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Evolutionary social and biogeophysical changes in the Amazon, Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Mekong deltas

Evolutionary social and biogeophysical changes in the Amazon, Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Mekong deltas
Evolutionary social and biogeophysical changes in the Amazon, Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Mekong deltas
Policy-making in social-ecological systems increasingly looks to iterative, evolutionary approaches that can address the inherent complexity of interactions between human wellbeing, provision of goods, and the maintenance of ecosystem services. Here, we show how the analysis of available time-series in tropical delta regions over past decades can provide important insight into the social-ecological system dynamics in deltaic regions. The paper provides an exploratory analysis of the recent changes that have occurred in the major elements of three tropical deltaic social-ecological systems, such as demography, economy, health, climate, food, and water. Time-series data from official statistics, monitoring programmes, and Earth observation data are analysed to explore possible trends, slow and fast variables, and observed drivers of change in the Amazon, Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Mekong deltas. In the Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna delta zone, increasing gross domestic product and per capita income levels since the 1980s mirror rising levels of food and inland fish production. In contrast, non-food ecosystem services, such as water availability, water quality, and land stability appear to be deteriorating. In the Amazon delta, natural and anthropogenic perturbations are continuously degrading key ecosystem services, such as carbon storage in biomass and soils, the regulation of water balance, and the modulation of regional climate patterns. In the Mekong delta, rapid economic development, changing land-use practices, and salinity intrusion are progressively putting more pressure on the delivery of important provisioning services, such as rice and inland aquaculture production, which are key sources of staple food, farm incomes, and export revenue. Observed changes in many key indicators of ecosystem services point to a changing dynamic state and increased probability of systemic threshold transformations in the near future.
1862-4065
1-20
De Araujo Barbosa, Caio Cesar
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Dearing, John
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Szabo, Sylvia
01d6bb83-2775-4470-aa2b-b6afbf936187
Hossain, Sarwar
2eea06cb-2fc3-4a42-af9f-806421ce70f6
Binh, Nguyen Thanh
190cad3d-14c2-4ad3-aeef-13052fb95370
Nhan, Dang Kieu
eef9ea3e-9325-40ad-ba1c-0ce3dfe87e7f
Matthews, Zoe
ebaee878-8cb8-415f-8aa1-3af2c3856f55
De Araujo Barbosa, Caio Cesar
5b42b461-3f41-4cb2-92ee-46ac19f47d57
Dearing, John
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7
Szabo, Sylvia
01d6bb83-2775-4470-aa2b-b6afbf936187
Hossain, Sarwar
2eea06cb-2fc3-4a42-af9f-806421ce70f6
Binh, Nguyen Thanh
190cad3d-14c2-4ad3-aeef-13052fb95370
Nhan, Dang Kieu
eef9ea3e-9325-40ad-ba1c-0ce3dfe87e7f
Matthews, Zoe
ebaee878-8cb8-415f-8aa1-3af2c3856f55

De Araujo Barbosa, Caio Cesar, Dearing, John, Szabo, Sylvia, Hossain, Sarwar, Binh, Nguyen Thanh, Nhan, Dang Kieu and Matthews, Zoe (2016) Evolutionary social and biogeophysical changes in the Amazon, Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Mekong deltas. [in special issue: Special Feature: Original Article Sustainable Deltas: Livelihoods, Ecosystem Services, and Policy Implications] Sustainability Science, 1-20. (doi:10.1007/s11625-016-0371-7).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Policy-making in social-ecological systems increasingly looks to iterative, evolutionary approaches that can address the inherent complexity of interactions between human wellbeing, provision of goods, and the maintenance of ecosystem services. Here, we show how the analysis of available time-series in tropical delta regions over past decades can provide important insight into the social-ecological system dynamics in deltaic regions. The paper provides an exploratory analysis of the recent changes that have occurred in the major elements of three tropical deltaic social-ecological systems, such as demography, economy, health, climate, food, and water. Time-series data from official statistics, monitoring programmes, and Earth observation data are analysed to explore possible trends, slow and fast variables, and observed drivers of change in the Amazon, Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Mekong deltas. In the Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna delta zone, increasing gross domestic product and per capita income levels since the 1980s mirror rising levels of food and inland fish production. In contrast, non-food ecosystem services, such as water availability, water quality, and land stability appear to be deteriorating. In the Amazon delta, natural and anthropogenic perturbations are continuously degrading key ecosystem services, such as carbon storage in biomass and soils, the regulation of water balance, and the modulation of regional climate patterns. In the Mekong delta, rapid economic development, changing land-use practices, and salinity intrusion are progressively putting more pressure on the delivery of important provisioning services, such as rice and inland aquaculture production, which are key sources of staple food, farm incomes, and export revenue. Observed changes in many key indicators of ecosystem services point to a changing dynamic state and increased probability of systemic threshold transformations in the near future.

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de Auraujo Barbosa et al Manuscript_SUST_Science_Eprints.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 1 May 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 May 2016
Organisations: Social Statistics & Demography, Palaeoenvironment Laboratory (PLUS), Global Env Change & Earth Observation

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 394437
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/394437
ISSN: 1862-4065
PURE UUID: 2da780b0-85d3-4a5e-a1f4-d63972cbe2aa
ORCID for John Dearing: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1466-9640

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Date deposited: 18 May 2016 15:16
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 04:21

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Contributors

Author: Caio Cesar De Araujo Barbosa
Author: John Dearing ORCID iD
Author: Sylvia Szabo
Author: Sarwar Hossain
Author: Nguyen Thanh Binh
Author: Dang Kieu Nhan
Author: Zoe Matthews

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