H.M. Tuihedur Rahman, Ph.D.

Bachelor of Science, Forestry (2009) Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh; Master of Science, Forestry (2011) Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh; Ph.D. (Renewable Resources), McGill University (2018).


Interests: Climate change adaptation, Ecological Economics, Community based natural resource management, Institutional analysis, Complex systems

Ph.D. Thesis:




Climatic stress vulnerability has cross-scaler influences on development interventions, particularly in developing countries. While most of climate adaptation plans and interventions are developed at national or international scales, relatively little attention has been paid to incorporate the contextual properties of climate vulnerability in adaptation-related decision-making. Focusing on the wetland ecosystem dominated north-eastern floodplain communities of Bangladesh, this exploratory research seeks to better understand how locally-specific social-ecological properties serve to compound vulnerability to climatic stresses; how community members use their resources and assets in order to reduce their sensitivity to climatic stresses; and the extent to which government adaptation programmes reflect context-specific adaptation demands.

Recognizing that Bangladesh is widely acknowledged to be one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, this dissertation begins with a systematic literature review of the state of knowledge related to climate change impacts in Bangladesh. Results indicate a shortage of context-specific scientific studies and identify that northeastern floodplain region is the most understudied area in the country. Issue related to multidisciplinary research approaches and geographic connectedness of research efforts point to potential limitations in the evidence base used to support public policy initiatives on climate change adaptation. A participatory climate stress exposure assessment reveals that local biophysical changes and resource use behaviors significantly contribute to compounding the impacts of climatic stresses. However, these observations are generally poorly represented in local-level climate model-based stress assessments. Results reveal that community stress perceptions are largely determined by the temporal occurrence of a climatic event, with a climatic event considered a stress if it occurs in their production period and causes losses to their productivity. Stress perceptions are also influenced by household resource ownership, local innovation and technological uses. Using the sustainable rural livelihood approach, a mixed method study is then used to better understand the actions taken by households to reduce their livelihood sensitivity to climatic stresses. Households were found to organize, transform and combine their capital assets for generating different livelihood portfolios. Using diverse combinations of assets, two strategies were observed: 1) extending external networks in order to create non-natural resource dependent livelihood opportunities; and 2) extending uses of available natural resources. Both of these strategies required external supports from government programmes or market mechanisms. Finally, a climate change policy analysis, supported with key informant interviews, is presented to assess how different government policy interventions have supported local adaptation initiatives. The results reveal that despite recent advancements in climate change-related policy making and institutional changes for supporting local adaptation actions in Bangladesh, plans and policies often fail to respond to local demands. More specifically, the existing climate change adaptation planning and policy processes tend to lack wider public participation and have inadequate coordination with natural resource management policies.

This dissertation considers the diverse socio-economic and social-ecological contexts of climate vulnerability in rural Bangladesh. The results offer important research and policy insights to developing more a systematic understanding of climate vulnerability, and how local knowledge might be better integrated into national and international policy processes.

Awards and Scholarships:

Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Grant for IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2014-16

Graduate Excellence Award, McGill University 2014-17

Project publications:

Mondou, M., Maguire, S., Rahman, H.M.T., Pain, G. and Hickey, G.M. (2022). Policy forums and learning in fields underpinned by regulatory science. Environmental Science & Policy 137: 349-358.

Rahman, H.M.T. and Hickey, G.M. (2020). An analytical framework for assessing context-specific rural livelihood vulnerability. Sustainability 12(14): 5654.

Po, J.Y.T., Saint Ville, A., Rahman, H.M.T. and Hickey, G.M. (2019). On institutional diversity and interplay in natural resource governance. Society & Natural Resources 32(12): 1333-1343.

Rahman, H.M.T., Po, J.Y.T., Saint Ville, A., Brunet, N.D., Clare, S., Darling, S.Pigford, A., Mostafa, A.N. and Hickey, G.M. (2019). Legitimacy of different knowledge types in natural resource governance and their functions in inter-institutional gaps. Society & Natural Resources 32(12): 1344-1363.

Rahman, H.M.T. and Hickey, G.M. (2019). Institutional adaptation in the climate-related development plans for local sustainability in Bangladesh. Environmental Management 63(5): 596–614.

Rahman, H.M.T. and Hickey, G.M. (2019). What does autonomous adaptation to climate change have to teach public policy and planning about avoiding the risks of maladaptation in Bangladesh? Frontiers in Environmental Science 7(2).

Rahman, H.M.T., Ekhlas Mia, Md., Ford, J., Robinson, B. and Hickey, G.M. (2018). Livelihood exposure to climatic stresses in the north-eastern floodplains of Bangladesh. Land Use Policy 79: 199-214.

Rahman, H.M.T., Robinson, B., Ford, J. and Hickey, G.M. (2018). How do capital asset interactions affect livelihood sensitivity to climatic stresses? Insights from the northeastern floodplains of Bangladesh. Ecological Economics 150: 165–176.

Rahman, H.M.T., Hickey, G.M., Ford, J.D., Egan, M.A. (2018). Climate change research in Bangladesh: Research gaps and implications for adaptation-related decision making. Regional Environmental Change 18(5): 1535–1553.

Rahman, H.M.T., Saint Ville, A., Song, A.M., Po, J.Y.T., Berthet, E., Brammer, J.R., Brunet, N.D., Jayaprakash, L.G., Lowitt, K.N., Rastogi, A., Reed, G. and Hickey, G.M. (2017). A framework for analyzing institutional gaps in natural resource governance. International Journal of the Commons 11(2): 823–853.

Rahman, H.M.T., Hickey, G.M. and Sarker, S.K. (2015). Examining the role of social capital in community collective action for sustainable wetland fisheries in Bangladesh. Wetlands 35(3): 487-499.

Rahman, H.M.T, Sarker, S.K., Hickey, G.M., Haque, M.M. and Das, N. (2014). Informal institutional responses to government interventions: Lessons from Madhupur National Park, Bangladesh. Environmental Management 54(5): 1175-1189.

Rahman, H.M.T, Deb, J.C., Hickey, G.M. and Kayes, I. (2014). Contrasting the financial efficiencies of agroforestry practices in the buffer zone management of Madhupur National Park, Bangladesh. Journal of Forest Research 19(1): 12-21.

Rahman, H.M.T., Hickey, G.M. and Sarker, S.K. (2012). A framework for evaluating collective action and informal institutional dynamics under a resource management policy of decentralization. Ecological Economics 83(11): 32-41.