Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Land Use Preference for Ecosystem Services and Well-Being in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh

Ahammad, Ronju; Stacey, Natasha; Sunderland, Terry; Sangha, Kamaljit K. K.


Researchers increasingly investigate ecosystem services to assess their role in supporting livelihoods, well-being and economic value in order to inform decision-making. Many studies have explored links between ecosystem services and community-based livelihoods, with a very narrow focus on the importance of land use to well-being. We evaluated the value of ecosystem services from various land uses supporting livelihoods and the overall well-being of local communities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh. By applying a participatory habitat valuation approach with the ethnic communities from eight villages, we explored their preferences for, and perceptions of, ecosystem services and their sources in a multi-functional landscape under different land use, i.e., forest, swidden and low-land agriculture, fruit orchard and water bodies, and three land ownership contexts (state, private and mixed ownership on forest lands). Our findings revealed that community land use preference for ecosystem services supports ten different well-being needs. Among others, forests were valued land used for two-thirds of well-being needs, including the provision of shelter, nutrition, primary health care, an adequate supply of potable water, a lower level of ecological stress (i.e., protection from associated landslide soil erosion), cultural and spiritual benefits and livestock foraging. People commonly valued the food, income and nutrition contributions of all land uses. However, different forest and land ownership contexts and rights within the landscape influence people's preference for ecosystem services from land use in supporting their well-being. People with secure ownership (i.e., private and private-community) showed a broad and positive appreciation for ecosystem services to meet their well-being needs. Our study highlights that local and ethnic people's land-use preferences and ownership contexts are critical factors in assessing well-being in the context of multifunctional landscapes. We recommend that ecosystem services be considered in future decision-making related to forest and land use to support human well-being.


valuation of ecosystem services; forest and land tenure; forest ecosystem services; landscape value; livelihoods; landscape multifunctionality

Published in

2022, volume: 13, number: 12, article number: 2086
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Economics
Stacey, Natasha
Charles Darwin University
Sunderland, Terry
University of British Columbia
Sunderland, Terry
Sangha, Kamaljit K. K.
Charles Darwin University

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land
SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture
Forest Science
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)