Case Study Areas

The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) Delta is one of the world’s most significant deltas: the Bangladesh coastal fringe of this delta, defined by the Indian border, Khulna, and the Meghna is selected as the case study. It is characterised by densely populated coastal lowlands with significant poverty, supported to a large extent by natural ecosystems such as the Sunderbans (the largest mangrove forest in the world). There is severe development pressure due to the rapidly growing city of Khulna and indirectly due to urban expansion elsewhere (eg Dhaka). Rural livelihoods are inextricably linked with the natural ecosystems and low income farmers are extremely vulnerable to changes in ES. Their health, wellbeing and financial security is under threat from many directions eg unreliable supplies of clean water, increasing salinisation of soils, and arsenic contaminated groundwater. In the worst case, high rates of global SLR, local subsidence and sediment starvation caused by dam construction on the major rivers could result in large areas of the delta being converted to a shallow sea.