Essay Example on Buffer Capacity the most Important Component of Resilience








Introduction Resilience in relation to livelihoods thus depends on actors capacity and agency and the framing social and natural conditions Buffer capacity the most important component of resilience reflects many of these features Buffer capacity means having the capacity to cushion change and possibly to use the emerging opportunities to achieve better livelihood outcomes such as reducing poverty However buffer capacity is more than having livelihood assets it is also about actions to maintain or increase assets Carpenter et al 2001 refer to buffer capacity as the amount of change the system can undergo and retain the same structure function identity and feedbacks on function and structure cf Adger 2000 Used for livelihoods a livelihood is resilient if it can maintain its key functions e g food income insurance etc and absorb the impacts of disturbances without undergoing major declines in production and well being People generate a full range of goods and services by converting their assets and resources through production trade social security provisions and subsidies In a socio ecological system group or individual with greater ability to utilize their capitals is often more likely to buffer adverse impacts than those with lesser or none Adger and Kelly 1990 show that the human access to and use of resources are determinant factors for the people's ability to cope with and adapt to stress In addition buffer capacity also depends on how livelihood strategies deplete or enhance capacities For example stewardship embodies a co management of environmental resources to achieve long term sustainability and is an ethic common in many indigenous knowledge and management systems cf Berkes et al 2000 The sustainable livelihoods framework SLF demonstrates the relationship between a wide range of livelihood capitals and capacity of the households to manage vulnerabilities Livelihood capitals or assets which can be human e g skills health condition knowledge financial e g incomes savings physical e g technological innovations social benefits through group memberships or natural e g soil organic carbon content cf DFID 2000

The SLF assumes that greater amount of livelihood capitals leads to higher wellbeing by assuming all the capitals are complementary to each other Su et al 2009 However the SLF overlooks the interactions between the capitals which eventually decide the ability of households Due to the complexity of the nature the interactions are yet to be properly understood Li et al 2017 For example human capital influence other types of capital ownership social capital encourage human capital development and broaden economic channels and financial capitals are often transformed to other capitals Kibria et al 2014 Xu et al 2015 Wang and Xie 2014 These interactions challenge the assumption that increasing capital would enhance the household capacity to face the vulnerabilities Alary et al 2014 This insists the necessity of wider understanding of the complex interactions between livelihood capitals Hence this study aims to reveal the interactions of livelihood capitals of ecosystem dependent communities and the effects of the interactions on their buffer capacity with the change in environmental conditions The findings would inform policy makers and development organizations to control ecosystem destruction by manipulating livelihood capitals instead of imposing harsher regulation and thereby assist in sustainable conservation of the ecosystems Methodology Villagers around the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest SMF will be studied for this research Over 3 5 million people rely on SMF for their livelihoods making the reduction of forest coverage 0 04 per year quite alarming Iftekhar and Islam 2004a Abdullah et al 2016 Growing population pressure corruption and climate change have been posing great threats to the integrity of the unique mangrove ecosystem Roy et al 2013

The SMF is situated in southwestern Bangladesh located between 21 30 and 22 30 N and 89 00 and 89 55 E extending over Khulna Satkhira and Bagerhat districts The SMF in Bangladesh forms the single largest contiguous mangrove forest in the world and is a unique national asset to Bangladesh in terms of its economic importance Salam et al 2000 Its unique physical and physico chemical environment has nurtured the growth of the most biodiverse mangrove in the world Choudhury 2001 Hence the forest is of enormous importance ecologically and economically at local national and global scales In fact it has been recognised for having such value that UNESCO declared the forest a World Heritage Site in 1999 Hoq 2007 It covers an area of 6017 km2 among which the total land area is 4143km2 includes exposed sandbars 42km2 with the remaining 1874km2 area including rivers canals and small streams Iftekhar and Islam 2004b Wahid et al 2007 In this research buffer capacities of three vulnerabilities including food sufficiency nutritional intake and physical health are intended to study because these are the major livelihood concerns of people in a socio ecological system The livelihood capital components influencing these three vulnerabilities will be identified by conducting factor analysis To understand the interactions among the livelihood components the pathway analysis will be performed Then the direct and indirect effects of the livelihood capitals would be measured Finally the variation of in livelihood interactions and buffer capacities between three major seasons will be compared by using ANOVA analysis to understand the effects of the interactions on the buffer capacity of the people with the change of environmental conditions In this case three major seasons will be considered to understand the environmental effects Data of livelihood capitals will be collected by conducting face to face interview with the households Group discussion and key informant interview will also be performed to gather data required to greater understanding of the local context of the subject matter

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