Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences


Environmental Management

First Advisor

Stephanie A Siehr


In August 2017, nearly 1 million Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh to save their lives from the genocide inflicted by the military of Myanmar. At present, over 1.3 million Rohingyas are staying at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in 34 overcrowded refugee camps. This research examined the environmental impacts especially the change in vegetation cover and land surface temperature as well as the socioeconomic alteration of the host country after the refugee influx. The research found a 5488 ha or 9.58% decrease in forest area, accompanied by an 8.25% increase in refugee settlement areas, an increase in average land surface temperature within the camp area from 22.43°C to 34.22°C from 2015 to 2021, and a severe degradation in ecological quality overall. The socio-economic assessment in this research disclosed an ongoing decline of revenue in the tourism industry along with increase in food prices nearly 50%. Comparative case study analysis of the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan and the Bekaa refugee camp in Lebanon revealed that these camps have better sustainability management strategies. Additionally, gap analysis indicated that delay in repatriation, effects of environmental disasters, and insufficient funding are the main challenges to sustainable management of the camps. To bridge the gap, this paper recommends several environmental management and social strategies including using sustainable building materials, protecting and restoring forest and watershed ecosystems, supplying power within the camp area using renewable energy, strengthening social security, and monitoring the local economy to reduce the negative impacts and increase future well-being for both host and refugee communities.