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Safe operating space for development and ecosystem services in Bangladesh

Safe operating space for development and ecosystem services in Bangladesh
Safe operating space for development and ecosystem services in Bangladesh
This thesis makes a first attempt to operationalize the safe operating space concept at regional scale by considering the dynamic relationships between social and ecological systems. Time series data for a range of ecosystem services (ES) and human wellbeing (HWB) are analysed to understand the co-evolution (trends, change points, slow and fast variables and drivers) of the Bangladesh delta social-ecological system (SES). The linkages between ES and HWB are analysed using regression models (GAM, linear and logistic) to develop a system model, which is used in a system dynamic (SD) model to demonstrate the safe operating space for the SES in the Bangladesh delta. I employ the model to explore eight ‘what if’ scenarios based on well-known challenges (e.g. climate change) and current policy debates (e.g. subsidy withdrawals).

Since the 1980s, HWB has improved in the Bangladesh delta mirroring rising levels of food and inland fish production. In contrast, ES have deteriorated since the 1960s in terms of water availability, water quality and land stability in the Bangladesh delta. The overall results suggest that material well-being (basic materials for a good life) have a strong relationship with provisioning services, which in turn, show a weak relationship with the quality of life (security and health). The SD model suggests that the Bangladesh delta may move beyond a safe operating space when a withdrawal of a 50% subsidy for agriculture is combined with the effects of a 2 oC temperature increase and sea level rise. Further reductions in upstream river discharge in the Ganges would push the system towards a dangerous zone once a 3.5 oC temperature increase was reached. The social-ecological system in the Bangladesh delta may be operated within a safe space by: 1) managing feedback (e.g. by reducing production costs) and the slow biophysical variables (e.g. temperature, rainfall) to increase long-term resilience, 2) negotiating for transboundary water resources and 3) also possibly by revising the global policy (e.g. withdrawal of subsidy) to implement at regional scale. This study demonstrates how the concepts of tipping points, limits to adaptations and boundaries for sustainable development may be defined in real world social-ecological systems.
Sohel, Md Sarwar
c92c3e36-3e6e-4805-a5af-4e2dc72aec5a
Sohel, Md Sarwar
c92c3e36-3e6e-4805-a5af-4e2dc72aec5a
Dearing, John
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7
Eigenbrod, Felix
43efc6ae-b129-45a2-8a34-e489b5f05827
Amoako Johnson, Fiifi
e348fd15-9fe2-472f-a701-2980b8cec4d5

(2017) Safe operating space for development and ecosystem services in Bangladesh. University of Southampton, School of Geography, Doctoral Thesis, 235pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis makes a first attempt to operationalize the safe operating space concept at regional scale by considering the dynamic relationships between social and ecological systems. Time series data for a range of ecosystem services (ES) and human wellbeing (HWB) are analysed to understand the co-evolution (trends, change points, slow and fast variables and drivers) of the Bangladesh delta social-ecological system (SES). The linkages between ES and HWB are analysed using regression models (GAM, linear and logistic) to develop a system model, which is used in a system dynamic (SD) model to demonstrate the safe operating space for the SES in the Bangladesh delta. I employ the model to explore eight ‘what if’ scenarios based on well-known challenges (e.g. climate change) and current policy debates (e.g. subsidy withdrawals).

Since the 1980s, HWB has improved in the Bangladesh delta mirroring rising levels of food and inland fish production. In contrast, ES have deteriorated since the 1960s in terms of water availability, water quality and land stability in the Bangladesh delta. The overall results suggest that material well-being (basic materials for a good life) have a strong relationship with provisioning services, which in turn, show a weak relationship with the quality of life (security and health). The SD model suggests that the Bangladesh delta may move beyond a safe operating space when a withdrawal of a 50% subsidy for agriculture is combined with the effects of a 2 oC temperature increase and sea level rise. Further reductions in upstream river discharge in the Ganges would push the system towards a dangerous zone once a 3.5 oC temperature increase was reached. The social-ecological system in the Bangladesh delta may be operated within a safe space by: 1) managing feedback (e.g. by reducing production costs) and the slow biophysical variables (e.g. temperature, rainfall) to increase long-term resilience, 2) negotiating for transboundary water resources and 3) also possibly by revising the global policy (e.g. withdrawal of subsidy) to implement at regional scale. This study demonstrates how the concepts of tipping points, limits to adaptations and boundaries for sustainable development may be defined in real world social-ecological systems.

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More information

Published date: November 2017
Organisations: University of Southampton, Geography & Environment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 404614
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/404614
PURE UUID: 51b006bb-74bb-460e-a3f5-44a0c4e7ee5f
ORCID for John Dearing: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1466-9640
ORCID for Felix Eigenbrod: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8982-824X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Jan 2017 14:45
Last modified: 07 Jun 2019 00:32

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Contributors

Author: Md Sarwar Sohel
Thesis advisor: John Dearing ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Felix Eigenbrod ORCID iD
Thesis advisor: Fiifi Amoako Johnson

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