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Wetland Entitlement and Sustainable Livelihood of Local Users in Bangladesh: A Case Study of Hakaluki Haor Communities


Local wetland-dependent communities in Bangladesh face numerous challenges in attaining sustainable livelihoods. To understand this phenomenon, it is imperative to explore the factors that prevent them from acquiring the necessary endowments for livelihood sustainability. Notably, literature exploring these is very scant. Using the Entitlement Theory proposed by Amartya Sen, we analyzed how the wetland management and policy of Bangladesh affected the legal entitlement and livelihood endowments of local wetland-dependent communities. Hakaluki Haor, Bangladesh, was selected as a case. Primary data were collected from four groups of participants, namely local users, local and national level administrative officials, officials of non-government organizations, and experts on environment and natural resources. A total of 31 interviews were conducted using a semi-structured interview schedule. Our findings reveal that both intrinsic limitations and implementation barriers of the wetland management policy barred many users from attaining legal entitlement to wetland resources. We observed that users’ limited entitlement to resources impeded their access to at least four types of livelihood endowments, namely the natural, financial, human, and social, required for a sustainable livelihood.

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As human research is sensitive in nature, qualitative data collected through semi-structured interviews and focus-group discussions will not be made publicly available.


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We would like to express our gratitude to Global Affairs Canada, formerly the Canadian International Developing Agency (CIDA), for supporting this study as a part of the SA’s master’s research. We are also grateful to the Center for Natural Resources Studies (CNRS), Bangladesh and all the staff of Barlekha branch for their cooperation during field investigations. We would also like to thank the research participants and the users of Hakaluki Haor, Barlekha area for their support and cooperation. We give our heartiest thanks and gratitude to the officials of the local government of the Barlekha area for supporting the research by providing valuable information and government documents.


This research was funded by Global Affairs Canada, formerly the Canadian International Developing Agency (CIDA).

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Authors and Affiliations



SA is the principal author of the manuscript. SA designed the research, collected data, analyzed data, and wrote the manuscript. CEH supervised, helped check the inter-reliability of the themes, and edited the manuscript. The manuscript was read and approved by all authors.

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Correspondence to Supria Ahmed.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Consent forms were used and signed by the participants. Permissions were thus obtained from all participants.

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All authors were informed and provided their consent to submit and publish this manuscript to Environmental Management.

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The study obtained ethical approval by the University of Manitoba Joint Research Ethics Board. The University of Manitoba, Canada’s human ethics protocol was followed throughout for primary data collection.

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Ahmed, S., Haque, C.E. Wetland Entitlement and Sustainable Livelihood of Local Users in Bangladesh: A Case Study of Hakaluki Haor Communities. Environmental Management 71, 334–349 (2023).

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  • Entitlement
  • Endowment
  • Resources
  • Wetland
  • Management
  • Policy