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Identification and valuation of ecosystem services of the Sundarbans mangrove forest: existing scenario and the way forward towards blue governance in Bangladesh

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Characterized by tidal flats, natural levees and the unique Sundarbans mangrove forest, the coastal zone of Bangladesh is regarded as one of the most productive ecosystems of the world due to regular flush of nutrient rich silts and supply of organic matters from the mangroves. Over the last few decades, however, changes in land use pattern including clearing of mangroves for settlement and agriculture, construction of embankments along the coast to boost rice production and conversion of saline water-logged agricultural lands to shrimp farming have redefined the coastal landscape and damaged the ecosystem of the coast and the Sundarbans. The tidal forest provides a wide range of ecosystem services (ES) to millions of coastal people, yet unsustainable extraction of resources and traditional economic development continue further jeopardizing the ES potential of mangroves ES. Lack of knowledge on the value of mangroves ES are largely responsible for such unsustainable practices. True valuation of mangroves ES is a daunting task because all the services cannot be quantified in tangible monetary terms; consequently, efforts in this regard are lacking. Hence, identification of ecosystem services and understanding their interplay are crucial to apprehend the actual value of the Sundarbnas and its biosphere-supporting contribution to the dynamic delta. This is also necessary to understand how the mangroves ES are contributing to the wellbeing of the coastal community of Bangladesh whose lives and livelihoods are directly dependent on a healthy and functioning coastal ecosystem
Original languageEnglish
JournalBangladesh Maritime Journal
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 28 Feb 2021

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