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Climate change has profoundly impacted tropical ecosystems, critical for sustaining economies and community livelihoods at local to global scales. Rapid population growth has further negatively impacted natural resource management and upsetting the socio-ecological balance. Sundarbans, world’s largest contiguous tract of mangroves, is not an exception. It is shared between Bangladesh (60%) and India (40%) but the later is much more populated. Indian Sundarbans (IS) is not only the home of 4.5 million people but also of 85% total Indian mangrove habitat and 1434 faunal species. Agriculture, fishery and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) from mangroves are their major sources of income. Inhabitants of this climatically vulnerable region are facing the risks of becoming environmental refugees due to land loss by shore line changes. Moreover, storm surges because of cyclones like Aila are becoming more frequent causing sudden heavy intrusion of saline water in the freshwater stock. Further, salt accumulation in soil and water often affect agricultural and aquaculture productions. Climate risks have thus severely affected the livelihoods along with this unique ecosystem. Man-Mangrove Interactions (MMI) in IS is also obstructed by unsustainable exploitation of NTFPs, embankments in mud-flats causing failure of propagules to survive, etc. However, the risks and impacts are not in the same degree in the entire region. Hence, location-based approach is urgently needed for increasing adaptation capacity to climate risks. Here, we propose to develop a Geo-smart management system model to reduce socio-climate risks at the landscape level. The model has five major objectives– 1. Develop index-based climate risks geospatial model 2. Conservation of traditional germplasms 3. Sustainable economic options generation for local people 4. Climate risks awareness programme and knowledge dissemination 5. Positive enhancement of man-mangrove interactions.
A part of this article has been submitted to MIT, Climate Co-Lab's contest named AbsorbingClimate Impacts. This article is an enhanced version of the previous document.