Background and Present Status of the Problem:

Shoreline changes induced by erosion and accretion are natural processes that take place over a range of time scales [1]. In terms of short term change the events like – storms, regular wave action, tides and winds are responsive, while in terms of long term change the events such as glaciation or orogenic cycles that may significantly alter sea levels (rise/fall) and tectonic activities that cause coastal land subsidence or emergence are reactive. Wind, waves and currents are natural forces that easily move the unconsolidated sand and soils in the coastal area, resulting in rapid changes in the position of the shoreline. On the contrary, the depositional process may also act as prominent factors to change the shore line of low deltaic plains.

The coastlines in Bangladesh are naturally dynamic, the result of continuous erosion and accretion processes. Physiographically, the coast of Bangladesh can broadly classified into three major divisions: Ganges delta, Meghna estuary and Chittagong coastal plain belt, each with their own numerous distinct environments. The three mighty river systems, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, and the Meghna Rivers carry tremendous quantities of sediment; much of the sediments are entrained by waves and currents, while there is a net accumulation of sediment (delta building) at the river mouth known [2][3]. These sediments compensate the natural compaction and subsidence of the delta and keep its size stable, relatively. Sediment replenishment is considered to balance subsidence of the delta, a considerable factor for shore line changes due to sea level rise in Bangladesh [2]. The change in shoreline is expected to be impacted by the anticipated sea level rise along the coast of Bangladesh due to global climate change. According to the IPCC (2007), the projected global mean sea level rise at the end of this century under the SRES B1 scenario by 0.18 to 0.38 m, B2 by 0.20 to 0.43 m, A1B by 0.21 to 0.48 m, and A2 by 0.23 to 0.51 m, respectively [4]. A number of analyses of observed sea level rise at different points have been made [5][6], together with a number of predictions of the impacts of future sea level rise on coastal land mass [7][8][9].

The shoreline change in Bangladesh has a great significance regarding coastal environment such as – coastal ecosystem, biodiversity, land use system, and socioeconomic condition of the community. The people of the coastal area face the consequences of this change. Importantly, local (or relative) changes of shore line determine the preparation of coastal risk and vulnerability management and land use planning.

Objectives with Specific Aim and Possible Out Come:

The main focus of the research will be to investigate “the changes of shore line along the coast of Bangladesh and the perception of the local people about the change”. Accordingly, the following specific objectives have been set for the study:

(i) Investigate the change of the shore line; and
(ii) Studying community perception regarding the change with PRA implementation

The outcome of the study will provide useful insights into coastal land use management and adaptation measures against the on-going and future threats of shoreline changes on coastal ecosystem and livelihoods.

Outline of Methodology:

For this study Geographical Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) tools will be used to determine the change of the shoreline. These tools will be used to investigate the variations of this change over time. For GIS and RS analysis, ILWIS software [10] will be for image processing, geometric correction, and digitization. Application of GIS and RS will also require ground truthing, which will be done by conducting a number of field verifications. The use of GPS will be very handy in this regard.

In addition to analyzing satellite images, Participatory Research Appraisal (PRA) tools will be also used to verify the conditions which have led to shore line changes according to local people’s perception. The study will be conducted at Chittagong – the south-east coastal region of Bangladesh.

Field investigation through participatory approaches will include, firstly, a number of transect walks, which will help obtain a firsthand information about the conditions of shoreline changes and also verify the observations of the local people. A time series analysis with the local people will help identify the historical changes, the causes of changes and their impacts. This will also provide an opportunity to validate the findings from the RS and GIS tools. Use of a number of other tools like Cause and Effect Diagram, Key Informants Interview and Focus Group Discussions (FGD) is expected to give a very good insight about the causes (which usually are very complex) of the changes and their consequences. FGDs, in particular, are expected to help investigate the common impacts which the people are facing and the adaptation measures which they have taken historically due to this change.



[1] Prasetya, G. (2011). The Role of Coastal Forests and trees in Protecting Against Coastal Erosion, Chapter 4: Protection from Coastal Erosion, FAO Corporate Document Reposity, viewed 12 October 2011, http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/ag127e/AG127E09.htm

[2] Amin, M.N.S. (2008). Coastal Environments an Overview, Studies on Coastal Environments in Bangladesh, A H Development Publishing House, Dhaka.

[3] Broadus, J.M. (1993). Possible Impacts of, and Adjustment to, Sea Level Rise: the Cases of Bangladesh and Egypt, In: Warrick, R.A., Barrow, E.M. and Wighley, M.L. (Ed.). Climate and Sea Level Change: Observation, Projection and Implication, Cambridge University press, Cambridge.

[4] IPCC (2007) Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

[5] SMRC (2000). The Vulnerability Assessment of the SAARC Coastal Region due to Sea Level Rise: Bangladesh Case (SMRC Publication No. 3), SAARC Meteorological Research Center, Dhaka, September 2000.

[6] Singh, O.P., Khan, T.M.A., and Rahman, M.S. (2000). The Vulnerability Assessment of the SAARC Coastal Region due to Sea Level Rise: Bangladesh Case. SMRC-No.3, SMRC Publication.

[7] Agarwala, S., Ota, T., Ahmed, A.U., Smith, J., and van Aalst, M. (2003). Development and Climate Change in Bangladesh: Focus on Coastal Flooding and the Sunderbans, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Paris, 2003.

[8] NAPA (Bangladesh) (2005). Formulation of Bangladesh Program of Action for Adaptation to Climate Change Project.

[9] World Bank (2000). Bangladesh Climate Change & Sustainable Development, World Bank Report No 21104 BD, Dhaka, October 2000.

[10] ITC (2005). Integrated Land and Water Information System (ILWIS), Academic version 3.3, Unit Geo Software Development, IT Department, International Institute for Aerospace Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC), Netherlands.


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