Roy, B., Penha-Lopes, G.P., Uddin, M.S., Kabir, M.H., Capela Lourenço, T. & Torrejano, A. (2022) Sea level rise induced impacts on coastal areas of Bangladesh and local-led community-based adaptation.International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 73, 102905. DOI:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.102905 (IF2020 4,320; Q2 Geosciences, Multidisciplinary)
Bangladesh is as a low-lying country, susceptible to various Sea Level Rise (SLR) induced impacts. Previous studies have separately explored SLR effects on Bangladesh's coastal ecosystems and livelihoods, across multiple spatial and temporal scales. However, empirical studies acknowledging local population's perceptions on the causal factors to different SLR induced physiographic impacts, their effects at societal scale and ongoing adaptation to these impacts of SLR have not been able to establish a causal-linkage relationship between these impacts and their potential effects. Our study explores how SLR has already impacted the lives and livelihoods of coastal communities in Bangladesh and how these have been responded by adopting different adaptative measures. We applied a qualitative community-based multistage sampling procedure, using two Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools, namely Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and Community Meetings (CM), to collect empirical data about SLR effects on livelihoods and implemented adaptation responses. Our study found that both man-made and natural causes are responsible for different physiographic impacts of SLR, and which seem to vary between place and context. Five major SLR induced impacts were identified by coastal communities, namely: salinity increase, rising water levels, land erosion, waterlogging and the emergence of char land. Salinity increase and land erosion are the two most severe impacts of SLR resulting in the largest economic losses to agriculture. Our results highlight how coastal communities in Bangladesh perceive the impacts of SLR and the benefits of different adaptation processes set in motion to protect them, via development projects and other local interventions.