Sustainable Management of Sundarbans: Stakeholder Attitudes Towards Participatory Management and Conservation of Mangrove Forests

  •  Trishita Mondal    
  •  Wade W. Bowers    
  •  Md Hossen Ali    


The Sundarbans is one of the oldest, contiguous, and systematically managed mangroves in the world. This biologically diverse ecosystem provides numerous benefits and services to local communities and the environment, however, it continues to remain under threat from population pressure, overexploitation, natural disasters and lack of practical policy regimes. This study assesses attitudes of local stakeholders towards sustainable management and conservation of mangrove forests as a means to assist planners, policy-makers, and decision-makers. A mixed-method approach was conducted to fulfill the objectives of this study. The study reveals that the people of the Sundarbans Impact Zone are highly dependent on the Sundarbans for their livelihood. Indeed, collecting resources from both aquatic and terrestrial areas is considered a traditional right. As such, people are increasingly becoming more conscious about government policy, and they want the forest to be managed sustainably. Generally, the language of governance is very strong, but many argue that implementation of policy is difficult because of competing policies, weak infrastructure, inefficiencies, illegal approaches, and corruption. Efforts should be made to develop and advance coupled human-environment (socio-ecological) systems that call for more participatory management approaches. Wider participation and ‘empowerment’ of stakeholders would improve the governance of the Sundarbans and ensure common priorities and levels of agreement on both conservation and livelihood issues.

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