Dynamics and drivers of land use and land cover changes in Bangladesh

Xiaoming Xu, Suravi Shrestha, Hammad Gilani, Murali K. Gumma, Baktiar N. Siddiqui, Atul K. Jain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bangladesh has undergone dramatic land use and land cover changes (LULCC) in recent years, but no quantitative analysis of LULCC drivers at the national scale exists so far. Here, we quantified the drivers of major LULCC in combination with biophysical and socioeconomic observations at the sub-district level. We used Landsat satellite data to interpret LULCC from 2000 to 2010 and employed a Global Surface Water Dataset to account for the influences of water seasonality. The results suggest that major LULCC in Bangladesh occur between agricultural land and waterbodies and between forest and shrubland. Exclusion of seasonal waterbodies can improve the accuracy of our LULCC results and driver analysis. Although the gross gain and loss of agricultural land are large on the local scale, the net change (gross gain minus gross loss) at a country scale is almost negligible. Climate dynamics and extreme events and changes in urban and rural households were driving the changes from forest to shrubland in the southeast region. The conversion from agricultural land to standing waterbodies in the southwest region was mainly driven by urban household dynamics, population growth, distance to cities and major roads, and precipitation dynamics. This study, which is the first effort accounting for water seasonality and quantifying biophysical and socioeconomic drivers of LULCC at the national scale, provides a perspective on overall LULCC and underlying drivers over a decadal time scale and national spatial scale and can serve as a scientific basis for developing land policies in Bangladesh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number54
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020


  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Deforestation
  • Drivers
  • Land use change
  • Satellite data
  • Socioeconomic data
  • Water seasonality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change


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