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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Research project: Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alliviation in Deltas - Dormant

Currently Active: 

This project aims to provide policy makers with the knowledge and tools to enable them to evaluate the effects of policy decisions on people's livelihoods. This is being done by a multidisciplinary and multi-national team of policy analysts, social and natural scientists and engineers. Collectively they are using a participatory approach to create a holistic approach to formally evaluating ecosystem services and poverty in the context of the wide range of changes that are occurring. These changes include subsidence and sea level rise, land degradation and population pressure in delta regions.

Start Date: 1/9/2011

End date: 31/08/2015

The project has developed a systems based model called ΔDIEM to aid poverty alleviation planning in Coastal Bangladesh. The model scope is to test plausible future scenarios and quantify interdependencies of

  • the bio-physical environment and ecosystem services,
  • rural livelihoods, poverty & health
  • associated governance

The model operates at the Unions level on a daily time step. Unions are the smallest rural administrative and local government units in Bangladesh in the agricultural dominated South-West coastal zone. A daily time step is required to resolve the soil water and salt balance dynamic due to environmental drivers (e.g. rainfall, flooding, and evapotranspiration) and human activities (agriculture, aquaculture).

The model is being developed in a genuine participatory approach that includes five main groups of participants. At the very beginning, a broad set of stakeholders (more than 50 agencies) provided the narratives of three plausible future scenarios (termed Business as Usual, More Sustainable and Less Sustainable) that would like to explore. A comprehensive seasonal survey of more than 1500 households provide the ground knowledge about interdependencies between different archetypes of households and ecosystem services.

Related research groups

Environmental Change and Sustainability (ECaS)
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