CSDMS 2017 annual meeting Robert Nicholls
Deltas as Coupled Socio-Ecological Systems
Southampton University, UK
At a global scale, deltas significantly concentrate people by providing diverse ecosystem services and benefits for their populations. At the same time, deltas are also recognized as one of the most vulnerable coastal environments, due to a range of adverse drivers operating at multiple scales. These include global climate change and sea-level rise, catchment changes, deltaic-scale subsidence and land cover changes, such as rice to aquaculture. These drivers threaten deltas and their ecosystem services, which often provide livelihoods for the poorest communities in these regions. Responding to these issues presents a development challenge: how to develop deltaic areas in ways that are sustainable, and benefit all residents? In response to this broad question we have developed an integrated framework to analyze ecosystem services in deltas and their linkages to human well-being. The main study area is part of the world’s most populated delta, the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta within Bangladesh. The framework adopts a systemic perspective to represent the principal biophysical and socio-ecological components and their interaction. A range of methods are integrated within a quantitative framework, including biophysical and socio-economic modelling, as well as analysis of governance through scenario development. The approach is iterative, with learning both within the project team and with national policy-making stakeholders. The analysis allows the exploration of biophysical and social outcomes for the delta under different scenarios and policy choices. Some example results will be presented as well as some thoughts on the next steps.
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