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Cycle 6 (2017 Deadline)

Ecosystem services in a changing climate: assessing critical services in Bangladesh rice production landscapes

PI: Md Panna Ali,, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)
U.S. Partner: Douglas A. Landis, Michigan State University
Project dates: December 2017 - November 2020

Project Overview:

Rice contributes more than 80% of the total food supply in Bangladesh, including 76% of daily caloric intake and 66% of total protein requirements (Brolley 2015; Bhuiyan et al. 2002). The coastal region of Bangladesh, which covers 20% of the country and more than 30% of the cultivable land and contributes 16% of the total rice production, is the most vulnerable region to climate change (Minar et al. 2013). Moreover, due to increasingly variable rainfall leading to a reduction in freshwater flows, about 53% of the coastal areas are experiencing salinity intrusions that restrict crop production (Rahman 2012). As a consequence, rice productivity in this area is 70% lower than the national average. In this project, Dr. Ali and his colleagues will quantify the potential impacts of changing conditions on ecosystem services by quantitatively determining the impact of climate variability on the provision of four key ecosystem services: carbon sequestration, pest suppression, water supply, and rice production. They will use spatially explicit models to project future patterns of terrestrial ecosystems and the production and values of ecosystem services. The scientific understanding of the links between climate, ecosystems, and economic value is still unknown or poorly developed for Bangladesh. Therefore, this collaborative research effort involving U.S. experts focused on developing models and estimating the impacts of changing conditions on ecosystem services in Bangladesh will be an important tool for reversing current and future losses in the economic value of Bangladesh’s natural ecosystems.

The area where the project will be conducted is characterized by lower rice productivity due to limited ecosystem services. Therefore, identification of the ecosystem services that induce lower rice production and those that are predicted to be most vulnerable to environmental change in the future is a critical component of enhancing productivity in the region. In this project, the research team will analyze environmental impacts on crop production systems and suggest appropriate coping strategies and adaptation options for improving coastal agriculture, both for increased agricultural production and for better livelihoods for the vulnerable farming community. As a whole, this project will not only provide the scientific community with evidence to overcome anecdotal information, a hindrance to effective ecosystem service monitoring and management, but also aid sustainable ecosystem management implementation and policy interventions.

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