Ecological impact of Rohingya refugees on forest resources: remote sensing analysis of vegetation cover change in Teknaf Peninsula in Bangladesh
Keywords:Refugees, ecological impact, GIS, forests
Satellite remote sensing technique has been used to assess the vegetation cover changes experienced by areas severely affected by Rohingya refugees in Teknaf peninsula of Bangladesh which is bordering Myanmar. Since 25 August, 2017, approximately 655,000 refugees settled in Bangladesh as of 11 December 2017. Majority of them are settled in the sub-districts of Teknaf and Ukhiya. Teknaf peninsula is an ecologically critical area. It includes the protected Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the oldest reserved forests in Bangladesh. This vegetation at the southern coast of Bangladesh plays a vital role in the climate change adaptation and mitigation process in the region. Refugee camps and their practice of cutting trees to use as firewood for cooking cause significant deforestation. This study shows a major loss of vegetation cover following the refugee influx. The analysis of the remote sensed images provides quantitative data on the adverse impact of the refugee crisis on the natural resources and the ecosystem of the host community.
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