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Economic valuation of provisioning and cultural services of a protected mangrove ecosystem: A case study on Sundarbans Reserve Forest, Bangladesh

Title of Research : Economic valuation of provisioning and cultural services of a protected mangrove ecosystem: A case study on Sundarbans Reserve Forest, Bangladesh

Authors : Uddin, M.S., van Steveninck, E. de R., Stuip, M., Shah, M.A.R.

Year of Publication : 2013

Publisher : Journal of Ecosystem Services

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Abstract : The Sundarbans Reserve Forest, the world's largest mangroves covering 6000 km2 in Bangladesh, provides a variety of ecosystem services. The real contribution of the Sundarbans Reserve Forest to the national economy has not been evaluated so far. This study aims to provide an economic estimation of the provisioning and cultural services of the Sundarbans. Official records of revenue collected by the Forest Department were the sources of information used in the economic valuation of the forest. The major provisioning services of the Sundarbans are timber, fuel wood, fish, thatching materials, honey and waxes. And the main culture service is tourism. The provisioning and cultural services provided by the Sundarbans contributed to revenue of the Forest Department on an average US$ 744,000 and US$ 42,000 per year respectively during financial year 2001–2002 to 2009–2010. The revenue collection from the forest products and tourism showed increasing trend over the study period, except for the timbers. The Forest Department produces economic benefits out of the ecosystem services without knowing the optimum limits and how long they can harness the economic benefits. A comprehensive economic valuation of the total stock and potential of all the ecosystem services of the Sundarbans as well as defining limits of sustainable yield of the services under different socio-economic and climate change scenarios would be necessary to enhance sustainable management of the forest.

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