Alamgir Kabir, Sharif Nehal Rahman, Hosney Jahan Sraboni
Abstract: The south-western coastal zone of Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable regions to recent environmental change of the world due to its geographical position, high population density and increasing poverty. This environmental change put stresses on ecosystem services and such ecosystem vulnerabilities exhibit varied impacts on the entire societal system. Though climate change impacts on environment and ecosystem services are rather well understood in broader range, micro scale research on analysis of the environmental stresses and their consequences on community livelihood vulnerabilities are scarce. This study developed a Livelihood Vulnerability Index (LVI) with an aim to assess community vulnerabilities due to rapid environmental changes in the study area. While developing the LVI, communities of 7 study sites from 3 study locations were selected as a comprehensive representation of the study area population of the south-western Bangladesh. The index is comprised of 31 subcomponents under 7 major components. Sarankhola was the most vulnerable location which was followed by Shyamnagar and Dacope in terms of vulnerability among study are. The developed LVI also revealed that the south-western coastal Bangladesh was most vulnerable in terms of food security, followed by health, social networks, livelihood strategies, natural disasters, water use & scarcity and socio-demographic condition in a descending order of vulnerability. Dependency ratio, agricultural livelihood diversification index, household with annually occurring diseases, household who didn't go to local leaders, household not having enough food throughout the year, household who used natural water sources and household who didn?t receive warning of disasters contributed most to the major components of the LVI. This composite index also provided a quantified comparison of present vulnerability and potential vulnerability. Such intricate comparison helps determining the probable sector for capacity and resilience enhancement while divulging and signifying potential areas of development intervention.
Keywords: Environmental changes, Vulnerability, Livelihood Vulnerability Index LVI, South-western coastal Bangladesh