The sustenance of the local natural resources, on which the poor people depend, will help the sustenance of the livelihood of the local people. Therefore, the resilience of local people to climate change will increase. The research also aims at identifying the local level climate change impacts and developing corresponding adaptation strategies for local communities to climate change. Such adaptation strategies, among others, may include adaptation to coastal agriculture, fisheries, protection against boat damage and capsize, protection against house damage and loss of assets, protection against loss of life.. A guideline will be developed on the adaptation strategies for the local communities, which they could follow for adapting to altered situation of climate change. It is also hoped that certain adaptation interventions will be undertaken by the relevant agencies and donors and thus will reduce vulnerabilities of local people to climate change.