Mapping The Institutional Frameworks of Nature Conservation of the Government of Bangladesh

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Mapping the Institutional Frameworks of Nature Conservation of the Government of Bangladesh



1.1 Statement of the problem

Bangladesh, the world largest deltaic region in the northeastern part of South Asia between 20° 34′ and 26° 38′ north latitude and between 88° 01′ and 92° 41′ east longitude( The majority of country’s land is formed by river alluvium from the Ganges and the Brahmaputra and their tributaries which, consists mostly of flood plains (80%) with some hilly areas (12%) with a sub-tropical monsoon climate.

Geographically, Bangladesh falls near the Indo-Burma region which is one of the ten global hot-spot areas and supposed to have 7000 endemic plant species. Due to its unique geo-physical location Bangladesh is exceptionally characterized by a rich biological heritage of flowering plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes etc. and it is a zone of high biodiversity (Mukul, 2007).

But the natural forests of Bangladesh have been facing such onslaughts that considerable portions of it has already been lost, leaving the country with only a small percentage of land under forests. This has resulted in the loss of the sources of wild biodiversity. Much of the floral biodiversity in tropical forests resides in herbs, shrubs and trees which do not attain large size. How much of the biodiversity has already been lost is not known, and there is no way of knowing. Only 27 plant species are listed as threatened or endangered, but there could be many more. There is no information on gene pools or varieties within species because of lack of knowledge about within species variation.

The issues of conservation and protection of biological diversity have so far had a law priority in Bangladesh. While the ban of October 1989 on felling trees in natural forests in aimed at ensuring biodiversity, there is no mechanism to enforce the ban; and it has therefore been ineffective (Forestry Master Plan, 1992).

1.2 Objectives of the Research

· To understand policies and laws related to nature conservation;

· To know the organizational bodies and its manpower, resources, programs and projects and its activities related to nature conservation;

· To find out the limitations in conserving nature and future remedies as well.

1.3 Methodology of the Research

1.3.1 Sources of data: Data have been selected from two sources. Such as –

Primary sources and Secondary sources.

Secondary data were collected from books, internet, journals etc. such as, “Forestry Master Plan. While, primary data were involved with interviewing with Forest officials and experts. We were conducted interviewing with Forest Conservator of Administration and finance of Forest Department officials and experts. In interviewing we can know some limitations such as financial problem, lack of awareness of people, lack of implementation of policy, corruption etc. which is hampered to nature conservation in Bangladesh.



2.1 Economic and Environmental Importance Of Forest and Wildlife

Forestry is a long-term production system. It has manifold contribution towards the welfare of mankind. The multiple use of forest resources have been recognized from the advent of civilization. The Forestry sector contributes about 5% of the total GDP (Gross domestic product) of Bangladesh. This does not reflect the true contribution of this sector. The rural population uses fuel wood and other minor forest products practically free of cost. Forest also plays an important role in protecting watersheds, irrigation and hydraulic structure, also in keeping the rivers and ports navigable. It also plays key role in protecting the coastal areas from natural calamities. The role of forest in protecting the environment from pollution and its contribution towards bio-diversity is immense (

The participatory social forestry contributes towards rural poverty reduction significantly. In the last 3 years, out of total sale proceeds of timber and fuel wood about 308 (three hundred and eight) million taka has been distributed to 23561 participants. Social Forestry Rules have been framed to give the legal basis of benefit sharing system. Tree farming fund has been created from the 10% of the sale proceeds to create new resources on the same pieces of land involving the same participants, to ensure sustainability. The TFF operating committee has been established involving local government and Local Community Organization (LCO) (

Apart from the sale proceeds, participants also get money from Forest Department for their labor input in the plantation activities. They also get periodic income from agriculture crops grown between the trees both in forest and marginal land. The participants also get thinning and pruning outputs in many places (

Employment generation

In 2001-2002, about 2% (two percent) of the total manpower of the country was engaged in the forestry sector. Many people actually benefited directly from forestry-related activities e.g. in wood based industry, saw milling, furniture making, establishing private nursery, logging, extraction and in a forestation programs. Besides this in Sundarban millions of people are dependent on the mangrove forest for their livelihood (e.g mawali, bawali, fisherman etc).



Ecological sites, by their nature & the need to maintain wilderness, are not suitable for mass tourism as in the case of recreation parks, historical sites, picnic areas or resorts etc. It is necessary to distinguish the difference between ordinary tourism & ecotourism for controlling the number of visitors and for prescribing management and use regulations (

Ecotourism can be developed by providing access to interested specialist tourists and presenting to them ecological wealth and diversity of the country such as wildlife resources and interesting ecological types. Bangladesh has good potentials for ecotourism development including Sundarbans, other coastal areas, wetlands, CHT, Sylhet region etc. but these have not been so far used. During the last 5years the average number of foreign tourists visiting Sundarbans per year has been about 300, most of whom are temporary residents in Bangladesh


Income from wildlife resource

Where wildlife products are available, it can generate wildlife based small scale industries-e.g. ivory carving and fancy articles with feathers or skins.

In Bangladesh spotted deer and crocodile are consider to have potential for commercial farming and exploitation (Forestry Master Plan, 1992).

2.2 Natural Forest in Bangladesh

Of the total area of Bangladesh, agricultural land makes up 65% of its geographic surface, forest lands account for almost 17%, while urban areas are 8% of the area. Water and other land use account for the remaining 10%. The total forest land includes classified and unclassified state lands and homestead forests and tea or rubber gardens. In case of private forests, the dated represent the tree-covered areas (

Of the 2.52 million hectare Forest land, Forest Department manages 1.52 million hectare which includes Reserved, Protected and Acquired forest and Mangrove forest on the newly accreted land in estuaries of major rivers. The remaining 0.73 million hectare of land designated as unclassed State Forest (USF) are under the control of Ministry of Land (

Map source:

Area distribution of Different Land use Category Table -1
Land Use Category
Area (Million Hectare) Percent
Agriculture 9.57 64.9
State Forest
Classified 1.52 10.3
Unclassified 0.73 5
Private Forest
Homestead 0.27 1.8
Tea/Rubber Garden 0.07 0.5
Urban 1.16 7.9
Water 0.94 6.4
Other 0.49 3.2
Total 14.75 100
Table – 2 Total Forest Land of Bangladesh
Category of Forests Area (Million Hectare) Percentage
Forest Department Managed Forests 1.52 10.30
Unclassed State Forest 0.73 4.95
Village Forest 0.27 1.83
Total 2.52 17.08

Table – 3 Forest Area Managed by FD

Category of Forests Area (Million Hectare) Percentage
Hill Forests 0.67 4.54
Natural Mangrove Forests 0.60 4.07
Mangrove Plantations 0.13 0.88
Plain Land Sal Forest 0.12 0.81
Total 1.52 10.30
Depending on their location, nature and type of management of the forests of Bangladesh can be grouped into three broad categories, which is tabled below:
Types of Forest Area (m ha) Percentage
Natural Mangrove Forest and Plantation 0.73 4.95
Tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen Forest 0.67 4.54
Tropical moist deciduous Forest 0.12 0.81
Total 1.52 10.3

Types of Forest:

<href=”#mangrove”>Mangrove Forests
<href=”#green”>Tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests
<href=”#moist”>Tropical moist deciduous Forests
<href=”#village”>Village Forests

Mangrove Forests


i. Natural Mangrove Forests

The largest single tract of natural mangrove forest is the Sundarban. It consists of a total of 6,01,700 hectare which is 4.07% of total land mass of the country and 40% of total forest land.

Sundarban harbours 334 species of trees, shrubs and epyphites and 269 species of wild animals. World renowned Royal Bengal Tiger is the magnificent animal of the Sundarban. 1,39,700 hectare forest land of Sundarban is declared as World Heritage Site where three wildlife sanctuaries viz.Sundarban East, Sundarban West and Sundarban South wildlife sanctuaries are located. The forest inventory of 1998 exhibits that there are 12.26 million cubic meter timber is available from the species of Sundri (Heritiera fomes), Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha), Keora (Sonneratia apetala), Baen (Avecennia officinalis), Dhundul (Xylocarpus granatum), Passur (Xylocarpus mekongensis) etc with 15cm and above diameter.

Sundri is the most important tree species in the Sundarban which is distributed over 73% of the reserve. Extent of Sundri is followed by Gewa (Excoecaria agallocha), Baen (Avecinnia offcecinalis), Passur (Xylocarpur mekongensis), Keora (Sonneratia apetala) etc. There are some other non-wood forest products like Golpata (Nypa fruticans), honey, wax, fish, crab etc which are also of high value.

Sundarban is a unique habitat for a number of wildlife. Among them some mammals are Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Gangetic Dolphin (Platanista gangetica), Monkey (Macaca mulatta), Indian Fishing cat (Felis viverrina), Indian Otter (Lutra perspicillata), Spotted Deer (Axis axis) etc. Reptiles like Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus), Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator), Rock Python (Python molurus) and Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) etc. are found in the Sundarban.

ii. Mangrove Plantation

Mangrove afforestation along the entire southern coastal frontier is an innovation of foresters. During 1960-61, Government undertook afforestation programme along the shore land of coastal districts. This initiative got momentum from 1980-81 with the aid of development partners and afforestation programs are extended over foreshore islands, embankments and along the open coasts.

Since 1960-61 upto 1999-2000, 142,835 hectare of mangrove plantations have been raised under a number of coastal afforestation projects. The present net area of mangrove plantation is 132,000 hectare after losing some area due to natural calamities.


Tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests

Tropical evergreen and semi evergreen forests are extended over Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong Hill Tracts and Sylhet totaling an area of 6,70,000 hectare which is 4.54% of total landmass of the country and 44% of national forest land. Depending on topography, soil and climate these area are categorized as i) Tropical wet evergreen forests and ii) Tropical semi-evergreen forests.

The hill forests are abundant with numerous plant as well as animal species. Some important flora are Garjan (Dipterocarpus spp.), Chapalish (Artocarpus chaplasha), Telsur (Hopea odorata), Tali (Palaquium polyanthrum), Kamdeb (Callophyllum polyanthum), Uriam (Mangifera sylvatica), Jarul (Legarstromia speciosa), Civit (Swintonia floribunda), Toon (Cedrela toona), Bandorhola (Duabanga grandiflora) etc. Moreover there are bamboo, cane, climbers and fern etc. in these forests.

These forests are brought under plantation programme since 1871. At present, plantation activities are being conducted under development projects. Some valuable plantation species are Teak (Tectona grandis), Gamar (Gmelina arborea), Mehogani (Swietenia spp), Chapalish (Artocarpus chaplasha), Jarul (Legarstromia speciosa), Koroi (Albizzia spp), Chikrassi (Chikrassia tabularis), Pynkado (Xylia dolabriformis), Kadam (Anthocephalus cadamba), Telsur (Hopea odorata) etc.
The latest forest inventory shows that a total of 23,93 million cubic meter forest produces are available there.

Among the mammals Elephant (Elephas maximus), monkey (Macaca mulatta), Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Barking Deer ( Muntiacus muntjak), Samvar (Cervus unicolor), and Indian Leopard (Panthera pardus). Among the reptiles King cobra (Ophiophagus hanna) Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator) and Bengal Monitor Lizard (Varanus bengalensis) are remarkable.


Tropical moist deciduous Forests

The Central and northern districts covering an area of 1,20,000 ha about 0.81% of total land mass of the country and 7.8% of the country’s forest land are bestowed with Tropical Moist Deciduous Forests. This forest is intermingled with the neighbouring settlements and fragmented into smaller patches. Sal (Shorea robusta) is the main species there with other associates like Koroi (Albizzia procera), Azuli (Dillenia pentagyna), Sonalu (Cassia fistula), Bohera (Terminalia belerica), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Kanchan (Bauhinia acuminata), Jarul (Lagerstroemia speciosa), Jam (Syzygium spp) etc. A recent forest inventory encountered that 3.75 million cubic meter wood available in the sal forests.

Presently participatory forestry programme are being implemented here under the social forestry initiatives. Among the mammals, Jackel (Canis aureus), Monkey (Macaca mulatta), Wild cat (Felis chaus) etc. are found there and among the reptiles Bengal Monitor Lizard (Varanus bengalensis) and common cobra are remarkable (

2.3 Flora and Fauna Diversity in Bangladesh

Although Bangladesh is rich in biodiversity, its flora includes an estimated 5,700 species of angiosperms alone, including 68 woody legume species, 130 species of fibreyielding plants, 500 medicinal plant species, 29 orchid species, three species of gymnosperms, and 1,700 pteriodophytes. Some 2,260 plant species have been reported from the hilly region of Chittagong alone. Correspondingly, Bangladesh also possesses rich faunal diversity and has approximately 113 species of mammals, more than 628 species of birds, 126 species of reptiles, 22 species of amphibians, 708 species of marine and freshwater fish, 2,493 species of insects, 19 species of mites, 164 species of algae and 4 species of echinoderms (Mukul, 2007).

Sources: http://www.virtual Bangladesh. com/bd_geog_animals.html


Common wildlife in Bangladesh

2.4 General Causes and Threats Of Nature Conservation Of Bangladesh

Bangladesh has the highest rural population densities in the world with lowest per capita forest land. The contribution of the forestry sector to GDP is 3.3 at current prices and about 2% of the country’s labour forces are employed in this sector. Officially although Bangladesh has nearly about 17.5% forest coverage but only 6% of them are well stocked. Besides, the annual deforestation rate in the country is 3.3% which is highest among the South-east Asian Countries. In recent days, although government has became anxious about nature conservation but country’s forest and biodiversity are still facing various challenges like other regions of the world. Following are some major reasons behind biodiversity and nature conservation depletion in Bangladesh (Mukul, 2007).

2.4.1 High population density, extreme poverty and unemployment

Bangladesh is one of the world’s densely populated countries with a population of more than 150 million. Majority of the people of the country are still living under poverty line and without any permanent job. Besides, more than 85% of the country are living in rural areas and some how depends upon various natural resources which often lead over exploitation of plant and animal products for their survival and income. Rural fuel consumption pattern is another important issue related to natural resource depletion in the country. Still now, most of the people in rural areas depend on fuel wood which is strongly concerned with degradation and unsustainable use of various woody and forested areas (Mukul, 2007).

2.4.2 Habitat Loss, Degradation And Fragmentation

Nature conservation is strongly associated with inact ecosystems and natural landscapes, however transformation of land use patterns, expansion of agricultural lands, change in cropping patterns, introduction of high yielding varieties (HYV), urbanization, expansion of road networks, unplanned embankments and other manmade factors have caused immense damage of habitats in all ecosystems (Mukul,2007). The following are some underlying factors related to this issue; Encroachment Shifting cultivation Urbanization

2.42.4 Land use change and agricultural expansions Commercial shrimp cultivation in coastal mangrove areas

2.4.3 Illegal Poaching

There is a big international market on wild animals (and their part, e.g.,teeth, bones, far, ivory etc.) for their aesthetic and medicinal value. Peoples involved with this underworld syndicate sometimes illegally hunting/trafficking wild animals to earn some easy cash. Besides, unregulated logging, illicit felling, indiscriminate harvest of medicinal plants, Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) , unplanned fishing , using bag nets, bottom trawling fishing , fishing in the breeding season and other factors are causing depletion of biodiversity (Mukul,2007).

2.4.4 Environmental pollution and degradation

One of the biggest threats to biodiversity in Bangladesh is pollution of air, soil, and water. Water is the greatest victim of contributed by toxic agro-chemicals (i.e., chemical fertilizers, insecticides), industrial effluents that are causing depletion aquatic resources and riparian natural resources (Mukul, 2007).

2.4.5 Invasive Alien Species

A large number of exotic (non-native) plants have been introduced into Bangladesh for agriculture, horticulture, forestry, animal husbandry and fisheries. Also some have become escapes accidentally and having adapted with local conditions proliferated profusely. Local people to different agro-ecological conditions have nurtured some of these and some have become invasive over local flora and fauna .Besides, replacing natural plantation with monoculture of short rotation and fast growing species have threatens the existence of local fauna as they have not adapted with this species (Mukul,2007).



3.1 Nature Conservation Strategies In Bangladesh

Government to conserve biodiversity in two different ways (i.e., ex-situ conservation and in-situ conservation) is briefly discussed.

3.1.1 In-situ Conservation

In-situ conservation is carried out in the following areas: nature reserves, protected areas, world heritage sites and Ramsar sites etc. According to FRA-2005 about 20.9% forests of the country are primarily managed for conservation purpose. Nature Reserves

The objectives of a nature reserve are to protect communities and species and to maintain natural processes in order to have ecologically representative examples of the natural environment. However, in Bangladesh there are no nature reserves. Protected Areas

Protected Areas are, “areas especially dedicated to the protection and maintaince of biological diversity and associated cultural resources and managed through legal or other effective means. Globally the number of protect areas has been increasing significantly over the last few decades and currently about 12% of all forests are officially protected for conservation values.

Protected Areas include wildlife Sanctuary, National park and Game Reserve. Their definitions in the Bangladesh wildlife order, 1973 is as follows:


Notified Protected Areas of the Country are as follows:

A) National Parks:

“National Park means comparatively large areas of outstanding scenic and natural beauty with the primary object of protection and preservation of scenery, flora and fauna in the natural state to which access for public recreation and education and research may be allowed” (paragraph) (p) of Article 2).

Sl. No. National Parks Location Area (ha.) Established
1 Bhawal National Park Gazipur 5022.00 11-5-1982
2 Modhupur National Park Tangail/ Mymensingh 8436.00 24-2-1982
3 Ramsagar National Park Dinajpur 27.75.00 30-4-2001
4 Himchari National Park Cox’s Bazar 1729.00 15-2-1980
5 Lawachara National Park Moulavibazar 1250.00 7-7-1996
6 Kaptai National Park Chittagong Hill Tracts 5464.00 9-9-1999
7 Nijhum Dweep National Park Noakhali 16352.23 8-4-2001
8 Medha Kachhapia National Park Cox’s Bazar 395.92 8-8-2008
9 Satchari National Park Habigonj 242.91 15-10-2005
10 Khadim Nagar National Park Sylhet 678.80 13-04-2006
11 Baraiyadhala National Park Chittagong 2933.61 06-04-2010
12 Kuakata National Park Patuakhali 1613.00 24-10-2010
13 Nababgonj National Park Dinajpur 517.61 24-10-2010
14 Shingra National Park Dinajpur 305.69 24-10-2010
15 Kadigarh National Park Mymensingh 344.13 24-10-2010
Sub-Total 45312.65
Wildlife Sanctuaries :

“Wildlife Sanctuary means an area closed to hunting, shooting or trapping of wild animals and declared as such under Article 23 by the government as undisturbed breeding ground primarily for the protection of wildlife inclusive of all natural resources such as vegetation soil and water” (paragraph) (p) of Article 2).

Sl. No. Wildlife Sanctuaries Location Area (ha.) Established
16 Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary Hobigonj 1795.54 7-7-1996
17 Char Kukri-Mukri Wildlife Sanctuary Bhola 40.00 19-12-1981
18 Sundarban (East) Wildlife Sanctuary Bagerhat 31226.94 6-4-1996
19 Sundarban (West) Wildlife Sanctuary Satkhira 71502.10 6-4-1996
20 Sundarban (South) Wildlife Sanctuary Khulna 36970.45 6-4-1996
21 Pablakhali Wildlife Sanctuary Chittagong Hill Tracts 42087.00 20-9-1983
22 Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary Chittagong 7761.00 18-3-1986
23 Fashiakhali Wildlife Sanctuary Cox’s Bazar 3217.00 11-4-2007
24 Dudh Pukuria-Dhopachari Wildlife Sanctuary Chittagong 4716.57 6-4-2010
25 Hazarikhil Wildlife Sanctuary Chittagong 2908.50 6-4-2010
26 Sangu Wildlife Sanctuary Bandarban 5760.00 6-4-2010
27 Teknaf Wildlife Sanctuary Cox’s Bazar 11615.00 24-03-2010
28 Tengragiri Wildlife Sanctuary Barguna 4048.58 24-10-2010
Sub-Total 223648.68
“Game Reserve means an area declared by the government as such for the protection of wildlife and increase in the population of important species wherein capturing of wild animals shall be unlawful (paragraph) (c) of Article 2)”. Grand-Total 268961.33

C) “Game Reserve means an area declared by the government as such for the protection of wildlife and increase in the population of important species wherein capturing of wild animals shall be unlawful (paragraph) (c) of Article 2)”.

**Protected Area Covers 10.7% of Total Forest Area

Other Conservation Sites

D Name Location Area (ha.) Established
1 National Botanical Garden Dhaka 84.21 1961
2 Baldha Garden Dhaka 1.37 1909
3 Madhabkunda Eco-Park Moulavibazar 265.68 2001
4 Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Eco-park Chittagong 808 1998
5 Dulahazara Safari Parks Cox’s Bazar 600 1999

3.1.2 ex situ Conservation

In contrast to in situ Conservation, ex situ conservation includes any practices that conserve biodiversity outside the natural habitat of the parent population. In Bangladesh these types of effort are mainly limited to Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) and it includes the followings: Botanical Gardens Mirpur Botanical Garden: Area 85ha, with 255 tree species (total 28,200 plants), 310 shrub species (8,400 plants), 385 herb species (10,400 plants). The total number of families of trees, herbs and shrubs in 114. Baldha Garden: Area 1.15 ha with 18,000 trees, herbs and shrubs from 820 species and 92 families. Eco-park Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Eco-park

5. Dulahazara Safari parks.

3.2 Conservation And Management Of Wildlife

Forest Department under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh is responsible for preservation, conservation and management of Wildlife in the country. The Chief Conservator of Forests is the Chief Wildlife Warden. There is a Circle named Wildlife and Nature Conservation Circle administered by an officer in the rank of Conservator of Forest. There are Four Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Divisions under this Circle. Each of the Division is administered by a Divisional Forest Officer. In addition, there are two Botanical Gardens in the country ( .

1. Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Divisions
Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Division, Dhaka.
Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Division, Chittagong.
Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Division, Sylhet.
Wildlife Management and Nature Conservation Division, Khulna.
2. Botanical Gardens
National Botanical Garden, Dhaka.
Botanical Garden and Eco-Park, Chittagong.

3.3 Legal and policy framework for nature conservation

There are several legislative policies and initiatives that provide provisions for regulating, harvesting and protecting plants and animals in Bangladesh. Those are :

3.3.1 National Conservation Strategy (NCS)

The need for a National Conservation Strategy was first emerged in September 1986. Its primary goal was to provide a National Strategy for Conservation of all concerned sectors. It provides specific strategies for sustainable use of natural resources as well as sustainable development in 18 different sectors. The National Conservation Strategy Implementation Project 1(1994-1999) was a five-year project implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), with financial and technical support from NORAD and IUCN. Through this phases 1, one major programme was implemented in four distinct ecosystems-tropical and mangrove forest areas, St.Martin’s Island, Tanguar Haor and Barind Tract. The main objective of all these activities is nature and biodiversity conservation (Mukul, 2007).

3.3.2 National Environment Management Action Plan (NEMAP)

The MoEF prepared the NEMAP, which is based on a comprehensive participatory planning process ranging from grassroots up to national level. Inputs were provided from local communities, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, professional groups, academics, parliamentarians, lawyers and journalists. Together, this cross section of concerned stakeholders identified key institutional, sectoral, location-specific and long-term issues and actions. The NEMAP thus constitutes a synthesis of perceptions of the government, NGO’s and the people on environmental problems and the actions required to address them. The NEMAP provides the policy framework of, and action plan for environmental development in combinations with a set of board sectoral guidelines that emphasis, inter alia, the following: Maintenance of the ecological balance and overall progress and development of the country through protection and improvement of the environment. Protection of the country against natural disasters. Identification and control of all types of activities related to the pollution and degradation to the environment. Undertaking environmentally sound development programmes in all sectors. Sustainable long term and environmentally congenial utilization of all natural resources. Activities in association with all environmental related national and environmental initiatives.

3.3.3 Sustainable Environment Management Programme (SEMP)

The Sustainable Environment Management Programme supported by the UNDP and implemented by MoEf for a five year periods (1998-2002) was the response evolved from the concerns, needs and actions identified through the National Environment Management Action Plan (NEMAP) process. It focuses on community-based resource management in wetlands. In the NEMAP several major priority areas of environmental concern were identified, and the SEMAP has been designed to address these priorities. The programme consists of 26 components on five major themes, and is implemented by 22 organizations from the government, non government organizations (NGO’s) and private sector. The major focus of the programme is to involve community people in the planning and implementation of activities for the management of natural resources that maintain biodiversity and human well-being (Mukul, 2007).

3.3.4 The Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995 and Environment Conservation

The Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act of 1995 was enacted for environmental conservation, environmental standard development and environmental pollution control and mitigation. ECA 1995 is currently the main legislative framework relating to environmental protection in Bangladesh. The Environment Conservation Rules, 1997 are the first set of rules which have been promulgated under the ECA 1995. The major aspects covered by ECR 1997 are the national Environmental Quality Standard; requirements and procedures to get environmental clearance; requirement of Initial Environmental Examination and Environmental Impact Assessment for any project. However, the major application of ECA 1995 was to declaration of Ecologically Critical Areas (ECA) (Mukul, 2007).

3.3.5 National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP)

As a signatory party of CBD Bangladesh has prepared a NBSAP with 24 different conservation components which has been implemented and executed by different government and nongovernmental conservation organizations. National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) of Bangladesh Implementing and Planning agency is Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Donor is GEF/UNDP and objectives of the Bangladesh NBSAP: Formulate strategies and action plans of conservation and sustainable use of country’s biological diversity. Identify the current pressure on the biological resources, and options and priority actions for the conservation and sustainable use of national biodiversity by the stakeholders. Complement and build on the NCS (National Conservation Strategy) as well as the NEMAP (National Environmental Management Action Plan) and other sectoral plans, through participatory processes involving representativeness from different sectors of the society. Raise Community awareness of the sustainable use of biodiversity.

The Bangladesh NBSAP identified a total of 24 conservation related components and subdivided under 13 major priority areas (Mukul, 2007).

3.3.6 Nishorgo Support Project (NSP)

This pilot protected area management programme is a Forest Department’s project and has been financed by USAID under a Strategic Objective Grant Agreement. This is a five year project (2005-2010) and has been primarily implemented in five PAS of the country (i.e., Lawachara National Park, Rema-Kalenga Wildlife Sanctuary, Satchari National Park, Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary and Teknaf Game Reserve). The overall objective of this project is conservation of biodiversity within the PAs. The project has worked to achieve six separate but closely related objectives in support of this overall objective, as stated below: Develop a functional model for formalized collaboration in the management of protected Areas. Create alternative income generation opportunities for key local stakeholders in and around PAs. Develop policies conductive to improve PA management and build constituencies to further these policy goals. Strengthen the institutional system and capacity of the FD and key stakeholders so that improvements under the project can be made permanent. Build or reinforce the infrastructure within PAs that will enable better management, and provide limited visitor services. Design and implement a program of habitat management and restoration for PAs.

3.3.7 Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) (Amendment) Act, 1974

The Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) order,1973 was promulgated under Presidential No. 23 in 1973 and was subsequently enacted and amended as the Bangladesh Wildlife (Preservation) (Amendment) Act,1974. The law provides for the preservation, conservation and management of wildlife in Bangladesh. According to the Act the term wildlife or ‘wild animals’ means ‘any vertebrate creature, other than human beings and animals of usually domesticated species or fish, and include the eggs of birds and reptiles’ only. The law itself is not sufficient to provide legal protections to the significant aquatic biodiversity component of the ecosystem. For example, by this definition, the important components of the coral species in the St. Martin’s Island, and also fishes and mollusks, remain outside the legal protection of this Act (Mukul, 2007).

3.3.8 Bangladesh Forest Act, 1974 and subsequently Amendments

The law provides protection of and development of forests. The government may assign a reserved forest to any forestland or wasteland, or any land suitable for afforestation, which is the property of the government, over which the government is entitles. Subsequently, the Forest Law has been amended and updated foe a number of times in response to changing needs. The Forest Act, 1972, the Forest (Amendment) Act 1990 and the amendment in 2000 may be mentioned in this regard. These are contributing quite a lot to the conservation of biodiversity, although not enough, and much more remains to be done (Mukul, 2007).

3.3.9 Forest Policy and Forestry Sector Master Plan

The GOB first formulated the National Forest policy in 1979.But as the situation began to change with demand for forestry products and consequent depletion of forest resources and degradation of the overall environment, the Government had to update it and formulate a revised policy which is known as the Forest Policy 1994.The biodiversity issue has been given increased importance in the latest policy. The policy stated that attempts will be made to bring about 20% of the country’s land under the afforestation programmes of the government and the private sector by 2015. In order to achieve self reliance in forest products and maintenance of ecological balance, the government will work hand in hand with the NGO’s and people’s participation will be encouraged. The policy further stated that the priority protection areas are the habitats that encompass representative samples of flora fauna in core areas of National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Game Reserves. Attempts wil aiso be made to increase the extent of these protected areas by 10%of the reserved forest area by 2015. To achieve the objectives and targets as stated in the policy, the government has also formulated the Forestry Sector Master Plan (1995-2015). The financial requirements to implement the plan have been estimated to be about TK.80,000 million (Mukul, 2007).

3.3.10 Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan 2009-2017

The Bangladesh Tiger Action Plan (BTAP) marks the beginning of a structured approach to achieving long-term conservation of tigers in Bangladesh. The BTAP is a policy level document that provides a vision, goals, and objectives to guide an integrated and focused tiger conservation programme. The vision is to ensure protected tiger landscapes in Bangladesh, where wild tiger thrive at optimum carrying capacities and which continue to provide essential ecological services to mankind. The main goal for the next years is to stabilize or increase the Sundarbans tiger population. The Bangladesh Forest Department, under the ministry of environment and forests, is the custodian of the forest and its wildlife, but one of the most important aspects of the BTAP is the recognition of the immense task of tiger conservation necessitates support and expertise outside the normal remit of forest management. Therefore, the establishment of a forest department led platform that facilitates collaboration for the implementation of conservation activities will be fundamental to its success (

3.4 Ministries and department of nature conservation organization

Three major institutions are related to nature conservation under the Ministry of environment and forests, Government of the peoples Republic of Bangladesh. These are:

3.4.1. Forest Department;

3. 4.2.2. Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation; and

3.4.3. Bangladesh Forest Research Institute.

These are given below:

3.4.1. Forest Department:

Forest Department is the custodian of National Forest and is responsible for execution of Forest policy, Forest Act, Wildlife preservation Act and other allied Acts and rules associated with Forestry. The Development is also responsible for conservation, protection and development of the resource. In recent decades, the Forest extension activities outside the National forest areas, are also entrusted with the Rajshahi are also operated by the Department. In recent years, the training of village leaders and NGO’s in forest extension activities has been entrusted with FD he Department. Besides, Bangladesh Forest Academy, FDTC, Forest school, Sylhet and Rajshahi are also operated by the Department. In recent years, the training of village leaders and NGO’s in forest extension activities has been entrusted with FD (Forestry Master Plan, 1992).

Forest Department is headed by a chief Conservator of Forests under the overall control of the Ministry of Environment and Forest with the Minister or state Minister incharge of the Ministry. The country is divided into 6 forest circles, each in charge of one Conservator of Forests. The circles are divided into Forest Divisions, each incharge of a Divisional Forest officer. Some Forest Divisions are divided into sub-divisions, each in charge of a SDFO. The divisions are divided into Ranges, incharge of a Range Forest officer. The Ranges are divided into Beats or Coups, incharge of Deputy Ranger or Forester. For Extension works, 97 permanent nurseries have been established in different Forest Divisions, each incharge of a Range Forest officer. There are 33 Forest Divisions, 6 subdivisions, 186 Ranges, 515 Beats, 97 Forest extension nursery centers, 85 Revenue check stations, 170 petrol posts and 4 parks (Forestry Master Plan).

The Forest Department became functional in the portion of the forest now falling in Bangladesh, during British time from 1864. To start with Forest administration was consolidating the reserve and protected forests and under the Forest Act took custody of the areas from the civil administration. With the partition of India in 1947, Forest Department became a part of the then East Pakistan. With the achievement of independence, it became a part of the sovereign state of Bangladesh from 26th march, 1971 (Forestry Master Plan).

During early Pakistan time, full attention was given for revenue earning and little steps were taken for overall development of the forest resource. The inexperienced private sector established, in an unplanned manner, small forest based industries like match factories, plywood factories etc. to meet country’s demand without assessing the regular and cheap supply of forest raw material for efficiently operating the industrial units. Big forest based industries were established by public sector corporations. Their raw material supply, at a low price, was an important function of the forest. These industries were primarily meant for meeting the demand of entire Pakistan. The private sector remains small and limited to saw milling, match factories, plywood factories, hard board factories etc. (Forestry Master Plan, 1992).

During the war of liberation, Forest Department lost considerable tree cover and rehabilitation of the displaced people due to war, took a severe toll on the forest resources. The industries suffered badly due to excess labour employment, loss of market and competitive product cost. The already hostile people around the forest due to deprivation in earlier period became more aggressive and it became extremely difficult for the Forestry protection personnel to prevent illicit fallings. The total moratorium on tree felling in the sal forest area without thinking about the domestic supply and labour employment need, made people more hostile to forest. In the name of ‘Jote Permit’ and otherwise, heavy illicit removal of sal trees continued. The establishment of check stations in important routes could not control the large scale theft of trees. The heavy population pressure and unusual delay in Forest settlement by the civil authority over such land, grow more food campaign, all contributed towards large scale encroachment over the forest areas throughout the inland sal forest and Hill forests. Due to loss of fertility of USF, there is large scale Jhumming by the tribal people every year in Kassalong, Rankheong, Sango and Matamuhuri Rfs. Heavy illicit feelings continued in Sundarban forests and in and around the lot areas and scarcity areas near heavy population. The situation is alarming and forest cover is being lost at the rate of about 37,600ha every year in 1980s and the annual loss likely to increase in 1990s (Forestry Master Plan 1992).

Table-1 Achievements of Development plans in Forestry (percentage)

Particular 1973-78 1978-80 1980-85 1985-90
Utilization of ADP 73 100 89 88
Physical achievement of plantation(public sector) 124 157 75 46
Physical achievement of Rubber plantation(public sector) 100 50 63 63

(Source: Development plans)

In addition to the protection function of Department, the heavy responsibility of disposal of forest produce, their checking in and outside the forest area and development of resources both inside and outside the forest areas coupled with extension activities for the development of village wood lots have assumed a gigantic shape and successful implementation of programes has become impossible. The performance of different development plan periods bears some testimony (Forestry Master Plan, 1992).

Table2- Current Position of Staff Strength in the Forest Department

Category Total sanctioned strengthen Actual in position Vacant positions
Class-1 214 150 64
Class-2 8 6 2
Class-3 5,893 4,982 911
Class-4 3,499 3,359 140
Total 9,614 8,497 1,117

(Source: Forest Department)

The existing sanctioned strength of FD and the Actual number in position speak of a high proportion of posts are currently vacant. The position is not satisfactory. The post of one OCCF, three CFs, 22 DCFs, 30 ACFs, two senior Research officers are vacant in class-1 positions.

3.2.2 Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation

The BFIDC was established through an ordinance “EP ordinance LXV11 of 1959” to catch for the development of mechanized timber extraction, saw milling, seasoning, wood preservation, mechanized furniture factory and host of other allied forest based industrial units including standard doors and windows manufacturing plants using seasoned timbers. The pilot rubber plantation project of the Forest Department was also transferred to the said corporation in the year 1960 for commercial plantation and processing of rubber (Forestry Master Plan, 1992).

BFIDC, a semi-autonomous corporation, is under the overall control of the Ministry of Environment and Forest. It has a Board headed by a chairman. The Board members including the chairman are appointed by the Ministry and they are drawn from different disciplines or departments. The Secretary of the Board is also appointed by the Ministry. The Board members are:

· Chairman

· Director, planning and Development

· Director, Production and Commercial

· Director, Finance

The Chairman is the chief Executive of the corporation and has specified role to play. As a Chairman of the Board of Director, he is to approve agenda of the meeting, to call B