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Interdisciplinary Belmont Forum research program

“Bangladesh Delta: Assessment of the causes of sea level rise hazards and integrated development of predictive modeling towards mitigation and adaptation” (BanD-AID)

 Sub-project: Economic and social drivers of land use change in coastal Bangladesh

Shrimp farming for export in coastal Bangladesh
vergrößern: Bangladesh Delta Coastal Vulnerability Physical & Human-Dimension Processes
Bangladesh Delta Coastal Vulnerability Physical & Human-Dimension Processes
Seafood vendor in Khulna, Bangladesh




Bangladesh, a low-lying and densely populated country, faces recurrent flooding, potentially aggravated by sea level rise and more frequent and intensified cyclones resulting from climate change. Growing demographic pressure and economic development has led to a rapid degradation of the natural ecological system and an increase in the vulnerability of the coastal zones. However, the social and economic processes leading to land use change, deforestation, land degradation and salinization are still not fully understood. The rapid transformation from natural forests and rice paddies to shrimp ponds, for instance, is not only triggered by domestic decision-making, but also by integration in global supply chains and the logics of external markets. Other problematic land use changes in coastal Bangladesh are due to increasing food demand. Cropping is changing from single to double and from double to triple crops, resulting in an overexploitation of surface and ground water. New economic activities such as shrimp farms are continuously expanding and engulfing traditional crop lands, displacing traditional land users and small farmers. Resilience in the past has been based on family and village networks, which are being eroded by these changes. New settlements emerge in highly exposed locations (e.g. “chars”). In the long term, these processes undermine indigenous coping and mitigation strategies as well as social bonding which, in the past, have been important mechanisms for coping with floods, cyclones, and storm surges.

Geographers and sociologists the University of Cologne and at Ohio State University seek to unravel the complex economic and social reasons behind these developments. Overall, the BanD-AID program is run by an international, cross-disciplinary team consisting of natural and social scientists. Partner universities are located in Bonn, Toulouse, Columbus, Perth, Dhaka, and Rajshahi. A full overview of all PIs and institutes can be found on the LOICZ website or on the official project website. A short film can be viewed here.

Team in Cologne 

Principal Investigator:Boris Braun 
Post-doctoral research fellow:  Amelie Bernzen
Affiliated PhD candidate:Abdullah Al-Maruf (DAAD-funded)
Student assistant: 

Monika Langer


Funded through the Belmont Forum – G8 Research Council’s Initiative on Coastal Vulnerability (2013-2016); collaborative project with partners from the US, France, Germany, Bangladesh and Australia.

Our sub-project in Cologne is funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) for 36 months from November 2013 to October 2016.