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Integration of the ecosystem approach in legal and policy framework for the sustainable conservation of mangrove forest in Bangladesh: a case study of the Sundarbans ecosystem

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posted on 28.03.2022, 02:06 by Sheikh Noor Mohammad
Mangrove's role in maintenance of global ecological integrity and the provision of human wellbeing in coastal areas and beyond is well recognised. Increased human exploitation and climatic interventions make mangroves the world's most vulnerable tropical ecosystem. The Sundarbans, the mangrove forest of Bangladesh having economic, social, environmental and international significance, is gradually showing signs of substantial deterioration. Despite a century-old forest management plan and a web of policies and legislation, depletion of forest resources has continued unabated, illustrating gaps in the legal regimes and management approaches governing or applied to the Sundarbans. As law and policy helps to bring substantial changes in the behaviour of ecosystem-dependent communities or equip ecosystem managers with emerging concepts of natural resource management, the globally agreed conservation principles must be recognised in the legal framework as an overarching policy goal for making those principles enforceable on the ground. Therefore, it is crucial to re-examine the legal and policy frameworks of Bangladesh regulating the Sundarbans in light of the international legal framework to ensure sustainable conservation of the Sundarbans and maintenance of Bangladesh's ecological balance. In this context, this thesis focuses on promotion of a conservation-development-climate-resilient approach for the protection of the ecosystem, environment and dependents of the Sundarbans. In doing so, this thesis reviews the legal framework governing mangrove management to identify the gaps therein. It examines the relevance of the ecosystem approach, considering the local geo-ecological condition and socio-economic reality. This thesis argues for the application of the ecosystem approach and integration of its principles in the legal and policy frameworks for ensuring ecologically sustainable development in the Sundarbans. Subsequently, the thesis analyses the Sundarbans' biodiversity-environment-climate change policy, legal and institutional frameworks to evaluate the status of the ecosystem approach's principles. It then identifies areas that require modification to incorporate those principles into the policy and legal framework. Finally, it offers certain recommendations for law and policy responses to applying the principles of the ecosystem approach in achieving sustainable conservation of the Sundarbans. This thesis demonstrates the significance of integrating six dominant principles of the ecosystem approach in addressing the different challenges permeated within the Sundarbans for maintaining its ecological integrity. However, implementing these requires unambiguous conservation priorities, responsive policies, dynamic legislation and a supportive institutional framework. Thus, this thesis suggests setting clear conservation priorities, substantial policy and legislative reform, strengthening of institutional frameworks and allocation of an adequate budget to meaningfully align the ecosystem approach principles and integrate them into management of the Sundarbans. The development of a value-based marketing and trading system is found to be an effective vehicle in promoting environmental justice among the Sundarbans resource users. The suggested legal and policy recommendations for reform provide information for researchers and policymakers in reconsidering the legal frameworks regulating the Sundarbans for making the Sundarbans's conservation-development paradigm inclusive, equitable and adaptive.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Sustainable conservation of the Sundarbans ecosystem : an overview -- Chapter 2. Ecosystem approach : genesis, theoretical basis and relevance for Bangladesh -- Chapter 3. Ecosystem approach in the international legal framework -- Chapter 4. Ecosystem approach in legal and policy framework of Bangladesh -- Chapter 5. Institutional framework for implementation of ecosystem approach in the Sundarbans -- Chapter 6. Integration of ecosystem approach in legal and policy frameworks of Bangladesh for sustainable conservation of the Sundarbans : a way forward -- Bibliography --Appendices.


Bibliography: pages 302-351 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie Law School

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie Law School

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Shawkat Alam

Additional Supervisor 1

Shireen Emily Daft


Copyright Sheikh Noor Mohammad 2018. Copyright disclaimer: http://mq.edu.au/library/copyright




1 online resource (xxxi, 403 pages)

Former Identifiers

mq:71497 http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/1274975