Title: Small scale freshwater ponds in rural Bangladesh: navigating roles and services

Authors: Nazmul Huq

Addresses: Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics (ITT), TH Köln (University of Applied Sciences), Betzdorfer Straße 2, 50679 Köln (Deutz), Germany

Abstract: The purpose of the paper is to explore the multidimensional roles of small freshwater ponds of rural Bangladesh. Ponds are a common landscape feature in rural Bangladesh, however, their multipurpose roles other than aquaculture are generally overlooked. Applying a key information-based interview method, the paper explores major uses and services of rural ponds, changes of uses and services over the last 24 years, drivers of changes and advantages and disadvantages of such changes. Although, total numbers of ponds have increased slightly in last 24 years, the average household ownership of ponds reduced to 1.02 in 2014 from 1.35 in 1990, their uses are increasingly monetary oriented such as introduction of fish culture. Results indicate that ponds are used to strengthen financial, natural and social capitals of the households whereas their degradation and closure can limit diversities of local fish species, and agricultural production. In last 24 years, many households increased their number of ponds whilst a significant number of households also experienced decreasing number of ponds driven by mainly demographic, economic and social disputes related drivers. Considering the livelihood vulnerabilities of global environmental and climate changes, ponds can be used as an important adaptation mechanism.

Keywords: aquaculture; small ponds; freshwater ponds; rural areas; Bangladesh; ecosystem services; fish species; agricultural production; natural capital; financial capital; social capital; adaptation; climate change; social disputes; economic disputes; demographic disputes.

DOI: 10.1504/IJW.2017.081112

International Journal of Water, 2017 Vol.11 No.1, pp.73 - 85

Received: 30 Mar 2015
Accepted: 25 Sep 2015

Published online: 23 Dec 2016 *

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