NATURAL RESOURCES, LIVELIHOODS, AND RESERVE MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY FROM SUNDARBANS MANGROVE FORESTS, BANGLADESH
Free (open access)
Volume 8 (2013), Issue 1
75 - 87
MICHAEL GETZNER & MUHAMMAD SHARIFUL ISLAM
The Sundarbans Reserved Forest, and its surrounding buffer zone, is one of the most diverse and richest areas of natural resource in Bangladesh. It is a part of the largest mangrove forest in the world, with an area of about 10,000 km², of which 6,000 km² are in Bangladesh and about 4,000 km² are part of India: it has been recognized as an internationally important World Heritage and Ramsarsite. The mangroves provide substantial ecosystem services supporting the livelihood of local communities. This paper describes the diverse uses of these natural resources and aims to evaluate the contribution of ecosystem services to the livelihood of residents. The results indicate that residents depend on ecosystem services in two ways. First, local households earn cash income by selling ecosystem products, such as fish, honey, and nipa palm, at local markets. Second, the use of natural resources provides substantial subsistence such as food, fresh water, and timber. However, residents’ income may be significantly increased by improved resource management, including reducing local authority corruption and improvements in law enforcement. Our paper concludes with a range of recommendations for enhancing residents’ standard of living while conserving natural resources.
Ecosystem services, livelihood, park management, production function approach, protected areas.