Social forestryHistorical Context The forest in Bangladesh can be characterized as an example of continued deforestation and degradation (Nath et al., 2016).
The forests were exploited to earn revenue and supply raw materials for the ship and rail industries during the British colonial era (1757–1947), and generate revenue and supply raw materials for forest industries during the period of Pakistan’s rule (1947–1971), which also continued in independent Bangladesh sovereignty (Iftekhar, 2006). The policy makers were to think about alternatives. Social forestry was introduced in Bangladesh as one alternative in early 1980s.
It was extremely successful in reduce loss of forest cover over traditional forest management. It is playing a vital role in the expansion of forest cover (40,387 ha of new forest cover and 48,420 km new strip plantation since the mid-1980s) benefiting thousands of poor people (Mahammed et al., 2005). The Forest Policy of 1979 clearly laid down the participatory approach to be followed in Government owned forest land and plantations on marginal land (GOB, 1979). The Asian Development Bank (ADB) assisted the first community forestry project in 1982. Social forestry programs have been initiated to meet local populations’ forest product needs, reverse ecological degradation, and improve the socio-economic condition of rural populations (BFD, 2011) and the main objectives of Social Forestry are as follows ? Increase timber, fuel wood and other forest resources.? Socio-economic poverty alleviation of the rural people.
? Create employment opportunity.? Environmental stability.? Conservation to development of forests.? Climate change mitigation and adaptation. The chronological development of this system is shown in Table Programs Period1. Taungya System 18712. Forestry Extension Service Phase I 1962–19633.
Betagi-Pomra Community Forestry Project 1979–19804. Jhumia Rehabilitation Program in CHT Phase I 1979–19895. Development of Forestry Extension Service Phase II 1980–19856. Community Forestry Project 1982–19877. Thana Afforestation and Nursery Development Project 1987–19958. Jhumia Rehabilitation Program in CHT Phase II 1990–19959.
Participatory Social Afforestation 1991–199810. Forest Resources Management Project: Forest Directorate Component 1992–200111. Extended Social Forestry Project 1995–199712.
Coastal Greenbelt Project 1995–200013. Forestry Sector Project 1997–200414. Sundarbans Biodiversity Conservation Project 1999–200615. Nishorgo Support Project 1999–200816. Integrated protected area co-management 2004–201317. Char Development and Settlement Project-III (2nd Phase) 2005–201018.
Reedland Integrated Social Forestry Project 2005–201019. Afforestation in the Denuded Hill Areas of Chittagong North Forest Division (2nd Phase) 2008–201220. Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Alleviation Through Afforestation in the Greater Rajshahi and Kushtia Districts 2008–201221. Participatory Social and Extension Forestry in Chittagong Hill Tracts 2008–201222. Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change through Coastal Afforestation 2009-201223.
Re-vegetation of Madhupur Forests through Rehabilitation of Forest Depended Local and Ethnic Communities 2010-201224. Poverty Alleviation through Social Forestry 2010–201325. Management of Natural Resources and CF in Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary 2009–2015(Source: Jashimuddin and Inoue, 2012)Current PracticesDifferent tools and technologies for sustainable management Forest Department applied in social forestry. These are as follows.
1. Social Forestry Training.2. Participatory Benefit Sharing Agreement (PBSA): for tenural night.3. Appointment of NGO.4.
Co-ordination Committee at district and sub-district level.5. Reorganization of Forest Department.6. Legal reforms.7. Tree Farming Fund (TFF).8.
Distribution of benefit-sharing.9. Social Forestry management Committee.10. Social Forestry Advisory Committee.11. Tree Farming Fund Management Committee.
Forest Department started harvesting social forestry plantations from 1999-2000 and is continued up to 2008-2013, Forest Department harvested 44,408 ha woodlot, 10626 ha Agroforestry and 61739 km strip plantations. A huge quantity were produced. Challenges 1) High poverty level of the community force over exploitation of resources2) Land tenure issues3) Widely influenced by the politician and local elites4) Proper silvicultural management5) Top-down approach 6) Lack of trained manpower7) Limited budgetary allocation 8) Maintaining equity in benefit sharing agreement and allocation of rights and responsibilities9) Proper institutional arrangements10) Lack of marketing facilities11) Bureaucracy Future Potentials1) Ensuring sufficient funds for social forestry project by government 2) A regular flow of investment to sustain the social forestry practice3) Access to all stages in the process from planning to implementation4) Attractive average individual final returns 5) Should create achievable plan and policy 6) Increased the transparency of operations7) Built community capacity and resiliency, encouraged social equity, and decreased crime8) Increased opportunities for local communities to participate in forestry activities and share experiences with the FD9) To improve the standard of living and social position of local people10) Create well defined steps of social forestry practice11) Made people more aware about the project Co-managementHistorical contextCo-management of PA means a PA in which power and responsibility for resource management are shared between the state, local users and there representative organization (Caruso, 2011). Nishorgo Support Project (NSP) and Integrated Protected Area Co-management Program (IPAC) are major co-management projects for PAs of Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh officially adapted a co-management approach by initiating support from the NSP for a protected area management in 2004 (Ferdous, 2015).
It based in five initial pilot sites with the purpose of restricting forest degradation and improving livelihoods of local communities (Rashid et al., 2013). The project was launched in 2004. During implementation of the projects several initiatives were undertaken which ensure active involvement of the local people. One of the main initiatives was providing economic incentive in the form of alternative income generation (AIG) options like nursery raising, fisheries and livestock and poultry rearing (Mukul et al.
, 2014). The local people were also involved in forest patrolling and eco-tour guides etc. (Mukul et al., 2012). USAID, FD and IRG, three local NGOs took part in the implementation of NSP. Community Development Center (CODEC), Nature Conservation and Management (NACOM), and Rangpur Dinajpur Rural Service (RDRS) are subcontracted by the IRG.
The Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) joined the project in 2007 with the aim of updating the existing Wild Life Preservation Act 1974 (amended) (Khan 2008). The NSP ran until 2007.NSP was re-launched in 2009 as IPAC which build with the path of NSP and with the support of USAID and FD. IPAC was committed to carry co-management in forested areas done by NSP (IPAC 2008).
In 2012, CREL launched with the support of USAID.1. Nishorgo Support Project (2003-2008)2. Integrated Protected Area Co-management (2008-2013)3. Management of natural resources and community forestry (2009-2015)4.
USAID’s Climate-Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CREL) (2012-2018) (Uddin, 2016).For involving local people co-management structure developed 2 tiers as co-management council and a co-management committee (CMC). Including specific number of member from different representatives are as follows1. Govt.
agency 2. NGO/CBOs 3. Forest users 4. Elite groupThey are carry some specific job likes, problem encountered, meet to review the status of the planned activities, preparing plan of action etc. (Anar et al., 2010). Objectives of NSP:The main objectives of the NSP were as follows: ? Develop a functional model for co-management of PAs? Create alternative income generation for local stakeholders? Develop policies to improved PA management and build constituencies to further these goals? Strengthen the institutional systems and capacity of the FD and key stakeholders ? Develop infrastructure facilities within PAs ? Restore and manage habitats.
(Sharma, 2005)Objectives of IPAC:The main objectives of IPAC were as follows: ? Provide technical advisory services to support the further development of the natural resources and the conservation of biodiversity? Develop a protected area strategy that applies to all ecologically and economically significant areas? Build technical capacity within national and local level institutions for PAs co-management? To ensure the long-term success of the co-management model and to extend socio-economic benefits to surrounding communities, including increased access to improved drinking water supplies and to opportunities for AIG? Address within IPAC climate change mitigation and adaptation issues (IPAC, 2008).Current Practices USAID’s Climate-Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CREL) project envisages adoption and uptake of successful co-management models to conserve ecosystems and protected landscapes in Bangladesh through improved governance of natural resources, increased resilience to climate change and livelihoods diversification for natural resource dependent and climate vulnerable communities. The CREL project starts in 10th January 2012 to 2018 with the support of USAID (CREL, 2016). It develops five high quality materials on Climate Change, REDD+, Forest Carbon Measurement and Monitoring, Climate-Resilient Ecosystem Conservation and Co-management of Natural Resources. Challenges1) Continual loss of forest cover and biodiversity of protected area2) High population dependent on and rising demand for natural resources extraction 3) Coordination among different forest stakeholders and managers 4) Co-management rule and policy development5) Promoting ecotourism facilities and infrastructure are insufficient6) Political and economic inequity7) Unsuccessful implementation and failure of conservation programs8) Original forest cover removed9) Inadequate level of private sector investment10) Lack of sustainable sources of funding to support co-managementFuture Potentials1) Forest conservation activities 2) Controlling illegal forest activities3) Sustainable utilization of forest resource 4) Social and economic improvements of local people5) Reducing international project funding dependency 6) Strengthening capacities of CMC7) Rising trust between FD, local community, civil society and local leader 8) Encourage private sector for financing of co-management 9) Transparent revenue sharing10) Meeting basic human needsVillage common forestHistorical ContextTraditionally, the ethnic communities practice a farming method called jhum which basically involves cultivation of food crops in forest land through clearing and burning of undergrowth in the dry season (Misbahuzzaman, 2009).
Since 1980s population explosion and improper government land use policy create massive forest and land degradation and water quality deterioration in hilly region. In 19th century when an area once covered with dense forest now mostly lie denuded with some scattered trees and shrubs remaining (Roy, 1995; ADB, 2001). Despite massive degradation of forest ecosystems, indigenous people have maintained community managed forests that occur across village-clusters or the mouza which are therefore locally called mouza ban or Village Common Forests (VCFs) (Misbahuzzaman, 2009). It is the main sources of wood and bamboo for house building, medicinal and other sustainable biomass needs of hill villagers (Khisa et al., 2006).VCF is an area in which no one may cut jhum or make a settlement within it but harvesting of forest products from it are only permitted by the village leader only when there is demand for internal use of such products. Poor villagers are given special consideration to harvest wood, bamboo and sun grass with permission of the VCF management committee.
Current PracticesCurrent pattern of VCF management involves both semi-structured and unstructured methods. It is the only remaining forests in some parts of the CHT (Roy, 2000). They are enriched with more biodiversity than that of government forests and sustaining a balance between exploitation and conservation (Baten et al., 2010; Adnan & Dastidar, 2011).Common rules for VCF Management1. Access is restricted without prior permission2. All sorts of fireworks are restricted3.
Bamboo harvesting is generally done after 2-3 years4. Immature bamboo extraction is restricted5. Tk. 50 is fined for each bamboo cut without permission6. Executive committee decide requirement of forest resources in general meeting before extraction7. Commercial selling is forbidden unless used for community development8. Committee may permit outside villagers to collect forest resources in case of emergency9. Hunting is strictly prohibited in all the cases (Baten et al.
, 2010).Jashimuddin and Inoue (2012) found 163 and Baten et al., (2010) found 173 tree species in VCFs compared to 87 tree species in govt.
owned protected area (Jashimuddin et al., 2015).Challenges1. Access is restricted without prior permission2.
All sorts of fireworks are restricted3. Bamboo harvesting is generally done after 2-3 years4. Immature bamboo extraction is restricted5. Tk.
50 is fined for each bamboo cut without permission6. Executive committee decide requirement of forest resources in general meeting before extraction7. Commercial selling is forbidden unless used for community development8. Committee may permit outside villagers to collect forest resources in case of emergency9. Hunting is strictly prohibited in all the cases (Baten et al., 2010).Future Potentials1. Increasing forest cover through VCF2.
Create repository of food, fodder, fuel wood, timber, medicinal plants, culinary herbs, wildlife, safe water, biodiversity, traditional knowledge, etc.3. Create alternative livelihood and that may reduce the dependency on forests4. Resolving long lasting land conflicts5. Create safety net in times of emergency6. Conserve biodiversity with intensive management plan7. Developing social and livelihood capital8. The traditional and customary resource rights of the indigenous communities and their resource management system should recognized 9.
Encourage communities through legal and financial incentives in protecting degraded forest lands