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Strengthening community resilience to climate change in the
Indian Sundarbans

Partner: terre de hommes (tdh)

August 2020 - February 2021

The Indian Sundarbans is a highly biodiverse and fragile mangrove ecosystem, at the conflu

 The Indian Sundarbans is a highly biodiverse and fragile mangrove ecosystem, at the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna river delta © Nisha D'Souza

Background

The Sundarbans is the largest continuous extent of mangroves in the world. The low-lying delta is extremely vulnerable to disasters including storms and flooding events. Lives and land are threatened by erosion, sea-level rise and deforestation. Warmer sea-surface temperatures are making rainfall patterns more complex and erratic, causing problems for agriculture, the dominant source of livelihoods. Crop yields have been declining because of rising soil salinity, over the decades. Coupled with this is dramatically declining fish catch - thought to be exacerbated by climate change. As the surface water temperatures change, some species, like the Indian mackerel, are moving to deeper waters, making them harder to catch. All of this is prompting a change in human migration patterns, as people are forced to look elsewhere for work.

 

Consultancy Services Provided

Socio-ecological Resilience Analyses; Programme Strategy Design

 

EcoNiche supported tdh in studying local coastal resilience and coping capacities, designing community-based strategies to secure the future of the Sundarbans, her biodiversity and people. Our proposal integrated long-term interventions for climate adaptation and resilience-building, with short term actions to secure livelihoods, access to food, and clean water & energy. 

 

Outcomes

The proposal was awarded funding by the BMU (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany) in October 2021. By the end of the project at least 250 men and 250 women in climatically vulnerable Gosaba, Hingalganj, Namkhana and Sagar Community Development Blocks (CDBs), in the Indian Sundarbans, will be able to transform their current livelihood practices to incorporate climate-resilience actions, with a self-assessed decrease in time to recover from the impacts of climate shocks experienced within the project period.

The region was designated the Sundarbans Biosphere Reserve (SBR) in 1989 by the Government of India and is dissected into 102 islands (between 3 and 8 meters in height), by an intricate network of distributaries, channels and tidal creeks. Of the total area (9,630 km2), approximately 4,264 km2 is mangrove forest, © Nisha D'Souza

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