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The Anthropocene is the human-dominated modern era that has accelerated social, environmental and climate change across the world in the last few decades. This open access book examines the challenges the Anthropocene presents to the sustainable management of deltas, both the many threats as well as the opportunities. In the world’s deltas the Anthropocene is manifest in major land use change, the damming of rivers, the engineering of coasts and the growth of some of the world’s largest megacities; deltas are home to one in twelve of all people in the world. The book explores bio-physical and social dynamics and makes clear adaptation choices and trade-offs that underpin policy and governance processes, including visionary delta management plans. It details new analysis to illustrate these challenges, based on three significant and contrasting deltas: the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna, Mahanadi and Volta.
This multi-disciplinary, policy-orientated volume is strongly aligned to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals as delta populations often experience extremes of poverty, gender and structural inequality, variable levels of health and well-being, while being vulnerable to extreme and systematic climate change.


Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Open Access

Chapter 1. Delta Challenges and Trade-Offs from the Holocene to the Anthropocene

Abstract
Deltas are microcosms of the global dilemmas of living sustainably within environmental systems that affect human life and well-being. Deltas have become increasingly human-dominated systems over the past century, reflecting a range of changes at global, catchment and delta scales. An integrated perspective of deltas as multiple interacting systems highlights the real potential for indirect and unintended consequences of human action at one scale to cascade through other sectors spatially and temporally. This chapter reviews Anthropocene trends and highlights how integrated scientific assessment in three illustrative deltas, the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna, the Mahanadi and the Volta, illuminates Anthropocene challenges and trade-offs. Modelling and observations of biophysical and social processes including migration and economic dynamics, and direct analysis of adaptation, demonstrate where these challenges have potentially sustainable solutions.
Robert J. Nicholls, W. Neil Adger, Craig W. Hutton, Susan E. Hanson

Open Access

Chapter 2. Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta, Bangladesh and India: A Transnational Mega-Delta

Abstract
The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) Delta and its catchment area are shared between five countries which means that the delta is strongly influenced by neighbouring country’s water and sediment management decisions in addition to climatic, environmental and internal management. Delta administration is also shared between Bangladesh and India, including the unique Sundarbans mangrove forest. An overview of delta-building and socio-ecological processes from Holocene to Anthropocene are outlined providing a background for current issues. These include discussion on emerging opportunities and challenges, growth of settlements/land use, vulnerability mapping and options for adaptation including migration. Preliminary social vulnerability maps for the Joint GBM Delta are presented. These could facilitate the engagement of policymakers of all countries to create opportunities for co-learning to resolve delta level issues.
Md. Munsur Rahman, Tuhin Ghosh, Mashfiqus Salehin, Amit Ghosh, Anisul Haque, Mohammed Abed Hossain, Shouvik Das, Somnath Hazra, Nabiul Islam, Maminul Haque Sarker, Robert J. Nicholls, Craig W. Hutton

Open Access

Chapter 3. The Mahanadi Delta: A Rapidly Developing Delta in India

Abstract
The Mahanadi Delta in the Anthropocene is characterised by a reduction in sediment supply and coastal retreat, both related to human interventions. Land loss is accompanied by population growth, extreme pollution, growth of urban centres and aquaculture, at the expense of pristine mangrove forest and agricultural land. Along with increasing incidences of climatic hazards, these changes have led to low levels of socio-economic development and high out-migration from coastal districts. A rise in female-headed households also emerges as a characteristic feature of the Anthropocene. The delta has a record of planned relocation of coastal communities as well as government-aided skill development programme supporting migration. Planned and autonomous adaptation activities have varying degrees of success, but are currently inadequate to meet people’s requirements.
Sugata Hazra, Shouvik Das, Amit Ghosh, Pokkuluri Venkat Raju, Amrita Patel

Open Access

Chapter 4. The Volta Delta, Ghana: Challenges in an African Setting

Abstract
The Volta Delta has fragile biophysical features affected by damming the Volta River and sand mining among other anthropogenic activities. The disrupted ecosystem adversely impacts livelihoods although efforts have been employed to reduce these impacts including both infrastructure and policies. This chapter describes the biophysical and socio-ecological evolution of the delta using data and information from sources including surveys, censuses and stakeholder engagements. It focuses on the interactions between biophysical processes and human activities. It further describes adaptation practices, migration and resettlement in response to these changes. Finally, the chapter explains governance and response to environmental challenges. Though no explicit delta policy exists, national policies and international treaties are gradually replacing customary laws and taboos to help manage and protect environmental resources in the delta.
Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, Kwasi Appeaning Addo, Cynthia Addoquaye Tagoe, Benjamin Kofi Nyarko, Francisca Martey, Winfred A. Nelson, Philip-Neri Jayson-Quashigah, D. Yaw Atiglo, Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei, Kirk Anderson, Adelina Mensah, Patrick K. Ofori-Danson, Barnabas Akurigo Amisigo, Jennifer Ayamga, Emmanuel Ekow Asmah, Joseph Kwadwo Asenso, Gertrude Owusu, Ruth Maku Quaye, Mumuni Abu

Open Access

Chapter 5. Fluvial Sediment Supply and Relative Sea-Level Rise

Abstract
The world’s deltas are facing a sustainability crisis, with many at high risk of being ‘drowned’ as a result of relative sea-level rise. The only factor that can potentially offset relative sea-level rise is the deposition of fluvial sediment on the surface of deltas. As a result, an understanding of trends in fluvial sediment supply to deltas is critical for understanding the potential of different deltas to adapt to the threat of drowning. Here trends of sediment supply to three of the world’s deltas (the Ganges-Brahmaputra, Mahanadi and Volta) are considered and the prospects for the future of these and other deltas discussed, focusing on how human activity can be modified to promote a more sustainable future for at-risk deltas.
Stephen E. Darby, Kwasi Appeaning Addo, Sugata Hazra, Md. Munsur Rahman, Robert J. Nicholls

Open Access

Chapter 6. Hotspots of Present and Future Risk Within Deltas: Hazards, Exposure and Vulnerability

Abstract
Through the Anthropocene, growing populations and economic assets have intensified risk. Within deltas, the concurrence of high human populations and economic assets with climatic events, physical and biophysical processes, and natural hazards generate ‘hotspots’ of societal risk. Identification of these hotspots requires combining hazards, exposure, and vulnerability data and information on a spatial basis. However, changing human activities over both time and space affect the nature and location of these hotspots. Analysis of the distribution and change in risk components identifies vulnerable areas and communities and where changes in hotspots may occur in the future. This can inform other analysis, such as the design of surveys and data collection, as well as identify policy needs and indicate where adaptation actions are likely to be required.
Chris Hill, Frances Dunn, Anisul Haque, Fiifi Amoako-Johnson, Robert J. Nicholls, Pokkuluri Venkat Raju, Kwasi Appeaning Addo

Open Access

Chapter 7. Where People Live and Move in Deltas

Abstract
Deltas exemplify trends of great acceleration in the Anthropocene, including the shape of demographic and mobility transitions. The human core of the Anthropocene involves three principal phenomena: Increased human health evident at the population scale; movement of people to urban settlements; and growth in aggregate populations. Based on this research, it is argued that continued evolution is central for successful pathways towards a sustainable Anthropocene. Human settlement, movement and migration as a response to accelerating economic and environmental challenges are considered. There is evidence that environmental change is an important driver of where people live and move within deltas. Consequently, governments have much agency in the allocation of resources towards responses to current and future challenges and will therefore have a strong influence on future sustainability.
Ricardo Safra de Campos, Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, W. Neil Adger, Colette Mortreux, Sugata Hazra, Tasneem Siddiqui, Shouvik Das, D. Yaw Atiglo, Mohammad Rashed Alam Bhuiyan, Mahmudol Hasan Rocky, Mumuni Abu

Open Access

Chapter 8. Delta Economics and Sustainability

Abstract
Environmental change constitutes a risk to the sustainability of economic activities, within deltas and the wider regions and economies within which they sit. Slow acting environmental change and shocks from extreme events can affect economic activities. Using multiregional input-output tables, extended to include environmental dimensions and combined with Computable General Equilibrium models, flows of economic activities and ecosystem services across supply chains are assessed. Results show that climate change has the potential to significantly reduce GDP per capita between 9 and 19.5% in the deltas considered through impacts on infrastructures, agriculture and fisheries. Identifying the cause and nature of economic change using such analysis supports development and implementation of policy options to reduce economic vulnerability and promote sustainability.
Iñaki Arto, Ignacio Cazcarro, Anil Markandya, Somnath Hazra, Rabindra N. Bhattacharya, Prince Osei-Wusu Adjei

Open Access

Chapter 9. Adapting to Change: People and Policies

Abstract
This chapter examines the societal response to diverse environmental and social dynamics within deltas during the Anthropocene era and the challenges for future adaptation. It illustrates these dynamics through unique data on the diversity and success of the range of adaptive actions undertaken by contemporary populations as well as perceptions of environmental change. There is a lived reality and social distribution of vulnerability across dimensions such as gender, age and class: different groups have different capacities to adapt, incentives to adapt, and are included or excluded from strategies of adaptation. There are options and interventions for adaptation to environmental change that already being undertaken across deltas.
Emma L. Tompkins, Katharine Vincent, Natalie Suckall, Rezaur Rahman, Tuhin Ghosh, Adelina Mensah, Kirk Anderson, Alexander Chapman, Giorgia Prati, Craig W. Hutton, Sophie Day, Victoria Price

Open Access

Chapter 10. Choices: Future Trade-Offs and Plausible Pathways

Abstract
Policy development and management of deltas in the Anthropocene involves the consideration of trade-offs and the balancing of positive and negative consequences for delta functions and the societies that rely on them. This assessment outlines policy-driven and spatial trade-offs that dominate the landscape of choice. It highlights examples of such trade-offs using plausible delta futures and the governance choices associated with them. The analysis is based on modelling broad-scale processes and individual adaptive actions. It highlights how policy choices to maximise economic growth can, for example, have unforeseen consequences such as diminished well-being for some populations. Hence the chapter concludes that trade-offs are a crucial governance challenge for future sustainability of deltas.
Attila N. Lázár, Susan E. Hanson, Robert J. Nicholls, Andrew Allan, Craig W. Hutton, Mashfiqus Salehin, Abiy S. Kebede

Open Access

Chapter 11. Sustainable Deltas in the Anthropocene

Abstract
What are the possible trajectories of delta development over the coming decades? Trajectories will be determined by the interactions of biophysical trends such as changing sediment supplies, subsidence due to compaction of sediment and climate change, along with key socio-economic trends of migration and urbanisation, agricultural intensification, demographic transition, economic growth and structural change of the economy. Knowledge and understanding of plausible trajectories can inform management choices for deltas in the Anthropocene, including new policy perspectives and innovative adaptation. The emergence of visionary delta management plans in some large deltas, such as the Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100, is an important and necessary component. This chapter synthesises the state of knowledge and highlights key elements of science that will inform decisions on future management of deltas.
Robert J. Nicholls, W. Neil Adger, Craig W. Hutton, Susan E. Hanson, Attila N. Lázár, Katharine Vincent, Andrew Allan, Emma L. Tompkins, Iñaki Arto, Md. Munsur Rahman, Sugata Hazra, Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe

Backmatter

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