Abstract: Deltas are highly productive environments that provide a range of ecosystem services, yet in some deltas poverty of farming and fishing populations persists. Such paradoxes raise important questions on where and when ecosystem services contribute to well-being or to providing routes out of poverty. Here we propose that the wellbeing outcome of ecosystem service use is mediated by five dynamic factors: productivity of ecosystems; seasonality; mobility; social relations; and the nature and strength of property rights. We investigate the nature of these effects across diverse social-ecological systems within delta environments through analysis in seven social-ecological systems in coastal regions of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta in Bangladesh ranging from mangrove, fishery, char, aquaculture and agriculture-dominated systems. We discuss measurement of well-being, initial results on the variability of the proposed mechanisms between socio-ecological systems, and the prospects for ecosystem services research to contribute to sustaining development.
Biography: Prof Neil Adger is a Professor of Human Geography at the University of Exeter, UK. He researches social dimensions of environmental change. He was an author on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and on reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He is presently a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at CSIRO in Townsville working with the Resource Governance group.