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Climate Change Impacts on Natural Springs, Livelihoods and Adaptation Options



The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is a geographically-isolated and ethno-culturally unique area of 17,342 km2 situated in south-east Bangladesh. CHT has been historically important ecosystem with dense forest cover and high tropical biological diversity.  However, in last three to four decades this ecosystem experienced extreme human interference in form of indiscriminate cutting, earth removal and settlement inside and around the forest. The largest natural resource in the CHT is forest, about 325,000 ha 25% of  CHT area) is controlled by the Department of Forest. Shifting cultivation (jhum) is the dominant farming system in the lower and upper hills of CHT. Pressures on land during the past two to three decades have forced jhum farmers to reduce the fallow period. As a result of land degradation caused by reduced fallow periods, deforestation, loss of topsoil, and increased water runoff has serious implications on the resource base of the hill ecosystem. The main causes of the observed changes are: (i) widespread degradation of natural dense forests which have drastically reduced in recent years; (no or drastic reduced flow of water springs (ii) large changes in land use; and (iii) changes in climate: a gradual increase in temperature with erratic rainfall have been observed in the CHT region. Serious landslides in recent years causing both human and huge property loss.  On the other hand, maximum temperature showed increasing trend while minimum temperature decreasing which means the temperature differentials in the region is increasing. Higher temperature will cause higher amount of evapo-transpiration of soil making the cropping difficult and reduction in productivity is eminent. Consequently the forest and biodiversity, watersheds, springs and fisheries productivity, agriculture and food security in the hills are affected by these observed changes of climate.ringsings



What actions do you propose?

Proposed research will attempt to assess the linkages among the climate change, its impacts on natural resources specially as well as livelihoods in the target area. The research would take a unique approach of synergizing spatio-temporal aspects climate change impacts on ecosystem services and livelihood practices in finding sustainable solution for this fragile hill ecosystem. The study would provide a clear and scientific picture of the current state of degraded hill ecosystems, springs and help the policy planners as well as stakeholder to undertake effective program for implementing sustainable ecosystem based services to improve the ecosystem condition and socio-economic condition of the people living in the neighborhood.

Who will take these actions?


Assessment of climate change impacts and identification of adaptation measures considering the current and future stimulies, sensitivity and exposures of the natural and human systems. It will need both qualitative and quantitative approach. A multidisciplinary team of BCAS will work under the leadership of Dr. Atiq Rahman. 

A conceptual framework will be designed which will consist among others the following issues to conduct the study:

·        Situation  and Stakeholder Analysis

·        Literature Review – identify the ecological degradation, trend of temperature and rainfall from meteorological data analysis and poverty stress

·        Participatory research

·        Produce Digital Elevation Model (DEM), relief map, slope and aspect map, land use map and land cover map of the study area

·        Qualitative research in the target area for potential areas of intervention and intervention options through consultations with the communities and stakeholders

·        Synergy of remotely sensed and socio-economic data in GIS environment through spatial and temporal analysis to assess and map the climate change impacts in the CHT

·        Multicriteria vulnerability assessment

·        Explore adaptation options those support sustainable resources management, ecosystem services and livelihood for the community.

  • Identification of potential areas of intervention and intervention options in consultation with communities/other stakeholders
  • Participatory local and regional adaptation action plan
  • Piloting of adaptation options in participatory co-management approach.
  • Dissemination of publication

Where will these actions be taken?

  • South eastern CHT region (Khagrachari, Rangmati and Banderban districts) of Bangladesh

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

What are the proposal’s costs?

Enhanced water production in the watershed and natural springs, ecosystems services and agricultural production in the region. This may help diversify livelihoods of the ethnic communities and conserve natural ecosystems. 

Time line

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