Research project

ESPA Deltas: exploring links between ecosystem services and human wellbeing in coastal Bangladesh

Delta communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts. This project looked at the links between ecosystem services, human health and wellbeing and projected how these might evolve over the coming decades in the light of varying policy contexts.

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Start date

January 2012

Completion date

December 2016



Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

Department for International Development (DFID)

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme

Communities in coastal Bangladesh rely on crucial ecosystem services for their livelihoods, health and wellbeing. Delta communities are threatened by short and long-term changes to the ecosystems they depend on, including through the salinization of soils, contamination of groundwater with arsenic, subsidence and sea level rise. 

In the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Deltas Project, we used participatory approaches to study the relationship between ecosystem services and human wellbeing in coastal Bangladesh. We then predicted how these ecosystem services might change in the coming 50 to 100 years, and at how policy could best influence these outcomes.


Project lead(s)

Andrew Allan

External team members

University of Southampton

University of Exeter

University of Oxford

UK National Oceanography Centre

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

MET Office

Jadavpur University

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology

Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies

Institute for Livelihood Studies

International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research

Bangladesh Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS)

Bangladesh Agricultural University

Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute

Bangladesh Water Resources Planning Organization (WARPO)