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ASIA-PACIFIC FORESTRY SECTOR OUTLOOK STUDY

WORKING PAPER SERIES

Working Paper No: APFSOS/WP/48

COUNTRY REPORT Bangladesh

By

Forest Department Headquarters


Bangladesh
Nazrul Islam
Bana Bhaban, Mohakhali, Dhaka 1212

Forestry Policy and Planning Division, Rome


Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok
September 1998

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

The Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study is being undertaken under the
auspices of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission.
This report comes under Workplan Number E25.6.

Country Report - Bangladesh

Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INFORMATION NOTE ON ASIA-PACIFIC FORESTRY SECTOR OUTLOOK


STUDY....................................................................................................................................... I
INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................... 1
GENERAL BACKGROUND .................................................................................................. 2
Present Population............................................................................................................................................ 3

GENERAL ECONOMIC SITUATION ................................................................................. 3


Agriculture ........................................................................................................................................................ 3
Industry ............................................................................................................................................................. 5
Energy/Infrastructure ...................................................................................................................................... 5
Employment and Labour Productivity ........................................................................................................... 6
National and Per capita Income ...................................................................................................................... 6
Balance of Payment/Investment ...................................................................................................................... 7
Land and Forest Area ...................................................................................................................................... 8

FOREST SECTOR CONDITIONS ...................................................................................... 10


General ............................................................................................................................................................ 10
Environmental Issues...................................................................................................................................... 11
Major environmental issues ......................................................................................................................... 12

GOALS AND STRATEGIES ................................................................................................ 13


POLICY................................................................................................................................... 14
INSTITUTIONAL ORGANIZATION................................................................................. 15
Major Issues .................................................................................................................................................... 16
Goals and Strategies ....................................................................................................................................... 18

FOREST PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT ............................................................. 18


General ............................................................................................................................................................ 18
Deforestation ................................................................................................................................................... 19

NATURAL FOREST RESOURCES .................................................................................... 21


Hill Forests ...................................................................................................................................................... 21
Sal Forests ....................................................................................................................................................... 21
Mangrove Forests ........................................................................................................................................... 22

INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING.............................................................................. 22
General ............................................................................................................................................................ 23

NATIONAL FOREST POLICY ........................................................................................... 24


Definition ......................................................................................................................................................... 24
Sectoral Policy................................................................................................................................................. 24
Policy Directives.............................................................................................................................................. 26

Country Report - Bangladesh

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Forest Policy Implementation ........................................................................................................................ 27

BANGLADESHS FUTURE FOREST POLICY GOALS................................................. 28


Local Strengths ............................................................................................................................................... 28
Policy Imperatives........................................................................................................................................... 28

POLICY OBJECTIVES AND FRAMEWORK .................................................................. 29


SECTORAL ORGANIZATION ........................................................................................... 31
General Perspective ........................................................................................................................................ 31

REORGANIZATION ............................................................................................................ 32
Forest Department.......................................................................................................................................... 32
Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC) ........................................................... 33
Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI).............................................................................................. 34
Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC)................................................................................ 34

EDUCATION AND TRAINING........................................................................................... 34


General ............................................................................................................................................................ 35
Existing Facilities ............................................................................................................................................ 35

APPENDIX 1 - ABBREVIATIONS, TERMS AND CONVERSION FACTORS............ 37


APPENDIX 2 - AREAS UNDER NATIONAL PARK AND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
IN BANGLADESH (HA) ....................................................................................................... 39
APPENDIX 3 MANAGEMENT PLAN OF SRF.............................................................. 40
APPENDIX 4 - FOREST HARVESTING CODE OF PRACTICE IN BANGLADESH 49
APPENDIX 5 - HAND-OUT FOR THE SEMINAR-WORKSHOP ON THE DRAFT
FINAL REPORTS: FRMP FOREST INVENTORIES ...................................................... 54

Country Report - Bangladesh

Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

INFORMATION NOTE ON ASIA-PACIFIC FORESTRY SECTOR OUTLOOK STUDY

At its sixteenth session held in Yangon, Myanmar, in January 1996, the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission, which
has membership open to all governments in the Asia-Pacific region, decided to carry out an outlook study for
forestry with horizon year 2010. The study is being coordinated by FAO through its regional office in Bangkok
and its Headquarters in Rome, but is being implemented in close partnership with governments, many of which
have nominated national focal points.
The scope of the study is to look at the main external and sectoral developments in policies, programmes and
institutions that will affect the forestry sector and to assess from this the likely direction of its evolution and to
present its likely situation in 2010. The study involves assessment of current status but also of trends from the
past and the main forces which are shaping those trends and then builds on this to explore future prospects.
Working papers have been contributed or commissioned on a wide range of topics. They fall under the following
categories: country profiles, selected in-depth country or sub-regional studies and thematic studies. Working
papers are prepared by individual authors or groups of authors on their own professional responsibility; therefore,
the opinions expressed in them do not necessarily reflect the views of their employers, the governments of the
Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission or of the Food and Agriculture Organization. In preparing the substantive
report to be presented at the next session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission early in 1998, material from
these working papers will be an important element but will be blended and interpreted alongside a lot of other
material.
Working papers are being produced and issued as they arrive. Some effort at uniformity of presentation is being
attempted but the contents are only minimally edited for style or clarity. FAO welcomes from readers any
information which they feel would be useful to the study on the subject of any of the working papers or on any
other subject that has importance for the Asia-Pacific forestry sector. Such material can be mailed to the contacts
given below from whom further copies of these working papers, as well as more information on the Asia-Pacific
Forestry Sector Study, can be obtained:
Rome:

Ms. Qiang Ma
Forestry Officer (Economist)
Policy and Planning Division
Forestry Department
Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
Rome, 00100, ITALY
Tel: (39-6) 5705 3506
Fax: (39-6) 5705 5514
Email: <qiang.ma@fao.org>

Country Report - Bangladesh

Bangkok:

Mr. Patrick Durst


Regional Forestry Officer
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the
Pacific
Maliwan Mansion
Phra Atit Road
Bangkok 10200
THAILAND
Tel: (66-2) 281 7844
Fax: (66-2) 280 0445
Email: <Patrick.Durst@fao.org>

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Country Report - Bangladesh

Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

INTRODUCTION
Situated in the north-eastern part of the South Asian subcontinent, between 20o25 and 26o38
north latitude and 88o01 and 92o40 east longitude, Bangladesh occupies a unique geographic
location. With an area of 14.4 million hectares, it is one of the most fertile regions of the
world and spans a relatively short stretch of land between the Himalayan mountain chain and
the Bay of Bengal. It is a vast flood plain located at the confluence of Ganges, Brahmaputra
and Meghna and is dominated by the flooding patterns of these rivers and those of many
smaller rivers and tributaries. The country has some 700 rivers, tributaries, mountain streams,
and meandering creeks, with a total length of over 24,000 kilometres.
Three broad physiographic regions are discernible in Bangladesh:
a) Flood plains, consisting generally of level alluvium, occupy about 80 percent of the
country. Differences in elevation between adjoining ridges and depressions range from
around one meter on tidal flood plains near the coast to 2-4 meters over the river flood
plains, and as much as 5-6 meters in the Sylhet Basin in the north-east. This physiographic
region is also dotted with other water bodies.
b) Terraces (which are slightly uplifted fault blocks and include Madhupur and Barind tracts)
account for about 8 percent. Topographically Madhupur tract is relatively more dissected
than the Barind tract.
c) Hills occupy about 12 percent of the land area. They occur in northeast and eastern portion
of the country. The hills comprise two types of topography - the high hills and low hills.
The highest elevation in the Chittagong Hill Tract is 600 meters above sea. Slopes in the
hills are generally steep.
Almost all of Bangladesh (144,400 km2) lies in the active delta of three of the worlds major
rivers. A few small tracts of higher land occur in Sylhet, Mymensingh and Chittagong Hill
Tracts (CHT) regions. The south-western region consists of a large number of dead and cutoff rivers, the coastal part of which includes the famous Sundarbans mangrove forest. Within
greater Sylhet and Mymensingh districts lie a number of depressed basins inundated by fresh
water during the monsoon, gradually drying out during the dry winter season. Climate is
tropical and monsoon rainfall varies from 1,200-3,500 mm. Average daily temperatures vary
from 11-34oC. Soils are fertile and well-watered, but less than 20% of the cropped area is
irrigated. Maximum elevation is 850 m on the Bangladesh Burmese border. Rice is the
major agriculture crop while jute, sugarcane and tea are the main cash crops. Other important
crops are wheat, tobacco, pulses, vegetables and tree fruits. Garments, raw and manufactured
jute goods, tea, fish, and hides and skins are the chief exports. 1990/91 exports totalled TK
60.2 billion and imports amounted to TK 111.5 billion. Gross domestic product in current
value was TK 7,156 in 1990/91, equivalent to $200 per capita. Principal natural resources are
natural gas, lignite coal, limestone, ceramic clay and glass sand.

Country Report - Bangladesh

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

GENERAL BACKGROUND
Chittagong and Mongla are the only seaports and Dhaka, Chandpur, Barisal and Khulna are
the main inland ports. Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet have international airports. Dhaka and
Chittagong are the principal domestic airports, there are eight other regional ones.
Environmental issues are given very little importance in national and regional legislation and
development planning. Undoubtedly the major constraint on sustainable development in
Bangladesh is the rapid increase in population. Economic growth must substantially exceed
2.5% annually to improve the living standard of the general population. While agricultural
growth has kept pace with the population increase, production has increased more slowly,
particularly in the 1980s.
Future employment opportunities are as grim; agriculture opportunities are almost exhausted
and 54% of the population is below 15 years of age. Average gross domestic production
(GDP) in the four years ending 1990/91 increased at 3.8% annually.
Agriculture is the major economic activity in Bangladesh, making up 37.6% of 1990/91 GDP
(constant prices) of which forestry contributed 2.5%, according to official statistics. The three
next largest sectors are transport, storage and communication 11.8%, professional services
10.5% and traders 9.1%. Livestock and fisheries are marginally more important than forestry
in the official statistics.
Bangladesh is noted for its estuarine environment, yet less than 10% of its total waterflow
originates from its own catchments, the rest comes from India, Nepal and Bhutan. Normally,
20% of the country gets flooded during the monsoon period.
Important Demographic Features
Important Population features affecting national economic development are:

Life expectancy 55 years, expected to increase to 65 years by 2010.


Active labour force 31%, female participation is about 10%.
Over 50% of the population is below 15 years of age.
0.5% of the population are of tribal origin, many of whom practice shifting cultivation.
About 23% of households are female-headed, a considerable percentage are destitute.
Participation at the primary school level is about 89%, dropping to 26% in the case of the
secondary level and to a mere 3.4% at the higher level of education.
One doctor every 6,300 people, infant mortality is 105/1,000 live births.
Per capita caloric intake in Bangladesh declined to 1,920 calories per day in 1990, from 2,300
calories in 1960. Malnutrition is a major cause of death.
Overall per capita land availability is about 0.12 hectares. Some 60% of the rural population are
now functionally landless, and depend on wage income totally.

Country Report - Bangladesh

Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

Present Population
Bangladeshs 1991 population was 108 million, up from 51 million in 1961, and growing at a
rate of 2.2%/year. Average population density is about 750/km2, reaching some 1,300/km2
near Dhaka, Chittagong and other population centres. The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) has
the least population (less than 80/km2), partially reflecting the lower carrying capacity of the
land and lack of infrastructure and its tribal nature.
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries of the world and population growth
is the most serious problem facing sustainable use of resources. If uncontrolled, it will cause
further poverty and environmental degradation. Life expectancy in 1991 was 56 years and the
literacy rate averaged 25%, female life expectancy is only slightly less but their literacy is
50% of the male rate. Over the next ten years there will be a dramatic rise in the demand for
employment due to the large number of people currently below the age of 15.
About 80% of the population lives in urban areas and the urban population is expected to
reach 41 million by 2000. Population growth is a very serious problem inhibiting sustained
economic growth and resource management and use. The low area of land per capita
intensifies competition for the very limited land resources for different uses. At the same time,
existing agriculture productivity is not great. The present population of Bangladesh comprises
19.7 million households (average household size is 5.3 persons) and about 75% of households
depend on agriculture for a living.
GENERAL ECONOMIC SITUATION

Agriculture
Agricultural activities dominate the national economy and account for 38% of gross domestic
product (GDP). The scarce land resource is subjected to continuously increasing pressure by a
growing population. Considering the size of the agricultural population, the availability of
arable land per capita is less than 0.1 hectares. This level of population pressure has made it
difficult to make landuse allocations based on land capability.
Farm Size and Farming Intensity Farm land distribution is quite skewed, average property
size is about 0.8 hectares. This average, however, camouflages great unevenness in land
distribution. About 40% of the rural population is classified as landless. Small groups of
affluent land owners hold land much in excess of their family needs. Some of this excess
lands is share cropped by landless labourers. In the case of small and medium land holders,
fragmentation of land holdings is increasing alarmingly and impedes efficient utilization.
1983-84 official data indicate that 57% of the total number of rural households are landless
and more than 50% of their income comes from non-farm activities. Therefore, economic
development and poverty alleviation must focus on increasing intensity of farming and on
increasing non-agricultural income. Forestry could play a much more important role.

Country Report - Bangladesh

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Figure 1 Bangladesh land use distribution (total 14.4 million ha)

Other 4%
Water 7%

urban 8%
Tea/rubber
garden 1%
Village Forest 3%
unclassified
Forest 7%

Agriculture 57%

Classified forest
13%

Bangladesh Forest Land (total 2.24 million ha)

Medium-good density
20.5%

Unclassified areas
44.1%

Bamboo
3.2%
Poor density
3.7%

Sparse Trees/Baren
4.3%

Plantations
13.5%

Water/unproductive
0.6%
Jhummed Encroached
4.9%

Protected Area
5.2%

Nature is bountiful in Bangladesh, but it is poorly managed and exploited. In spite of


considerable progress in food grains production, self-sufficiency has not been achieved due to
rapid population growth. Of the present net cropped area (8.84 million hectares), 49% is
single cropped, 42% is double cropped and 9% is triple cropped. Improving the situation calls

Country Report - Bangladesh

Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

for diversified development, expanding horticultural crops, growing multipurpose trees, and
intensified farming methods.
Livestock and Fisheries Livestock can be found on most farms. The most recent 1983-84
Census indicates 22 million cattle, 14 million sheep/goats and 74 million poultry are present
in the country. Small farms account for a share of 43% of all cattle and about 50% of the
sheep, goats, and chickens. Grazing facilities for cattle are very limited in rural areas and are
mostly of poor quality. Some 75 million tons of fresh dung is produced annually, of which
about 50% is used as manure and the rest as cooking fuel.
Fishing in ponds, inland water bodies and the inundated flood plain is an important activity.
Apart from hydrological characteristics, the nature and distribution of vegetation plays an
important role in influencing the fish yield. Some 768,000 fishermen are involved in inland
fishing and 510,000 in marine fishing.

Industry
Agricultural, rural and cottage industries, and related activities accounted for more than 90%
of all private employment in Bangladesh. Farming alone accounts for nearly 60% of all
labour. The crude rate of participation in employment is 31%, unchanged since 1984-85.
Industrial sector growth remains slow due to a number of factors. While agricultures share of
total employment decreased from 85% in 1950/51 to 58% in 1988/89, the corresponding
change in the industrial employment rose from 4% to only 14%.
The number of industrial units in the country is about 30,000 out of which 80% are cottage
industries. Early industries utilized renewable local resources such as jute, sugarcane, tea,
tobacco, cotton, forest-based raw materials and hides and skins because of the agrarian nature
of the economy. The use of non-renewable local raw materials began in the sixties. During the
second half of the sixties, a modern industrial base with heavy industries developed. Many of
these industries use imported raw and intermediate materials. In recent years a garment
industry developed, mainly for export.

Energy/Infrastructure
The limited development of industry is also reflected in the pattern of energy consumption and
sources. Total energy balance in 1990 indicated that the share of commercial energy was 27%
(up from 17% in 1981) and that of biomass energy 73% (down from 83% in 1981). While the
bulk of the total energy consumed (about 73%) was accounted for by the household sector for
subsistence purposes, industry accounted only for about 17%. Commercial, transport and
other sectors consumed the rest.
Households predominantly use biomass fuel for cooking (100% in rural households and 70%
in urban households) and kerosene for lighting (93% in rural households and 76% in urban
households). Average energy consumption per capita in 1990 was reported as 57 kilograms of
oil equivalent. Energy use is generally inefficient.

Country Report - Bangladesh

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

An important aspect of production and use of energy in Bangladesh is the regional disparity in
the availability of energy sources. Most of the known resources of fossil fuel, the only source
of hydro-power and a major portion of State forests are located in the east zone. Other areas,
which are densely populated, have to depend, to a great deal, on whatever is locally available
i.e. agricultural residues and homestead vegetation, especially for domestic purposes.
Inadequate infrastructure is also a constraint, slowing the economic growth of the country.
Transport, storage and communication facilities need further upgrading. The large number of
rivers facilities cheap water transport, but are often seasonally disrupted due to floods or lack
of sufficient flow. Expanding the land transportation network is also made difficult by the
presence of many rivers.

Employment and Labour Productivity


The pattern of employment in 1989 indicates that 31% were self-employed, 42% were unpaid
family helpers, 14% were employees and 13% were casual labourers. Officially reported
unemployment is 1.1%, a rate which masks massive underemployment. The projections
indicate that there will be an increase of 32% in labour force between 1990 and 2000. This
calls for substantial generation of new employment opportunities.
Bangladesh has very low wage rates, this differential from other countries is advantageous in
the short and medium term for developing export oriented and labour intensive enterprise,
provided workers are given necessary training. The recent growth of the garment industry is
an example of this. The situation of unemployment/underemployment and low rate of
earnings has prompted the migration of skilled labour. Bangladeshis employed abroad in 1989
remitted $771 million, a sum equal to about 60% of the countrys merchandise exports.

National and Per capita Income


The incidence of poverty in Bangladesh is alarmingly high compared to neighbouring
countries. Estimates show that during the last 25 years the poverty situation has not improved.
The number of people below the poverty line was estimated at 43% for 1988/89, similar to
1963/64 rates. The corresponding figures for other countries in 1988-89 were: 35 for India; 23
for Pakistan; and 27 for Sri Lanka. 1990 gross national product (GNP) per capita of
Bangladesh is $210, compared to: $350 for India; $380 for Pakistan; and $470 for Sri Lanka.
The average annual growth rate of GNP per capita in Bangladesh between 1965-1990 was
0.7%, compared to 1.9% for India; 2.5% for Pakistan; and 2.9% for Sri Lanka.
In 1990, Bangladeshs GDP (gross domestic product) equalled $22,880 million with the
forestry sector constituting about 3% of this. This does not, however, reflect the true
importance of the forestry sector due to the problem of valuation. Also, the various benefits
and multiplier effects attributable to forestry are often assigned to other sectors such as
industry, services and agriculture. During the five year period of 1991-95, an average annual
GDP growth rate of 5% is the target sectoral growth rate, 3.6% for agriculture and 9.1% for
industry. GDP growth in Bangladesh, during 1980-90, was 4.3%, agricultural production grew
at 2.6%, industry at 4.9%, manufacturing at 2.8% and services at 5.8%.

Country Report - Bangladesh

Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

Balance of Payment/Investment
Bangladesh suffers from a persistent negative balance of trade and current account deficit.
Total external debt as in 1990 stood at $12.2 billion (up from $3.8 billion in 1980). During the
period 1980-90, gross domestic investment in Bangladesh grew negatively at 0.6% (as
against 5.0% for India, 5.7% for Pakistan and 0.4% for Sri Lanka). For the year 1990, gross
domestic savings were only 2% of GDP. Almost 90% of GDP was accounted for by private
consumption and 9% by government consumption. Gross domestic investment of about 12%
of GDP was based mostly on external assistance, thus indicating a resource balance of about
10% (and a development assistance of over $2 billion, equivalent to about 83% of total
investment).
The high level of dependence on external sources for public investment will persist at least for
several years. The investment financing gap, met from external sources, over the Fourth Five
Year Plan (1991-95) exceeds $9 billion (constant 1990 prices).
Table 1 Bangladesh Land Area Classification
Landuse Category

Hectares
Million

Agriculture
State Forest
Classified
Unclassified
Private Forest
Village
Tea/Rubber Garden
Total
Urban
Water
Other
Total

Country Report - Bangladesh

Percent

9.25

64.2

1.49
0.73

10.3
5.1

0.27
0.07
2.56
1.16
0.94
0.49
2.59
14.40

1.9
0.5
17.8
8.1
6.5
3.4
18.0
100.0

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Figure 2 Regional forest land and population


Hill Tract
Southeast
Southeast
Forest Area

Northcentre

Population

Northeast
West
Northw est

10

20

30

40

50

60

Percent

Land and Forest Area


Agricultural land makes up 64% of Bangladeshs land area, forest lands account for almost
18%, and urban areas account for a further 8% (Table 1). Water and other land uses account
for the remaining 10%. Table 1 presents figures, showing that total forest land area totals 2.56
million ha, including officially classified and unclassified state lands and forest lands
accounted for by village forests and tea/rubber gardens. In the case of private forests, the data
represent tree covered areas, but this is not the case with the state areas. Most of the state
forest land is devoid of trees. Classified and unclassified forest land merely designates
government-owned land once covered by forests and it signifies an administrative or legal
category, not necessarily areas with forest cover.
Table 2 gives the most up to date summary of actual forest area shown in figure 2. This data
shows that the natural forest accounts for almost 31% and forest plantations 13% of total
forest areas. Shifting agriculture plus illegal occupation cover 5% of forest lands while water
(9%) and unproductive area (0.6%) and other areas (35%) account for almost 45% of forest
land. Presently protected areas represent just over 5% of forest land. BFD is responsible for
administering 65% of state forest land (about 1.46 million ha) .The balance comes under local
District Commissioners.
Excluding parks and sanctuaries, but including the better quality natural forest (medium to
good density) plus bamboo areas and plantations gives a figure of 835,000 ha of reasonable
quality forest vegetation on state forest land. This equals 5.8% of Bangladeshs total area. The
area included in the present protected area network is 116,700 ha, equal to 5.2% of state forest
land or less than 1% of Bangladeshs total area.

Figure 3 Per capita forest land and forest cover

Country Report - Bangladesh

Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

16000
14000

Good Forest
Forest Land

Square Metres

12000
10000
8000
6000
4000
2000

ki
st
an
Ba
ng
la
de
sh

Pa

In
di
a

Ph
ilip

pi

ne

si
a

In
do
ne

bu
rm

bh
ut
an

Tabular data rest on outdated forest inventories, excepting the Sundarbans mangrove forest.
Social unrest in the tribal hill areas has compounded the problem of getting more reliable
estimates for the remaining area outside of the Sal forests.
In terms of forest land, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Division on the eastern border contributes
47% followed by the Sundarbans and Patuakhali Coastal Divisions at 27%. The north-western
divisions, including Dinajpur, Bogra, Rajshahi and Rangpur Districts, has the least state forest
land, less than 1%. The western divisions of Jessore, Kusthia, Faridpur and Bhola have
slightly more than 1%.
Table 2 Classified and Unclassified Forest Land by Physical Cover
Type of Land Cover

Area
Hectares

Natural Forest
Medium-Good Density
Poor Density
Bamboo
Scattered Trees/Barren
Total
Plantations
Jhummed/Encroached
Total Productive
Unproductive
Parks/Sanctuaries
Water
Other*
Total Unproductive
Total
*Predominantly Unclassified State Forest (USF)

Country Report - Bangladesh

460,700.0
82,200.0
71,200.0
95,900.0
710,000.0
303,000.0
111,000.0
1,124,000.0
12,900.0
116,700.0
9.0
786,600.0
1,118,200.0
2,242,300

Percent
20.5
3.7
3.2
4.3
31.7
13.5
4.9
50.1
0.6
5.2
44.1
44.9
100.0

10

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

On a per capita basis, there was 225 m2 of forest land for every Bangladesh citizen in 1993.
This drops to 99 m2 considering only reasonably forested land which excludes barren areas
and low density vegetation. Table 3 shows area and volume of the natural forest by forest
types.
FOREST SECTOR CONDITIONS

General
Bangladeshs forestry sector consists mainly of the primary production of forest products.
Excluding pulp and paper, the secondary sector is weakly developed and under-capitalized; it
features obsolete technology and badly designed or worn out equipment. Tertiary
manufacturing is even less well developed. Primary production of logs and bamboo, the main
industrial products, comes mostly from private land and secondly from government managed
forest land. Government forests serve the organized manufacturing section, especially the
government sector.
Table 3 Principal Primary and Secondary Wood Using Industry
Industry
Primary
Sawnwood
Pulp
Newsprint
Paper
Rayon
Cellophane
Particleboard
Hardboard
Plywood
Plywood
Tea cheat
Match
Pencil
Secondary
Seasoning
Treatment
Bobbin
Furniture
Door/Window
a = Mechanical
b = 1989
g = Excludes pitsaws

Country Report - Bangladesh

Unit

Number

Annual Volume (000)


Capacityb
Production

m3
ADT
ADT
ADT
ADT
ADT
m2
m2

4,492
1
1
3
1
na
2
2

5,868.0
30.5
50.8
136.0
2.4
1.0
4,142.0
3,121.0

2,726.0
18.0d
43.5d
61.0d
1.2d
na
2,748d
1,589d

m2
no
gross boxes
gross

8
8
18
1

2,787.0

1,248

15,000.0
194,000.0

12,400
na

m3
m3
no
m3
m2

6
6
12
1
3

28.3
62.3
3,100.0
1,700.0
83.6

na
na
na
na
na

c = 1989/90

d = 1990/91

e = 1979/80

f = BFRI, 1992

Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

11

Figure 4 Actual recent forest department expendiutres


20

US million

15
Development

10

Normal

19
88
/8
8
19
90
/9
1

19
80
/8
1
19
82
/8
3
19
84
/8
5
19
86
/8
7

The estimated demand for round logs in the country in 1991 was 4.26 million m3 of which
0.25 million was consumed by process industries and the rest by households. In comparison,
the sustainable local supply was 1.28 million m3. Roundwood consists of both direct and
derived demand for domestic consumption and industrial processing. A recent moratorium on
felling created a shortage in the market. This, along with tribal insurgency problems in hill
districts, seriously affects some government-owned forest industries.
Wood markets are fed both by recognized and unrecognized sources of log supply. Among the
unrecognized sources, unrecorded production, illicit felling and smuggling from neighbouring
countries are important. A minimum figure of 20% is commonly accepted as coming from
unrecognized sources.
Panel product marketing in Bangladesh is in its infancy. Potential for growth exists, but lack
of standards; market promotion and existing product surplus creates the lowest production,
sales and consumption in developing countries. Local preference is for solidwood products;
market promotion and effective pricing is necessary to help expand this market. The demand
for paper, paper products and newsprint is increasing, but lacks sufficient pulpwood and pulp
processing industries, new demand being met through imports. Forest development, with
proper emphasis on pulpwood plantations and other commercial softwoods, could save the
existing paper related industries and encourage future expansion.

Environmental Issues
Environmental impact assessment experience is limited in Bangladesh, and legislation and
policy are weak. Significant training and national capacity building is needed, within both the
Forest and Environment Departments. There is an absence of effective policy, legislation, and
implementation mechanisms for conservation, protected area management, wildlife
management and biodiversity. For example, environmental impact guidelines for the forestry
sector do not exist in Bangladesh and need developing. Finally, while there is substantial
Country Report - Bangladesh

12

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

international agreement on the need for biodiversity protection, there remains the question of
who should pay for such programmes, as well as pollution mitigation measures. Owing to its
population and limited resources, Bangladesh can ill afford not to fully utilize its limited
resources. The problem is how to manage renewable resources without depleting them or their
productive capacities.
Environment Issues

Declining plant and animal varieties.


Present exploitation levels are not sustainable.
Productivity is unacceptably low.
Social equity remains unresolved.
Absence of effective environment monitoring.

Major environmental issues


Conserving ecological processes is critical for Bangladesh and its extremely diverse species
compliment. The regulation of these processes by micro organisms, animal and humans has
impacts on the complex relationships within and between species, habitats and ecosystems.
This diversity is substantially threatened, particularly through man-induced changes.
Past and present forest resource use and exploitation patterns, if allowed to continue, will
result in further severe depletion of growing stock and reduced varieties of flora and fauna.
These past patterns are not sustainable. To what extent can the remaining natural forests in the
country be exploited, without causing irreversible and permanent damage to the natural
heritage of the country? Given the pressures on land in Bangladesh, how much can
realistically be kept under a protected area system?
The net result of all the plantation activities over the last 100 years in Bangladesh has been
negative, as has the traditional approach of the Forest Department in designating reserves for
revenue generation while not contributing to providing basic needs for local people. The
productivity of forest management techniques requires a dramatic increase. How can this best
be achieved, given the existing severe social and institutional constraints?
Social equity has not been seriously attempted before and the forestry sector has not fostered
the participation of people in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating sectoral
programmes. Biomass production, development of non wood forest products, and community
participation and benefit-sharing are not adequately addressed. To what extent can equity in
forestry activities be addressed through participatory mechanisms?
Bangladesh has only recently created institutional mechanisms for environmental management
through the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Department of Environment. A
major issue is how to build the institutional capacity and how to use existing national level
expertise more in environmental impact assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of the forest
sector.

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GOALS AND STRATEGIES


Analysis shows that Bangladeshs goals for constructing a balanced environment contributing
to national social and economic goals, while preserving and improving environment
conditions, involve:

Establishing standards and strengthening national conservation practices.


Ensuring that forest management sustains, if not improves, existing resources.
Productivity per unit of time or area requires major improvement.
Equitable access to benefits coming from the forests go to appropriate, local,
disadvantaged groups.
Improved environment management capability.

Conservation Standards Conservation strategy has to focus on bringing the present


protected area under accepted standards and management before considering expanding the
area. To do this requires:

Rationalized boundaries and management plans for existing protected areas.


Modifying relevant legislation to support the new goals and strategy.
Develop and implement endangered species action plans.
Creating and empowering an effective body responsible and accountable for protecting
wildlife, preserving biological variety and managing protected areas.

The next line of action needed is to build up national conservation facilities in the form of
botanical gardens, herbaria and zoos. Once these are in place, the creation of new protected
areas, including national parks and game sanctuaries and new types as well, e.g. historical,
cultural and recreational sites, can begin.
Sustained Resources Management Bangladesh is a party to the UNCED environment
management accord recently agreed. Meeting the principles defined in that document means:

Altering existing silviculture systems and practices to eliminate destructive impacts from
harvesting and planting activities.
Rewriting and updating forest management plans to include effective measures to protect
watersheds, soil and wildlife.
Beginning effective research on species regeneration requirements and regular continuous
monitoring of forest conditions.
Implementing the convention on biodiversity.

As a matter of policy, the International Tropical Timber Organizations guidelines for


sustained management of natural tropical forests are appropriate and need adopting and
implementing.
Increasing Productivity Unless productivity is dramatically improved, Bangladesh has
little chance whatsoever of retaining its natural forest areas. The correct way to achieve this,
involves several processes:

Increase forest productivity on existing and new plantations on unforested land.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Multiple use management and production requires zoning core and buffer areas for
different levels and types of utilization and user benefits in areas subjected to heavy and
varied use.
Increase productivity by planting open and sparsely covered areas with multipurpose and
non wood product species, e.g. fodder, legumes and nitrogen-fixing species.
Keep coastal areas and charlands in mangroves, creating plantation on accreting areas,
rather than allowing conversion to agriculture.
Prohibit low-technology shrimp farming from further expansion on forest lands.

Equity Factors
Forestry activities are inseparable from local peoples basic needs. People must benefit more from
development and in a more equitable fashion, requiring:

Significant re-ordering of priorities primarily through institutional change and a strong focus on
effective local public involvement in resource planning decision, activities and management.
Rationalizing forest reserve areas, particularly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Developing programmes which support or positively impact tribal cultures.
Integrate forestry programmes with other rural development activities rather than maintaining
separate identities.
Introduce community-based resource management programmes primarily controlled by and
benefiting the resident population.
Plan to actively involve positive, effective NGO groups in local development.

Environmental Management Strengthening local capabilities to more effectively manage


and plan resource development requires:

Environment impact assessment training for both Forest and Environment Department
staff.
Forming a coastal management development authority to manage coastal development in a
coordinated and controlled fashion.
Upgrading the Forest Departments resource information management system with a
geographic information system to assist monitoring and evaluating forestry activities and
environmental impacts.
Coordinating and implementing forestry development with evolving national conservation
and coastal environmental management strategies plans and action plans.

POLICY
Because NWFPs receive little economic recognition, there is a lack of policies, rules and
regulations supporting their development. There are harvesting rules for some products, but
they are not strictly followed. For other products there are no rules and regulations.
Restrictions on collecting are mostly non existent, there is no effective management of NWFP
resources, and little effort goes to replenishing the resources. The present system of clearcutting does not support the plant diversity and forest structure needed to conserve and protect
a wide range of NWFPs.

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15

In the case of government lands, GOB has to identify and delineate suitable areas for NWFP
collection and be ready to allow public and private groups and communities to use the land on
agreed terms and conditions. Since there are no guidelines yet on the granting of forest lands
for NWFP development, these require definition and approval.
INSTITUTIONAL ORGANIZATION
There is no single body specifically responsible for developing and managing NWFPs. BFD
administers the land from which most supplies originate but devotes only slight attention to
managing the depleting resources. Bangladesh Scientific Industrial Research Councils
(BSIRC) mandate includes developing small and cottage industries. However, BSIRC needs
strengthening and convincing of the importance of NWFP industries in providing employment
and income for the poor. Presently, this opportunity is not well recognized.
Table 4 - Area and Volume of the Natural Forests of Kassalong and Rangkhiang by Forest
Types
Location

Forest Cover Type

1963
Area (ha)

Kassalong

Total
Rangkhiang

Timber-types
Timber-bamboo
Bamboo-timber
Bamboo-types
Plantation
Non-forest and nonproductive areas
Timber-types
Timber-bamboo
Bamboo-timber
Bamboo types
Plantation
Non-forest and nonproductive areas

Total
Grand Total

1983

52689
23506
31972
41366
5013
9981

Volume
(000cu m)
7002.4
2818.0
1725.8
714.6
-

164527
20325
6933
17519
27907
2011
2409
77104
241631

Area (ha)
46395
14878
23525
12653
14330
52667

Volume
(000 cu m)
6337.6
1679.7
1270.3
218.9
-

12260.8
3285.5
988.5
809.0
563.1
-

164448
7116
3228
6194
13606
8873
38087

9506.5
1220.4
393.8
286.2
274.8
-

5646.1
17906.9

77104
241552

2175.2
11681.7

Source: De Milde, R. et al. 1985. The Kassalong and Rankhiang Reserve Forests in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Field
Document No. 10 FAO/UNDP Project, BGD/79/017

Research and development efforts with NWFPs are scattered, unorganized and uncoordinated.
Coordination and institutional linkages at local and national level between government, nongovernment and other agencies is missing. Confusion exists as to what agency is responsible
for each product. Competent, knowledgeable and well-trained staff responsible and
accountable for developing, managing, processing, utilizing and marketing NWFP are needed.
staff to do this will require good programmes for training.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

In order to promote profitable, self-sustaining socio-economic development in villages and


communities near NWFP resources, it is imperative to develop and promote NWFP-based
industries. Existing cottage industries are mostly household-based. To maintain profitability,
they require adequate support in terms of financial, technical and marketing assistance. The
households engaged in each industry need to be organized into functional transparent
cooperatives. This type of development and coordination must have active linkages with other
government agencies, e.g. Department of Agriculture, Bangladesh Agriculture Research
Institute, Agriculture Extension, and NGOs, plus normal credit institutions.
The government should encourage and support the establishment of an integrated NWFP
processing or manufacturing industry, including murta, rattan and bamboo. This has to include
an effective and efficient marketing system. Traditional artisans are leaving their trade
because of the seasonal nature of the industry. An integrated established industry, offering a
continuous and rewarding source of income, if given proper encouragement, can provide
significant employment in many parts of Bangladesh.
Success in the various NWFP programmes requires a well managed and expanding resource.
Industry development will require systematic and organized extension services. Awareness
appreciation and organized motivation are essential in getting peoples participation. Only
extension and training can generate this motivation and support.

Major Issues
Uncoordinated Development The main issue facing future NWFPs development and
improvement is the lack of a single organization responsible for the collection, promotion
and/or development of non wood products. In the absence of such a unit, it is not possible to
make a coordinated effort to achieve a breakthrough in any remarkable promotion of these
products.
Five issues dominate non-wood product development

Uncoordinated development.
Inappropriate forest management.
Inadequate resource information.
Under developed extension services.
Unexploited social and economic development opportunity.

A well developed and economically successful industry based on non wood products requires
the will and commitment to package and transfer the technology to the primary producers and
processors through an institutionally coordinated scheme. There is an urgent need to create an
office or unit to promote and develop non wood products. Adequate funds for the operations
of the proposed office are also needed. One way to do this is to put back wood products
revenue or income to finance development until the programme becomes self sustaining.
Government should provide an incentive or reward system for people involved in NWFPs
development and management.
Policy and Institutional Strengthening The lack of long term policy places NWFPs in an
unhealthy situation. Responsive, long term policies need formulating, appropriately supported

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by research and development. The policy formulated should be relevant to the thrusts and
priorities of the government. Specifically, it must conform with the present and proposed
forest, health, industrial and trade policies. These policies need gearing towards poverty
alleviation, social equity and sustained public participation. Moreover, some organizations or
agencies must have sole responsibility and financing to develop NWFPs from collection point
to marketing.
Inappropriate Forest Management Government must change its traditional forest
management and development approach. Its clear felling silvicultural system requires
replacement with one which not only conserves biodiversity but maintains the non wood
product resource base. This will keep the forest ecosystem healthy and help to sustain the
economy of forest-dwelling communities. Both management and development strategies must
promote the countrys forests as an integrated complex of both wood and NWFPs.
Silvicultural issues are many, in fact, higher yield from plantations and high forest, are mainly
silviculture and management related. For the last few decades, forest protection has become
very problematic. This problem will assume a still higher proportion if the socio-economic
conditions of a large majority of the population worsens.
More protected areas need to be demarcated in the country to support NWFP development.
The potential of the protected areas NWFP for production and conservation remain untapped
and requires close study. Areas used mainly for non wood products need zoning, delineating
and need to be managed separately and intensively from traditional products.
Inadequate Resource Information There is a great need for a comprehensive nation-wide
inventory of NWFP resources. Quantitative data are needed for the formulation of more
responsive policies and in designing and developing appropriate plans, activities, projects, and
related programmes. Methods and systems for reliable resource assessment need developing,
including manpower and equipment to make the assessment.
Social Equity A component of sustainable forest development is the promotion of equitable
distribution of forest benefits. The traditional disposition of forest resources, including non
wood products, through the auction system discriminates against poor people and is
destructive to the resource. The recommendation is to develop and implement an alternative
system where long term licenses or permits go to organized communities near the resources.
However, these communities require training as sustained developers, producers and
processors of the resources. These needs can easily drive an extensive poverty alleviation
programme in support of government social goals. However, with the right to harvest the
particular natural products goes the responsibility to protect, enrich and manage the resources
so that the benefits are sustained.
Undeveloped Extension Services Successful non wood product programmes on resource
base management and industry development requires systematic and organized extension
services. Awareness, appreciation, and motivation are essential in making people act and
participate. More importantly, capabilities and supportive skills are strong driving forces that
would make the programme successful. Good extension and training generates the motivation
and support needed.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Integrated non wood crops are a logical part of an effective extension and training programme.
A battery of extension workers need training on the various technical aspects, including seed
technology, nursery propagation, plantation development, management/ maintenance,
harvesting/collection, processing and marketing. In turn, these extension workers train the
cooperators in resource management and development, and in the development of household
industries. This means providing advice in planning and sustained management, technology in
production and processing, and marketing.

Goals and Strategies


Developing NWFPs is an important area with tremendous potential in poverty alleviation and
widespread economic development. There is some scope for building raw material supplies,
selectively. Government supports and facilitates reasonable credit, increases raw material
supplies, and helps to supply training and extension services. Specific programmes and project
identification are better left to individual private companies, groups or active NGOs.
Principal strategies to improve Bangladeshs non wood products resource and related social
and economic benefits involve coordinating institutional support and developing NWFP
policy integrated with GOBs broad social and economic goals and policies.
FOREST PRODUCTION AND MANAGEMENT

General
Forest management in Bangladesh has a history of over a century. Initially, management
concentrated mainly on natural forests, principally mangrove and Dipterocarpus forests, and to
a lesser extent on small areas of plantations, chiefly teak. Multidata inventory surveys are not
available for all Bangladeshs forests. Approximately 65% of the forest area was measured
twice in the past 30 years the reserved forests of Sundarbans, Kassalong, Rankhiang, Sangu
and Matamuhuri.
Bangladeshs natural forests are controlled by the Forest Department and fall under three
classes: hill forests (48%), inland sal forests (9%) and mangrove forests (43%). Rural
inventories show an overall depletion in forest resources in all the major forests. For example,
the growing stock in the Sundarbans fell from 20.3 million m3 in 1960 to 13.2 million m3 in
1984, a 35% decline over 25 years. In the reserved forests of Chittagong Hill Tracts, growing
stock decreased from 23.8 million m3 in 1964 to below 19.8 million m3 in 1985.
Accurate information on tree cover density in all forests is not available. One estimate puts the
average density in State forests at about 57%. Other estimates indicate that the current average
growing stock in government forests is only just over 30 m3/ha and that the growing stock in
1990s was approximately two thirds of 1980s 71 million m3. Deforestation is a prominently
visible phenomenon, and equally seriously, although less conspicuous, is depletion and
degradation of stocking conditions.

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Deforestation
Forest cover losses in Bangladesh remain unsurveyed or unmapped and their exact size and
location are not conclusively determined, except for periodic visual observations. These
estimates indicate that damage affects one eighth of the countrys land area. The different
estimates of deforestation reported in various sources are not mutually consistent. In the
absence of survey and demarcation of areas classified as forests, it is not possible to improve
the information base. About half of the land area controlled by the Forest Department lacks
tree cover. By major class, forested areas are: hill forests (including unclassed state forests)
54% cover, sundarbans 99% and sal forests 32%. Figures 27 to 29 illustrate recent areas of
forest loss rates in three of Bangladeshs main forests.
Major causes of deforestation
Deforestation results mainly from agriculture land clearing, principally shifting cultivation. Other
causes include landuse changes, encroachments, grazing, fire, uncontrolled and wasteful commercial
logging, illegal fellings and fuelwood collection. The direct causes are the symptoms or effects of a
wide malaise poverty, landlessness, economic underdevelopment, inappropriate forest policies and
regulations, lack of landuse planning, uncertainties in land tenure system and socio-political
instability.
Local economic conditions provide strong economic and financial incentives to those involved in
encroachment and illegal felling. GOB is unable to solve the problem of restrictive convenants and
punitive legislation.

Shifting Cultivation Shifting cultivation goes with primitive economies and isolated
cultural communities. Shifting cultivation is characterized by a rotation of fields rather than by
crops, accompanied by slashing and burning. In a situation of little, or no, population or
market pressure, shifting cultivation is environmentally acceptable. There were stable cases of
integrated land use, and good agroforestry. However, with a developing market economy and
the inevitable population pressure on land, the once elegant system of shifting cultivation
collapsed into degradation and retrogression, influenced by factors both internal and external
to the system. Control or regulation of jhuming is not effective and vast tracts are denuded in
the hill regions. About 60,000 families engaged in shifting cultivation involve an area of about
85,000 hectares of the hill forests reserves, excluding the shifting cultivation in the Chittagong
hill tracts.
Encroachment Encroachment is a serious problem both in the plain land sal forests and the
hill forests, however, information available about encroachment is scarce. Encroached lands
lack legal surveys and the exact area involved is unknown. Current data are the visual
estimates of the Forest Department field staff. The encroachment problem in the forest areas
of Chittagong, Chittagong hill tracts and Coxs Bazar is political and involves cyclone
refugees. Encroached sal forests in the central and northern Bangladesh area result from
tenurial uncertainties. Organized encroachments carried out by dummy encroachers
supported by politically powerful local groups also exist. The Forest Department is unable to
control these encroachments. Lack of coordination between the Land Department and the
Forest Department in land transfers and records adds to the problem. Some 77,000 hectares of
forest land involving 12,200 families appear involved.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Land Transfers Land transfers have taken place where forested land get diverted for
purposes of human settlement, development of industry, fishery, transport and
communications, irrigation, energy and power, mining, tourism, educational institutions and
defence. The extent of such transfers was about 61,000 hectares until 1984.
New Land Accretions While existing forest cover is being lost on a large scale, there are
some gains on a smaller scale by afforestation of denuded areas and newly accreted land. The
large sediment load, estimated at 1.5 to 1.8 billion MT annually, and carried by the GangesBrahmaputra-Meghna river system, creates a dynamic delta-farming process. There is an
overall seaward movement of the belt of mangrove forests as more silt and mud are deposited
at the mouth of rivers. This gives rise to a permanent ecological transfer of sites on the
landward fringe to dryland vegetation above tidal influence.
Within the sedimentation zone in the Bay of Bengal, the processes of land accretion and
erosion are going on simultaneously. A comparative Landsat imagery study shows a net
accretion of 35,650 hectares in coastal districts over a three-year period. A BFD programme to
plant mangroves in the coastal areas started in 1966, and has continued as an important
programme in the sector. Since initiation, an area of about 125,000 hectares of newly accreted
land planted with mangrove species now exists. A new seven-year programme for afforesting
about 33,000 hectares with mangroves began in 1992, as part of the Forest Resources
Management Project.
Accreted lands are the Governments property and are the responsibility of the Ministry of
Land Administration and Land Reform. In 1976 the Government, recognizing the role of
mangroves in stabilizing newly formed lands, decided to transfer the management of 498,000
hectares of newly formed lands in the four coastal divisions to the Forest Department for
afforestation purposes. Originally, the transfer was intended for 10 years but was extended to
20 years in 1985. Objectives of the coastal afforestation programme have evolved through the
years. Initially conceived to provide a shelterbelt as an added protection against tidal bore and
cyclones, it soon became apparent that more benefits were possible. While the prime goal of
the coastal afforestation remained the creation of new land for agricultural use (also for
shrimp farming), virtually no land has reverted back to the relevant authorities. Currently, the
suggestion is to return the land for reallocation when the plantations get harvested or become
unsuitable for mangroves.
While the potential contribution of coastal plantations towards mitigating the damages from
tidal and storm surges is not disputed, their financial success will depend on a viable (and
value adding) programme utilizing wood products. As fuelwood, plantation value at site is
negligible. A utilization plan (using wood resources of the afforested coastal area) for
promoting processing industry will help to improve the income and employment situation in
the adjoining areas.

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NATURAL FOREST RESOURCES

Hill Forests
The hill forests are the most important watershed areas of the country and are composed of
tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests. Government management of these forests
began in the 1870s under a system of selection felling and natural regeneration. Subsequently,
in the 1930s a system of clear felling followed by artificial regeneration or plantation
appeared, while a system of selection-cum-improvement felling continued. The prescriptions
for plantations included a specification to establish natural regeneration plots of six to ten
meters wide around every 40 hectare plantations.
During the second World War, these forests were heavily exploited and increased exploitation
continued after independence in 1947 to meet the rising demand of forest products.
Subsequent management practice raised long and short rotation plantation on a large scale,
and abandoned the natural regeneration plots. Delays in revision/reformulation of
management plans (working plans) occurred, and the need for ensuring timber requirements of
industries and regulating the area of annual plantations resulted in ad hoc treatment. Yield
regulation by area was changed to one of predetermined volume. This led to larger felling
areas and consequently a larger plantation programme. Logging operations in the hill forests
are partly by mechanized and partly manual methods. A 1982 review of logging operations
recorded a huge wastage of wood as mechanized logging residues.
The decision for large scale conversion of tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen forests of
high biological diversity in the hill areas relies on the rationale that forest protection and
plantations produce better and higher yields. Sustained principles of forest management were
not applied in practice and adequate information to establish annual allowable cuts does not
exist. The improper and wasteful management of the hill forests thus lead to the eventual
imposition of a government moratorium on all logging in natural forests in 1989.

Sal Forests
At present, the sal forests are largely composed of two remnant tracts. First, some 105,000
hectares in the districts of Tangail and Mymensigh, and second, the Barind tract, covering
scattered patches of some 14,000 hectares in the north-west districts. Unlike the other areas
under the control of the Forest Department, these areas are not forest reserves or put under
government management for long periods, since nationalized in the 1950s.
Sal forests occur naturally in the central and northern parts of Bangladesh. Formerly these
forests belonged to feudal land lords before BFD gradually assumed some responsibility for
their management before nationalization. The silvicultural prescriptions included: clear felling
with regeneration mostly from coppice; simple coppice and coppice with standards on a
rotation of about 20 years. Thinning occurred on a 10-year cycle to improve the existing crop,
based on a rotation of 100 years; and afforestation of blanks operated under a taungya system.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

None of these practices sustained the forests and they continued to deplete in size and
stocking.
Sal Forest Cutting Moratorium
In spite of a 1972 moratorium on the area, encroachments and illicit felling/smuggling continued.
Most parts of the recorded area of sal forests are under occupation and the remaining stands of sal
have poor stock and quality. The notified sal forest area is honeycombed with habitation and rice
fields. In some cases more than three quarters of the area is encroached, or abandoned due to heavy
degradation.

A large population of the area, with its increasing need for forest products, building materials
and fuelwood, cultivable land, employment opportunities and income, will continue to exert
heavy pressure on the remaining forest area. A recent study found that the land in the remnant
sal forests is not suitable for permanent agriculture in most cases, without irrigation, and if sal
stands are afforded adequate protection and tending, they respond well. If forestry is to remain
here, it is necessary to manage the area under a system of integrated land use.

Mangrove Forests
As recently as 2000 years ago, the Sundarbans extended farther inland, including much of
Khulna region, and formed a continuous coastal forest eastwards to the Chokoria Sundarbans.
The Sundarbans were declared as a Reserved Forest in 1879. Since then it has been directly
administrated and managed by the Forest Department. Early management consisted of revenue
collection on forest produce from the area. A selection system of silvicultural management
with an exploitable girth limit for the main species and a felling cycle of 40 years prevailed.
Subsequently, plans reduced the felling cycle to 20 years. Following the Khulna Newsprint
Mills Ltd. (KNM) construction in 1959, and other Khulna-based forest industries, the forest
management intensity increased.
Sundarbans, A unique Forest
Exclusively mangroves, this forest, is an important natural resource providing a large number of
products such as timber, pulpwood, fuelwood, fish, thatching materials, hone, bees wax and shells. In
addition it supports a very rich and diverse flora and fauna. It is the largest remaining habitat for the
Royal Bengal Tiger. Some 600,000 people are directly dependant on this forest for their livelihood.
In addition, the mangrove forest acts as a natural barrier to cyclones and tidal bores, and protects the
densely populated agricultural areas to its north.

A substantial area in the Sundarbans supports KNM. Out of eight blocks, six are for extraction
of pulpwood. The Sundarbans forest is managed under a selection system, but all age
gradations of trees are not available due to improper marking and inadequate regeneration.
Besides, improvement felling is low and growth less than predicted. Fuelwood and golpatta
palm leaves exploitation takes place on the basis of collection permits and for this purpose,
the Sundarbans consist of a number of annual cutting areas.
INSTITUTIONAL STRENGTHENING

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General
Roles of institutions are crucial in guiding the course of events and ensuring that the goals and
purposes falling within their purview get fulfilled. Institution characteristics depend on their
policies, laws, regulations and conventions, and those of related organizations. Influenced by
socio-political systems and related forces, institutions are public or private, government or
non-government, traditional or modern, bureaucratic or non-bureaucratic or a mixture of
these. Dynamism of institutions depends on their capability to change with the time, to adjust
to the changes in socio-political realities and peoples aspirations. Many of the socioeconomic problems faced by developing countries are often the result of inability of their
institutions to accept or adopt changes. Today, forestry and forestry institutions are judged in a
much wider context than formerly. The interrelated and multiple roles of forests, covering the
wide spectrum of environment, conservation and rational utilization of forest resource are
vital for human welfare and sustained socio-economic development. Forestrys scope and
importance in a country are reflected in its forestry institutions.
Analysis of institutions carried out by the Forestry Master Plan considered five interrelated
areas: policy, legislation, organizational structure, human resource development, research and
extension. Policy refers to the principles that govern actions directed towards given ends.
Legislation is an important instrument to facilitate policy implementation. Organizational
structure defines the agencies and mechanisms for translating policy directions into action, on
the one hand, and the authority for enforcing legislation on the other. Quality and impact of
policy implementation reflect the type of education, training, specialization and attitudes of
the human resource employed. Research on all aspects of forestry (scientific, technical,
economic, social, environmental, and institutional) is essential to keep the sector dynamic and
to support development. Effective extension distributes improved development actions and
benefits.
Major institutional issues
Relevant institutional issues racing Bangladesh forestry today are:

Inadequacies of the current National Forest Policy (1979) and the need for a new, comprehensive
and dynamic policy.
Irrelevance of the current Forest Act (1927) and related regulations to address the present
concerns of forestry and the need for a new law for the conservation and development of forests,
trees and wildlife in Bangladesh.
Weaknesses, shortcomings and conflicts in the functioning of the public forestry organizations
and the urgent need to restructure them.
Lack of an effective and coordinated system of human resource development for the forestry
sector and the urgent need to remove the constraints.
Poor impact and weaknesses of forestry research and the need to strengthen it with appropriate
orientation, funds, facilities and autonomy.
Inadequate forestry extension effort.

Institutional improvement needs to be effected as a package, with each of the aspects


receiving commensurate attention. Important features influencing institutional evaluation are:

Increasing rates of deforestation, encroachment and forest degradation, and productivity


declines.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Inadequate maintenance and poor quality of forest plantations.


Loss of wildlife and biodiversity.
Under achievement in targeted forestry programmes.
Increasing importance of the homestead forests as the major source of forest products.
Emergence of margins of roads, railways, field boundaries, and embankments and charl
and potential sources of forest products and services.
Increasing wood shortage for domestic and industrial use.
Increasing bureaucratization, and lack of efficiency/accountability criteria in forest
resource management.
Inadequate reflection of national forest policy related to public and especially womens
participation, rural development, decentralization, involving private and cooperative
sectors and Forest Department activities.
Lack of recognition of lessons available from global development in forestry.

NATIONAL FOREST POLICY

Definition
Policy generally refers to the principles that govern action directed towards given ends. It
defines agreed or settled courses for adoption, by governments and institutions. At the
national level, policy embraces general goals and acceptable procedures and actions to achieve
their goals. While policies reflect long term objectives, they are subject to modifications based
on the dynamics of policy environment. Policy provides a basis for legislation, plans and
prescriptions, and a framework to continuously correct institutional inadequacies to maintain
dynamic growth. A policy, thus, provides an important means to achieve goals considered
essential and desirable by society. The effectiveness of a policy therefore, depends on
achieving defined goals.
While national policies should be specifically tailored to conditions existing in the country,
there are several goals and aspects which have universal or wider relevance and applicability.
These include environment conservation, sustained production and utilization of resources,
satisfaction of basic needs, equitable distribution of income, acceleration of socio-economic
growth, and peoples participation.
There are different categories of policies depending on coverage, scope and purpose. At the
national level there are the principles enshrined in the Constitution and general aspects, such
as economics, development, education, and environment conservation. Specific policies apply
to sectors, such as forestry, agriculture, and industry. These policies are not mutually
exclusive, and the general policies considerably influence specific sectoral strategy.

Sectoral Policy
A national forest policy specifies principles regarding the use of a nations forest resources,
intended to contribute to the achievement of national objectives. In this context, the forest
resource includes land where such resources can be developed. Diverse, and often conflicting

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concerns and interests, at various levels, affect peoples perceptions of potentials and
problems relating to the multiple roles and uses satisfied by forests today.
Modern forestry involves a web of interrelated activities that go far beyond the limits of forest
land, and affect the welfare of everyone economically and ecologically. Rational practice of
forestry requires decisions on what (and how much) goods and services we wish to obtain and
how to obtain them. Multiple roles (production, protection and conservation) of forests are
now the accepted basic objectives of forest management. A serious concern is how to manage
forests to retain their essential roles as part of the natural resource system, while maintaining
their capacity for supporting people. Fully sustained multiple roles of forestry has come more
and more into focus as a fundamental objective.
Over the years the concepts and methodologies of policy analysis, and policy formulation
evolved and improved considerably. The old manifesto-type policies are being modified into
ones with specific and measurable objectives. Accordingly, traditional manifesto-type forest
policy declarations are now viewed as imprecise expression of intent. Acceptable, good
national forest policy is now seen as a formal and comprehensive statement which provides a
conceptual framework, and clear objectives for forestry development, as well as orientation
for the choice and execution of forestry programmes and related activities. It sets standards for
decision making and discourages ad hoc acts. Policy development, implementation and
evaluation are more or less a continuous process and closely related to effective planning.
Planning should allow and respect the legitimate range of interests of all concerned, (both
public and private, including those of local inhabitants) and bring about their effective
participation in all stages of the process. Otherwise, it becomes socially irrelevant and
politically ineffective. In a broad sense, forest policy works best as a dynamic system,
influenced by changes in policy environment.
Existing policy weakness
Forestry as a sector of the economy is viewed as a government department, despite the fact that some
70 percent of all forest products originate on lands outside the control of the Forest Department.
Several crucial aspects get little or inadequate mention in existing forest policy. Such aspects include:
functional classification and use of forest land, role of forests as the biological foundation of
sustained natural productivity, community participation, role of private sector, processing and
utilization of forest products, organization of forest-based growth centres, enterprise development,
rural energy needs, involvement of voluntary organizations, importance of non wood forest products
and forestry extension.

Currently, the National Forest Policy of Bangladesh (1979) is a manifesto-type statement and
is very general and vague. In summary, it states:

Forests shall be carefully preserved and scientifically managed;


Government forests shall not be used for non forestry purposes;
Timber wealth shall be increased by large scale plantations;
Optimum extraction and utilization of forest produce will be carried out using modern
technology;
Measures to set up new forest-based industries and to meet raw material requirements
shall be adopted;

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Research, education and training in forestry shall be organized to meet scientific,


technological and administrative needs;
A cadre of officers shall be constituted for manning the forest sector;
Forest sector shall be organized as a separate administrative unit of the government and
relevant laws updated for implementing forest policy;
Steps shall be taken for conservation of forests and wildlife and for utilizing recreational
potential of forests;
Mass motivation shall be initiated and technical assistance extended to those interested in
forestry.

Policy Directives
Sectoral policies are subordinate to those defined by national goals, including the
Fundamental Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution. The Government of
Bangladesh recently adopted policies related to two vital areas. One is the policy of economic
growth within the broad framework of a Twenty Year Perspective Plan (1990-2010). This
covers: acceleration of economic growth; alleviation of poverty; generation of employment
opportunities; and increased self-reliance. The other is the National Environmental Plan with
the following objectives:

maintenance of the ecological balance and overall progress of the country through
protection and development of the environment;
protection of the country against natural disasters;
prevention of all types of activities leading to pollution and degradation of the
environment;
ensuring environmentally sound development in all sectors;
ensuring sustainable, long term and environmentally congenial utilization of all resources.

Thus, the overall policy directives are fully in favour of: ecologically sound and biologically
sustainable development of forestry; supporting economic improvement through appropriate
measures of resource expansion, conservation, management and utilization including all
linkages and involving people at each stage.

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Need for policy review


Policy analysis clearly highlights the following areas of critical importance for:
Controlling the high rate of deforestation;
introducing scientific and sustainable management of forest resources;
undertaking intensively managed (on high-input and high output basis) forest plantations as an
investment enterprise;
practising appropriate, integrated landuse for improving overall sustainable biological productivity;
reducing wastage in logging/harvesting and processing of forest products;
rationally restructuring the forest industry as an economic undertaking and improving their economic
efficiency;
strengthening/intensifying forestry and forest products research and extension;
arresting ecological degradation and erosion of biodiversity;
rehabilitating wildlife and wildlife habitat;
improving essential infrastructure for forest resource development;
meaningfully involving people, private sector and NGOs in the development of forestry sector;
appropriately restructuring the forest sector institutions to be capable of serving as effective agents for
promoting sectoral growth, unfettered by bureaucratic hurdles;
improving, qualitatively and quantitatively human resource for forestry in terms of training, education
facilities and incentives.
ensuring multidisciplinary approach and inter-sectoral coordination in forestry matters.

Forest Policy Implementation


Reviewing the situation of the various crucial aspects of forestry development in Bangladesh
indicates that the broad policy directives require follow up action. Identified weaknesses of
the current forest policy and implementation mechanisms are:

Natural forests are not managed under an environmentally sound system.


Forest plantations (inspite of having a legacy of over a century) have not yet been able to
contribute to the wood supply.
There is very little improvement in harvesting and processing technology.
Extension forestry benefiting the homesteads producing trees and forest products in rural
areas is inadequate.
Forest-based industrial development is stagnant or deteriorating.
Community forestry projects produced some good results but there is no indication how to
achieve growth and development with public equity and true participation.
Coastal afforestation for stablizing accreted lands is successful, but there is need for a
clear and rational policy regarding the use of such lands.
Wildlife conservation and forest recreation potential are both badly neglected areas,
neither conserved nor fully utilized.

Plan team review clearly pointed out the need for resolving conflicts between forestry and
other sectoral policies, such as agriculture, land use, livestock, fishing, irrigation, mining,
industry, investment, finance, trade, taxes and fiscal regulations, tourism, transport, energy,
urban development, social and community welfare, environment and nature conservation,
science and technology and education.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

BANGLADESHS FUTURE FOREST POLICY GOALS

Local Strengths
Evolving an approach to the future forest policy of Bangladesh considers the following
strengths of the sector. All are significant factors contributing to the growth of the forestry
sector, if adequately backed by appropriate policies and institutional mechanisms.

Long tradition and history of forest management, even though there is currently a crisis.
National forest areas, combined with extensive government land and homestead areas, are
available to support biodiversity and environmental objectives.
A well trained core of professionals and technical staff, with expertise and experience,
whose performance can considerably improve under congenial conditions, exists.
Institutions exist for research, education and diversified training; and these can be
strengthened suitably.
There are supporting institutions outside the forestry sector, such as the national remote
sensing agency and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council (BARC); and fruitful
collaboration is possible.
A good amount of science and technology related to forestry is available and suitable, after
removal of administrative and financial restrictions.
Tree consciousness on the part of millions of innovative farmers and homestead owners
who make homestead forestry an important component of the forestry sector.
Active and experienced Bangladesh NGOs support grassroots organizations and peoples
participation through group formation, provide training and credit, and promote
afforestation and environmental conservation.
Unconventional and innovative credit is available, Grameen Bank successfully promotes
small scale private investment in forestry.
A wealth of unexploited traditional knowledge on the uses of non wood forest products, as
well as artisan and handicraft skills.
Existing local administration and agricultural extension systems can considerably benefit
forestry.
Increasing recognition that market-orientation and more rural community involvement can
facilitate the creation and establishment of small-scale forestry enterprises.
A hard working labour force is a valuable resource, providing cheap labour.
Relative homogeneity of the country in terms of language, culture, religion and ethnic
derivation.
Interest and willingness on the part of the political leadership, to embark on a course of
appropriate economic reforms is surfacing.

Policy Imperatives
In Bangladesh, three imperatives are critically identified, i.e. sustainability, efficiency and
peoples participation; these reflect the national goals related to environmental conservation,
economic development and social progress. These imperatives are in tune with the Agenda 21

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forest principles, adopted at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, held in Brazil.
Sustainability A primary goal of sustainable development is to achieve and perpetuate a
reasonable and equitably distributed level of economic wellbeing for many human
generations. The condition depends on: economic efficiency, equitable distribution of
development benefits and shares of scarce resources, non-economic social valuable, and an
appropriate balance among them. Sustainability aims at inter-generational equity.
Ecologically, sustainability has two attributes in addition to equal harvests and regeneration:
continued adaptability and capacity for renewal of plants, animals, soils and water; and
maintenance of biological diversity. It also implies acceptance of the irreplaceable and
unknown values of wild plants and animals, and of the equity of watershed forests and
wetlands. However, there is no market mechanism to value them adequately.
Basic Principals of Sustained Management
An attribute inherent in the sustainable management of renewable natural resources is that it should be
based on using income or interest and not on running down the capital. The rate of harvest of living
resources (e.g. forest or fish stock) should not exceed rates of regeneration. It also implies the
maintenance, rational use and enhancement of the natural resource base that underpins ecological
resilience and economic growth.

Sustained yield forest management, implies an approximate balance between net growth and
harvest. In the present day context, this concept needs widening to incorporate both tangible
and intangible values; and optimization of both rather than maximizing wood yields.
Efficiency An important function of the forest is the renewable production of goods and
services for human needs. Efficiency implies improving productivity (i.e. increasing output
per unit of input), reducing waste and indirect costs, or negative side effects. This registers
higher economic rate of return in comparison with other alternatives. Areas set apart for
production of timber and other products must be able to compete with other potential land
uses in economic, if not financial, terms. The same criteria should also apply to investments
in other commercial forestry activities, as well as in processing of forest products.
People Participation Participation of people is both an objective and means of
development. It is crucial in charting the course of forestry development in the right direction,
and in ensuring its sustainability. A philosophy of a people-based development from below
assumes that participation is not only a fundamental precondition for, a tool of, any successful
development strategy, but also is an end in itself. This unity of participation is implicit in
sustainable development policies. Forestry can facility, and benefit from, peoples
participation in all facets and aspects.
POLICY OBJECTIVES AND FRAMEWORK
The long-term goal of the National Forest Policy of Bangladesh is to enhance the contribution
of the forestry sector to the countrys ecology and economy. This goal is best explicitly
defined by specific categories of objectives and related policy measures. Depending on the
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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

nature and scope of policy measures, sectoral conditions will change. Thus, achievement of
policy objectives depends on effective adoption and implementation of policy measures.
Specific forest policy measures are proposed to:

Effectively conserve, rehabilitate, replenish, expand, enhance, develop and manage the
forest resources of the country, as a renewable national asset, to meet the vital needs of
forest goods and services, for the benefit of all citizens of the country, now and in the
future.
Protect the land resource (all forest lands generally and watersheds particularly) against
degradation by deforestation, soil erosion, shifting cultivation, landslides, floods, fire,
grazing, and other natural and anthropogenic causes, and to enhance the protection
function of forests and trees.
Protection of wild flora and fauna; conserve ecosystems, preserve biodiversity, maintain
essential ecological processes and improve the environmental services of forests through
maintenance, and, where necessary, restoration of ecological balance and establishment/
enhancement of a nation-wide system of protected areas.
Promote efficient and waste-free harvesting, processing, and utilization of forest products,
in order to obtain increased net benefit/profit/rent or return on investment, thus facilitating
forest sector economic growth and increased export earning (through increased exports or
import substitution) of the country.
Provide increased socio-economic benefits to the people of the country by contributing to
the basic needs of families, poverty alleviation, employment creation, income generation
and better living conditions, and by supporting agricultural and rural development.
Develop and support a network of appropriate and suitably linked institutions at different
levels, consisting of public, private, corporate and cooperative sectors involved in forestry,
each with its specific institutional policy and mission, legal instruments and financing
mechanisms, and together capable of addressing the present and emerging issues and
challenges in a smooth and coordinated manner.
Facilitate human resources development for forestry in qualitative and quantitative terms,
including education, training and improvement of skills and capabilities.
Promote and support goal-oriented forestry/forest products research, and improve research
capabilities through adequate training, appropriate institutional restructuring and provision
of adequate incentives.
Establish an effective system of forestry extension for disseminating new and improved
technology, research information and knowledge for the benefit of farmers and rural
community, for arranging delivery of improved planting materials and for creating public
awareness about the roles and contributions of forestry.
Establish an adequate and effective mechanism of coordination/cooperation with other
sectors of Bangladesh economy having influence on forestry, and also with international
agencies and institutions concerned with forestry development.

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SECTORAL ORGANIZATION

General Perspective
Before partition of India in 1947, Bangladesh forests were administered under Forest Circles
of the Bangal and Assem Forest Departments. From 1947 to 1962, the Provincial Forest
Department was the authority with a Conservator of Forests, and subsequently until 1971 by a
Chief Conservator of Forests. With the formation of Bangladesh in 1971, reserved and
proposed reserve forests passed to the Bangladesh Forest Department.
From 1971 to 1989, BFD fell under the Ministry of Agriculture. The Department enjoyed
varying interest in terms of attention from Government. For a brief spell, there was an
Inspector General of Forests, in addition to the Chief Conservation of forests, to coordinate
forestry activities. During 1987-89, Forestry was a Division of Agriculture Ministry, with a
Secretary to Government in charge of the Forestry Division. With the formation of the new
Ministry of Environment and Forests, in 1989, it was transferred to this new Ministry.
Besides the Department, MOEF controls the Department of Environment, Bangladesh Forest
Industries Development Corporation and Bangladesh Forest Research Institute. MOEF
oversees all environmental matters in the country and is a permanent member of the Executive
Committee of the National Economic Council.
Private sector forestry is confined to homestead forestry and small-scale (mainly sawmilling)
enterprises. While their contribution to the sector is large, they are mostly outside the formal
institutional system of the sector.
Forest Department Mission
The Forest Department, one of the oldest government organizations, has gone through several
reorganizations, but without much change in its structure since its early inception in a different
political and administrative era.
Originally, its limited responsibilities were for managing and protecting State forests. Now it is also
an agent for rural and social development and forest production.

Forest Department Departmental structure is hierarchical. The Department is headed by a


Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF). At BFDs headquarters, the CCF is assisted by three
Deputy Chief Conservators, responsible for development planning, forest extension, and
forest management planning, respectively. Each Deputy is supported by an Assistant Chief
Conservator. Reporting to the CCF, is also a Conservator of Forests (CF), who with the
assistance of two Assistant Chiefs, is responsible for general administration and wildlife.
Directors of the Forest Development and Training Centre and the Thana Afforestation and
Nursery Development Project are directly responsible to the CCF.
BFDs field operations, consisting of six Circles headed by Conservators of Forests and
concerned with territorial forestry, come under the CCFs direction. Each Conservator is in
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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

charge of several forest divisions. Every division normally coincides administrative districts,
and is under the charge of a Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), there are 37 Forest Divisions in
the country. Divisions divided into several forest ranges, controlled by Forest Rangers, who in
turn are in charge of several beats, each under a Deputy Ranger or Forester. The total strength
of the Department at present is about 9,000 permanent staff. It also employees a large number
of labourers on a casual basis for its field activities.
BFDs functional characteristics
Functionally, the Department is characterized by:
a centralized command and administrative structure which causes unacceptable decision delays and
leads to inefficiency and debilitating indifference;
use of power as a custodial and law enforcing agency enjoying the prerogatives of authority;
emphasis on process rather than performance.

In the Pre-Independence days, the major function of the Department was policing to protect
the forests in its charge and to collect taxes and revenue. It thus worked to a relatively narrow
mandate, under centralized administrative system and with closed decision making.
REORGANIZATION

Forest Department
In 1976, Altaf Ali Committee recommended a fundamental change by proposing a forestry
commission headed by the Minister as the Chairman and an officer, of the rank and status of
the Secretary, as the Executive Vice Chairman. Beneath this were several autonomous boards
and corporations headed by a member of the forestry commission. The forestry boards,
BFIDC and the Rubber Board were designated as autonomous and self-financing. The
suggestion was to return 20% of the revenue collected by Government, with the rest ploughed
back to approved plans and programmes. This proposal was not acted upon.
Experience in other countries
This shows that administrative bureaucracies are not the appropriate institutions to develop and
manage forestry enterprises; and that it is not rational to assign law enforcement and enterprise
functions to one and the same agency. The attitudes and approaches needed to run an enterprise
profitably and efficiently are very different from those suited to a law-enforcing bureaucracy.

Reorganization resulted form the Enam Committee report in 1983 and later in 1985 under the
Huda Committee report. Both reports advocated an increase in the number of units and staff
but without basis for administrative reform. Administration remained as centralized as before.
Subsequently, BFD made some internal proposals for strengthening in 1989. An Asian
Wetland Bureau report contained suggestions for strengthening the conservation capability of
the Department; and World Bank included some reorganization/strengthening of BFD as a
component of its Forestry III project.

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Proposed changes under the Forestry III project call for Chief Conservator of Forests, assisted
by four Deputy Chief Conservators of Forests responsible for planning, forest management
and operations, extension, and environmental management, respectively; and a Conservator of
Forests (CF) in charge of finance and administration. Field level changes provide each
Conservator at least one Deputy. In addition, new offices established are a Conservators
office for supervising coastal plantations, a Management Plan Division for management plan
preparation for the Sundarbans and coastal plantations; plus new two Forest Divisions for
managing sanctuaries, national parks and other protected areas.
The Fourth Five Year Plan recommended managing industrial forest plantations and forest
estates like tree farming enterprises for specific end uses.
All prior proposals remain incomplete. A recent public announcement concerns a new
Department of Social Forestry created by splitting the present Department. Full details and
implementation schedule are under further development and consideration by Government.

Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC)


BFIDCs organizational situation is comparable to the Departments, even though the
Corporation legally started at the autonomous East Pakistan Forest Industries Development
Corporation. The Corporation began in 1960, as a state owned company, for developing
timber-based activities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. It is now a semi-autonomous agency
under the MOEF, owning 16 enterprises two timber extraction units, 11 wood-based
industrial units, and three board manufacturing plants. Many are inoperable or not profitable.
It also has 11,700 hectares of rubber plantations spread over 12 estates of which over 5,000
hectares are in production. BFIDC employs some 4,000 persons.
Opening Status Because of raw material shortage and operating inefficiency, poor
facilities, storage of qualified staff, the Corporations plants operate well below capacity,
around 40% in 1989/90, and around 30% in 1990/91. As a result, the Corporation incurred
losses amounting of Tk 37 million in 1989/90 and about Tk 50 million in 1990/91.
Despite its semi-autonomous status, deficiencies in the operational structure and controls, as a
public sector undertaking, make it difficult to run BFIDC as a business enterprise. Inflexibility
and rigidity, coupled with a lack of decentralization of delegation of decision powers,
common in administrative bureaucracies, burden its operations. BFIDC lacks true autonomy
and incentive to act, which breeds inefficiency. Old and worn-out equipment, lack of
maintenance and investment in modernization, a disproportionately large labour force and
marketing inadequacies are common. Government is seriously considering the problem
through public enterprise reforms encompassing investment, financial restructuring,
institutional improvements and pricing policies. Constraints and the steady erosion of its raw
material base seriously undermine the viable functioning of BFIDC.
Rubber Development The Corporation started its rubber plantation programme in 1962.
The rubber plantation venture is promising and technically successful. However, production
costs are high compared to the other rubber producing countries. BFIDC implemented rubber
projects are highly centralized and commercial orientation is lacking in the daily estate
operations. A decentralized management structure and autonomy is required for the efficient
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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

operation of the rubber estates, and to permit appropriate response to the changing
requirements unforeseen in approved budgets and work plans.
Recently, an Asian Development Bank review note that one of the main lessons emerging
from the Rubber Rehabilitation project and past experiences is that a commercially-oriented
corporate approach to management is essential for Bangladeshs emerging rubber plantation
industry. This approach requires additional improvement to BFIDCs operational structure, a
gradual introduction of private sector orientation and ownership. As proposed by the Bank,
this orientation is only possible after undertaking several financial restructuring actions all
geared to facilitate independent management and financial accountability.
Apart from establishing and managing its own rubber estates, BFIDC has responsibility to
support development of private and small-holder rubber planting, including supply of inputs
and extension. This is another area where the structure and limited autonomy of BFIDC makes
it ineffective. Considering the need for efficiency in the rubber plantation and processing
industry, the Second Five Year Plan contained a proposal for establishing a fully autonomous
Rubber Board in Bangladesh. There has, however, been no action on this suggestion. The
present rubber development system, including all elements, needs review and improvement.

Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI)


BFRI is responsible for all aspects of forestry research covering silviculture, forest
management, forest protection, forest products development, environmental conservation and
agroforestry. The Institute is headed by a Director who is supported by two Chief Research
Officers and Officers in charge of Research Divisions.

Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC)


BCIC, created in 1972, operates some of the industries abandoned during the liberation war. It
also incorporates industries managed earlier by other government corporations. BCIC is by far
the largest public sector corporation in Bangladesh and has two ongoing projects and 22
enterprises under its control. It employs about 4,200 managerial and technical staff and about
27,200 workers. It produces fertilizer, pulp paper, basic chemicals, cement, sanitary wares,
insulators, glass sheets, rayon/viscose yarn, rayon staple fibre, cellophane, soap and cosmetics.
The Corporation, which manages four pulp and papermills, a particleboard mill, a hardboard
mill and four match factories, is controlled by the Ministry of Industries.
BCICs forestry operations are not doing well due to raw material constraints and other
reasons. The current accumulated loss of Khulna Newsprint Mill is about Tk 900 million.
Other pulp and paper units are also afflicted with problems, particularly related to raw
material supply. Unless the raw material issue is solved, it is unrealistic to expect large- scale
investment.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING

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General
Along with specialization, other needs for emphasis are: bridging the gaps in knowledge and
skills of technicians and sub-professionals; providing a comprehensive training programme at
the vocational level to improve productivity; establishing a regular and intensive programme
of upgrading in-service training and continuing education; establishing facilities for training
personnel for forest industrial and business establishments; and making available trained
teachers and trainers.

Existing Facilities
Bangladesh has eight institutions offering education and training services in forestry. Until
recently, Institute of Forestry of the Chittagong University (IFCU) was the only body in the
country offering university level education in forestry. It enrols 40 national students and there
is provision for five foreign students. The course takes eight semesters, covering a period of
four years and leads to a BSc (Honours) degree in Forestry. The Institute is contemplating
starting a Masters degree course in Forestry. The newly established Khulna University started
a Forestry and Wood Technology discipline in 1992. This offers a four-year course leading to
a bachelors degree with an intended average intake of 40 students annually. Also the
Bangladesh Agriculture University in Mymensingh has started a degree course in agroforestry.
The Bangladesh Forest Academy reconstituted as the Forest College at Chittagong, supplies
inservice training for the Forest Department. After strengthening, this will provide facilities
for three types of refresher courses:

Orientation course for newly recruited professionals (six months).


Professional course for selected senior Forest Rangers (three months).
Refresher officer course (three months).

Sylhet Forest School, opened in 1948 is undergoing conversion into a Forest Guard Training
Centre, Rajshahi Forest School, formerly accommodated 50 students with an output of 25 per
year and followed a two-year diploma course. With the introduction of three years diploma
course, the annual input will drop down to 15 students. Chittagong Forest School is expected
to have an annual input of 50 foresters.
The Kaptai Forest Development and Training Centre (FDTC) provides vocation level training
to workers with a yearly output of 300 trainees in:

Basic logging, timber harvesting and road construction.


Equipment and maintenance.
Saw doctoring and sawmilling maintenance.
Extension forestry for rural development.

Extension training centres, located at nursery sites, under afforestation and nursery
development, provide extension training throughout the country for plantation assistants.
Additionally, BFIDC runs a training centre for rubber tappers in Chittagong.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

None of the above programmes are liked and are not based on any long term training needs
assessment, but are derived from arbitrary decisions. Facilities available are generally poor,
and there are none to meet the special training needs of forest industries or the large number
of people involved in forestry activities in the unorganized or informal sector.

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Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

APPENDIX 1 - ABBREVIATIONS, TERMS AND CONVERSION FACTORS


ABBREVIATIONS
ADB
ADT
BARC
BARI
BBS
BCIC
BCISR
BFD
BFIDC
BFRI
BSCIC
CCF
CF
CHT
CIF
DFO
DOA
EIA
EIRR
ESCAP
FAO
FDTC
FEC
FYP
FIRR
FMP
FOI
FY
GOB
Ha
IFCU
IRR
Kg
KHM
Km
Km2
KNM
KPM
KRC
Kw
M
M2
MAI

- Asian Development Bank


- Airdry Metric Tonne
- Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council
- Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute
- Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics
- Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation
- Bangladesh Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
- Bangladesh Forest Department
- Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation
- Bangladesh Forest Research Institute
- Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation
- Chief Conservator Forests
- Conservator Forests
- Chittagong Hill Tracts
- Cartage, Insurance and Freight
- Divisional Forest Officer
- Department of Agriculture
- Environment Impact Assessment
- Economic Interval Rate of Return
- Economic and Social Commission Asia Pacific
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- Forest Development and Training Centre
- Foreign Exchange Component
- Five Year Plan
- Financial Interval Rate of Return
- Forestry Master Plan
- Free on Board
- Financial Year
- Government of Bangladesh
- Hectare
- Institute of Forestry, Chittagong University
- Internal Rate of Return
- Kilogram
- Khulna Hardboard Mill
- Kilometre
- Square Kilometre
- Khulna Newsprint Mill
- Karnafuli Paper Mill
- Karnafuli Rayon Complex
- Kilowatt
- Metre
- Square Metre
- Mean Annual Increment

Country Report - Bangladesh

37

38

Max
Min
MM
MOEF
NBPM
NGO
No.
NPV
PDB
REB
RF
SPH
SPPM
Tk
UNCED
UNDP
USF
VAT
4WHD

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

- Maximum
- Minimum
- Millimetre
- Ministry of Environment and Forest
- North Bengal Paper Mill
- Non Government Organization
- Number
- Net Present Value
- Power Development Board
- Rural Electrification Board
- Reserve Forest
- Stems Per Hectare
- Sylhet Pulp and Paper Mill
- Taka
- UN Conference on Environment and Development
- United Nations Development Programme
- Unclassed State Forest
- Value Added Tax
- 4 Wheel Drive

TERMS
Char
- Land formation on rive bank on sea coast
Jhum
- Shifting cultivation
Khas
- Land administered by the Bangladesh Revenue Department
Khetland
- Low lying private land
Taungya
- Forest plantation establishment technique employing local people to raise
their agricultural crops in association with tree plantations.
CONVERSION FACTORS
US$1
Tk
1 m3
1 cft (H)
1 cft(t)
1 km
1 ha
1 litre
tonne

- Tk 38.9
- U$ 0.0257
- 35.3147 cubic feet (27.7 cft Hoppus)
- 1.2732 cubic feet true
- one cubic food true solid volume
- 0.621 miles
- 2.471 acres
- 0.220 imperial gallons
- 1,000 kilograms

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Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

39

APPENDIX 2 - AREAS UNDER NATIONAL PARK AND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY


IN BANGLADESH (HA)
Division & Name
National Park
Wildlife Sanctuary
Total
Sundarban
East
31,227
South
36,970
1,39,699
West
71,502
Dhaka
Bhawal
5,022
5,022
Tangail Modhupur
8,438
8,438
Sylhet
Rema-Kalenga
1,795
Companygonj
Wetland
Nature
3,279
5,074
Reserve
Chittagong
Chunati
7,761
Hazarikhil
2,905
Coxs Bazar
10,666
Mimchari
12,590
12,590
Teknaf Game Reserve
11,615
11,615
Bhola
Char Kukri Mukri
2,017
2,017
Noakhali
Nijum Dweep
2,885
2,885
Chittagong Hill Tracts (North)
Pablakhali
42,087
42,087
Chittagong Hill Tracts (South)
Rampahar-Sitapahar
3,026
3,026

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

APPENDIX 3 MANAGEMENT PLAN OF SRF


Consistently dropped and its use of Gewa during the period 1992-1996 dipped from 141,000
cum. per year to about 63,000 cum. Gewa wood production during the last 4 months of
operation at the time of the FRMP Socio-Economic Survey dropped from 1,275 MT in July to
just 476 MT in October, 1997. It is feared that KNM has lost its viability as a business
enterprise, probably due to ageing equipment and other inefficiencies, and if it folds up, the
future is bleak for the more than 2,000 officers, technicians, staff and labourers it employs.
Table 1 Number of personnel employed in KNM (as of October 1997)
Category
Officer
Staff
Worker
School staff
TOTAL

No. Employed
164
529
1339
71
2103

Source: FRMP Socio-Economic Survey 1997

Table 2 Last 4 months production of KNM, 1997


Month
July
August
September
October

Year
1997
1997
1997
1997

Quantity
1275 MT
1215 MT
691 MT
476 MT

Source: General Manager (Production) BCIC

Its financial performance as shown in Table 3 has degenerated through the years its last
recorded profit year was 1983-84. From then on, it has been consistently incurring heavy
losses.
Table 3 KNM production, production cost, profit and loss
Year
1983-1984
1984-1985
1985-1986
1986-1987
1987-1988
1988-1989
1989-1990
1990-1991
1991-1992
1992-1993

Quantity (MT)
Production Cost in Lac Tk
Profit (loss) in Lac Tk
37765
6452.02
40.73
50851
7471.72
44.59
55100
8754.72
(561.60)
50395
8468.20
(989.41)
49859
8806.69
(220.23)
47762
9090.69
(230.49)
50465
10127.05
(504.95)
50722
11077.13
(1490.81)
48527
12081.02
(2871.22)
49101
12097.81
(1474.56)

Source: Background and Financial Performance for the Period 1983-84 to 1992-93, BCIC

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Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

2.

41

The Khulna Hardboard Mill (KHBM)

The Khulna Hardboard Mill was established by EPIDC in 1964 and went into trial production
in July, 1966 and commercial production in October 1966. It is a wood based industry under
the administration of BCIC. Before the moratorium on felling natural reserved forests, the
Khulna Hardboard Mill obtained raw materials from brushwood of Sundri. During the last 7
years of the moratorium period, KHBNs raw materials were limited to the top dying Sundri
salvage gellings and substitute raw materials from elsewhere other than the Sundarbans.
The mills actual capacity is 21,500,000 SFT and its present capacity is 17,500,000 SFT. The
present raw material requirement for Sundri is slightly more than 11,000 cum. per year.
Table 4 Last 3 months production of KHBM (1997)
Month

Year

July
August
September

1997
1997
1997

Quantity
in
Million SFT
0.828
1.463
1.361

Source: General Manager (Production) BCIC

3.

Match Factories

There are two match factories in Khulna dependent on the Sundarbans. The present
arrangement for supply of raw material for match production is for KNM to transfer a
proportions of its Gewa Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) to the match factories. The 1993/94
Allocation was 8,500 cum. although this has not been fully utilized.
4.

Sawmills

There are no less than 500 sawmills and pitsaws operating around the Sundarbans, employing
some 5,000 people and churning out some 250,000 cum. of sawntimber per year (Table 5).
Before the moratorium, most of these sawmills were engaged in the conversion of Sundri logs.
The moratorium and the shortage of Sundri logs has since made them turn to the processing of
domestically grown timber and logs from other places.

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42

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Table 5 Scale sawmilling and pitsawing enterprises


District
Barisal

Khulna

Dhaka
Patuakhali

Pitsaws
Barisal
Khulna

Patuakhali

Thana
Swarupkati
Barisal
Bhola
Jhalakhati
Pirojpur
Khulna
Sarankhola
Chandpai/Mongla
Bagergat
Dhaka/Mirpur
Barhuna
Pathargata/Sada

Sawmills

Bhola
Swarupkhati
Khulna
Satkhira
Sarankhola
Chandpai/Mongla
Pathargata
Galachipa

Employees
60
38
6
8
25
56
3
9
3
6
5
2
221

360
228
36
40
125
406
21
55
20
60
60
37
1400

10
116
53
125
25
1
10
10
350

30
348
159
375
70
5
40
30
1057

Volume (m3)
151910
1600
144
1810
6060
36100
1080
3790
1010
2740
2740
1050
207424
70
32130
9600
430
110
36
290
42666

Source: Masson, 1994

The FRMP Socio-Economic Survey, 1997 conducted a survey of 15 industrial firms mostly
small-scale furniture makers, but it also included match factories, KNM and KHBN. Twothirds of the respondents claimed they were not operating at their rated capacity. All
respondents cited lack of raw materials as a major problem and 50% attributed to poor
equipment as a reason for operating below rated capacity. For sources of raw materials, 13.3%
came from government forests, 60% from home-grown timber and 26.7% directly purchased
from the market. The respondents also claimed that 80% of their produce goes to the local
market and 20% exported out of the district.
5.

Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Service

Currently, there is no outdoor recreational facility existing in the region, like national parks,
city park, botanical garden and zoological garden. However, the Sundarbans has been for quite
sometime now a favourite ecotourism destination for foreign and local tourists. Every year,
during the winter and spring seasons, tourists tour the Sundarbans by boat as a totally new
experience of communing with nature and exploring the various offerings of the Sundarbans.
Tourists who have gone to the Sundarbans always speak of their memorable and rewarding
experiences. Evidently, the Sundarbans is a tourists delight. In addition to outdoor recreation,
the Sundarbans has been for a long time serving as the main subject area of local and
international botany and wildlife ecology students, researchers and scientists. Figure 9 shows
the route and destination of tourists in the Sundarbans. (Rosario, 1997)

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43

Outdoor facilities for tourists in the Sundarbans include the various guest houses established
by the Forest Department over the area, the dormitory of the Bangladesh Port Harbour
Authority at Hiron Point, the quarters of the Bangladesh Naval Base also at Hiron Point, the
dormitory of the Bangladesh Port Authority at Mongla, and a number of cruiser-boats
operated by tour companies. At Khulna city, there are hotels where tourists can rest and
prepare before proceeding to the Sundarbans. These facilities are not sufficient and do not
generally cater to the needs and tastes of foreign tourists (Moss, 1994). As observed,
Sundarbans Forests and Sanctuaries have several unique and interesting attributes for
domestic and international ecotourism. They must be harnessed to promote large scale
sustainable tourism for the well-being of the country and people of Bangladesh.
The FRMP Forest Inventory estimates the quantity of Goran in the Sundarbans at 693,000
metric tons, with the wildlife sanctuaries holding 249,000 metric tons or 40% and the rest of
the Goran production areas holding 444,000 metric tons or 60%. The distribution of Goran by
blocks is summarized as follows:
Table 6 Distribution of Goran Resources Based on FRMP Inventory
Block

1
2
3
4
5A
5B
6
7
8
SRF
WS
SRF-WS

Weight of Goran (metric


tons) in Compartments
with less than 500 kg/ha
13,434
4,408
2,206
8,837
0
1,208
0
0
0
24,094
2,206
21,888

Weight of Goran (metric


tons) in Compartments
with at least 500 kg/ha
0
57,204
89,552
0
34,590
43,789
157,541
122,723
163,893
669,291
246,902
422,390

Total Goran in
Block (metric tons)
13,434
61,612
91,758
2,837
34,590
44,997
157,541
122,723
163,893
693,385
249,108
444,277

All the most productive Goran compartments belong to the Satkhira Range and the rest are
spread out among the other three ranges. Blocks 3, 7, 8 and 9 together hold 536,000 MT, or
more than three-quarters of the entire Goran resources of the Sundarbans. The wildlife
sanctuaries, with a fifth of the land area, hold 36% of the entire resources. Some 422,000
metric tons of utilizable Goran are available for harvesting from the Goran production areas
which exclude 22 compartments with less than 400 Kg/Ha of stock.
Goran is harvested in so-called Goran coupes. A 20-year cutting cycle is used. Goran permits
are issued on a first-come-first served basis. A Goran permit holder assembles a team of about
10 labourers who stay in the forest for a month or more while felling and loading the Goran on
the boats. For the period 1991-1996, officially reported Goran harvests are averaging at
56,200 metric tons per year with the last three years averaging 62,400, indicating an increasing
trend.
The trend for Singra and other fuelwood has drastically decreased over the last five-years
(averaging 12,328 metric tons with the highest recorded in 1991-92 at 28,434 metric tons).
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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

The average over the last three years is only 2,746 metric tons. The 1995-96 harvest is less
than 1,000 metric tons. Unfortunately, there are no specific results for other fuelwood (except
Goran) from FRMP inventory. Testimonies of Goran woodcutters (Bowalis) during a 1997
participatory workshop conducted by the ADB-funded Biodiversity Conservation of the SRF
team of consultants, bewailed the rapid dwindling of Singra, a highly prized fuelwood species.
Golpatta resource study was recently completed by FRMP and the results form the first truly
comprehensive estimate of this valuable resource.
Golpatta is harvested in seven annual coupes during the months of November to March. The
prescribed practice of harvesting is to remove all but two leaves, the young emerging leaf and
one supporting leaf. Fruiting Golpatta are not supposed to be distributed, but this is rarely
observed by the gatherers (known as Bowali). Golpatta regenerates by coppice and by seeds. It
takes about five years for seed-grown Golpatta to become harvestable. Golpatta is a favoured
thatching material for light construction, boat use, and weaving. Officially recorded harvests
of Golpatta over the period 1991-1996 had been averaging at 67,000 metric tons per year with
the last three years averaging 65,500 indicating a more or less constant trend. In Table 7, the
FRMP Golpatta studies indicate that there are some 90,000 metric tons of utilizable Golpatta
in areas outside the wildlife sanctuaries. The annual level of production is consistent with this
figure since it is expected that a considerable quantity is lost to under-measurement and
pilferage and some utilizable materials are left untouched in poorly stocked areas.
Table 7 Distribution of Golpatta Resources Based on FRMP Inventory
Block

1
2
3
4
5A
5B
6
7
8
TOTAL

Green Weight of Golpatta


(metric tons) Wildlife
Sanctuaries
0
0
7,680
0
0
0
8,130
619
6,047
22,477

Green Weight of
Golpatta (metric tons)
Production Areas
11,236
11,414
15,129
14,169
4,937
13,450
16,294
4,782
0
91,411

Green Weight of
Golpatta (metric tons)
All Sundarbans
11,234
11,414
22,809
14,169
4,936
13,450
24,424
5,401
6,047
113,888

Appendix E.5.4 provides details of the distribution of Golpatta resources by compartment,


block, salinity zone, range, and coupe. As expected, the least productive compartments are
those in the saltwater zone with slightly more than 4.0 metric tons per kilometre of rivers. In
the rest of the fresh water and mild saltwater zones, the rate ranges from 9.7-12.3 metric tons
per kilometre of rivers.
The wildlife sanctuaries hold less than 20% of the utilizable stock. For the rest of the
Sundarbans, some 91,000 MT are available for harvesting.
6.

Hantal

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45

Hantal (Phoenix paludosa) is a small, straight and slender palm commonly found throughout
the Sundarbans. It can attain a height of 5-6 meters and sometimes forms pure and dense
stands along riverbanks, or as undergrowth in sparsely wooded areas. It reproduces by seed
dispersal and also from root suckers (Karim, 1995). It is commonly used as fence and house
posts and as rafters and purlins. In construction, it is a light, relatively strong and durable
material (Mitchell 1995b).
The declining trend in reported harvests for Hantal is evident with the last five years averaging
5,500 metric tons and the last three years at only 1,250 metric tons. Unfortunately, there are no
immediately available data on the extent and distribution of this resource.
Grasses
There are three main types of grasses in the Sundarbans:
1. Malia grass (Cyperus javanicas) grow along canals and in the low-lying interior of the
Sundarbans. It is used in the manufacture of mats.
2. Nal grass (Eriochloea procera) grows along river banks and on newly accreted char
lands is used for the production of baskets and rice containers (shajees, dhamas and dola).
3. Ulu grass (Imperata cylindrica) grows throughout the Sundarbans in higher and drier
areas. It is used mainly as a thatching material.
These grasses are mainly used by poorer sectors of the population for house construction and
as raw material for marketable finished products (mats, baskets, rice containers).
Grass harvests over the last five years are relatively steady, averaging 4,900 metric ton with
the last three years averaging 4,700 metric tons. Since these grasses normally have an annual
cycle, failure to harvest results in loss of potential revenues. Besides, harvesting of Sungrass
will encourage the growth of tender shoots which are suitable forage for wildlife and they are
used by the poorer sectors of the local population. Resource estimates of grasses are not
available.
Honey and Bees Wax
Honey and bees wax are high value products that co-exist with the natural forest cover of the
Sundarbans. There is no comprehensive resource information about honey and bees wax in
the Sundarbans. The reported average extraction of honey during the years 1991-1996 stands
at 139 metric tons per annum, with the last three years averaging 117 metric tons. For bees
wax, the average extraction rate over the same five year period was 35 metric tons per year,
and the last three years averaging 29 metric tons. These figures, in the absence of better
resource information, should be taken as an indication of the general decline in available
resources.
Honey and bees wax collection is permitted only two months a year from the end of March
to the end of May, considered to be the peak period of honey production. A permit holder
usually assembles a team of 9-10 experienced honey gatherers (Mowalis) who stay inside the
forest for the entire duration of the harvest season.

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46

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

64% fuelwood consumption goes to domestic uses and the rest to industrial use. Fuelwood
comes from both agricultural and forestry sources. In the absence of credible estimates of the
contribution of each source, it is believed that at least 80% of all fuelwood comes from
agricultural sources.
The 1998 national demand and supply of sawlogs, pulpwood, and poles were projected by the
Bangladesh Forestry Master Plan (1993) as shown in the tables below:
Table 8 Projected Demand for Roundlogs (1,000 cum.)
Year
1988
2000
2005
2010
Annual Avg. Increase (%)

Sawlogs Pulpwood
Poles
Total
5,148
321
285
5,754
5,335
344
291
5,970
5,813
403
305
6,521
6,323
467
319
7,109
1.93
3.82
0.98
1.99

Based on linear interpolation of 2000, 2005 and 2010 figures

Table 9 Projected Supply of Roundlogs (1,000 cum.)


Year
1988
2000
2005
2010
Annual Avg. Increase (%)

Sawlogs Pulpwood
Poles
Total
1,364
344
153
1,861
1,391
400
151
1,942
1,495
487
177
2,159
1,686
507
249
2,422
2.27
3.37
6.23
2.80

Based on linear interpolation of 2000, 2005 and 2010 figures

Despite the higher growth rates of the supply-side versus the demand, the quantitative supply
gap in each case (except pulpwood) is huge. For total roundlogs, supply in the year 2010 will
still be 45% short of demand.
Against these national projections, the supply contribution of the Sundarbans Reserved Forest
in meeting demand may be presented as follows:
Table 10 Contribution of SRF to Wood Supplies (Volumes in cum.)
Year
1988
2000
2005
2010

National
1,861,000
1,942,000
2,159,000
2,422,000

Country Report - Bangladesh

Roundlogs
SRF
74,400
74,400
144,000
159,600

SRF %
4.00
3.83
6.67
6.54

National
6,494,000
6,629,000
6,983,000
7,616,000

Fuelwood
SRF
10,216
10,216
17,252
17,962

SRF%
0.16
0.15
0.25
0.24

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47

Table 11 Estimate of Local Demand for Roundlogs and Fuelwood (Volumes in cum.)
Year
1998
2000
2005
2010

Demand*
122,600
127,200
139,000
151,500

Roundlogs
Prodn
Supply Gap
74,400
48,200
74,400
47,800
144,000
-5,000
159,600
-8,100

Demand*
192,700
199,600
217,000
235,000

Fuelwood
Prodn
Supply Gap
10,200
182,500
10,200
189,400
17,300
199,700
18,000
217,000

*Demand estimates based on national per capita demand applied to local population.

Sundarbans share in the production of roundlogs will rise from 4% to 6.5% of national figures
as soon as the moratorium is lifted, whence the SRF districts are expected to become selfsufficient and net exporter of roundlogs. However, fuelwood production will not be sufficient
to meet local demand.
SRF round log contribution sums up all the Sundri, Gewa, Keora, Passur, Kankra, Baen,
Dhundal, and other timber species in the form of annual allowable cuts calculated in Chapter
VII. Fuelwood contributions include Goran and crown wood expected from the felling of the
above timber species.
Harvest Plan for Goran
In the absence of comprehensive growth information about Goran on a compartment basis, a
harvest and growth analysis, similar to that for Gewa and Sundri, cannot be supplied. The plan
is to apply a strict area control on compartments that have significant amounts of Goran based
on the FRMP Inventory. Low-yielding compartments 1, 2, 13, 15, 21, 22, 23, 25-37, 39, 40, as
well as all the wildlife sanctuaries, were excluded from the so-called Goran Production
Areas or GoPAs, totalling 202,207 hectares.
Using area control, this represents an annual cutting area of 10,110 hectares or 50,552 hectares
for each of the four five years in the 20-year harvest plan. These felling areas are then
distributed among the four ranges as follows:
Table 12 Area Distribution of Goran Resources

Sarankhola
Chandpai
Khulna
Satkhira
Winter Fishermen

Range Goran Area (ha) Annual Coupe


2,511
50,215
1,279
25,589
2,383
47,652
3,938
78,751
1,125
22,503

(Comp 8 & 45)

Individual felling schedules for each range are provided in the following tables. These
schedules are planned in such a way that contiguous compartments are scheduled together in
one period and that spillover areas from one period to the next period will likewise go
together with the next cluster of compartments to be felled. Likewise, the felling history of
each compartment was also considered and as much scheduling as possible followed the due
date for each compartment. However, in a few cases, some compartments had to be scheduled

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

one period earlier than their due date or postponed one period in order to accommodate the
contiguity consideration earlier mentioned.

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49

APPENDIX 4 - FOREST HARVESTING CODE OF PRACTICE IN BANGLADESH


Bangladesh has three major types of forests, i.e., hill forests, inland sal forests and tidal
forests. Hill forests of Bangladesh are located in Chittagong Hill Tract North and South
divisions, Chittagong division, Coxs Bazar division and Sylhet forest division. The
silvicultural system clear felling, followed by artificial regeneration, is adopted in hill forest.
The rotation is varied with the species.
Hill forests harvesting code: all the harvesting is done by open auction but separately for trees
and bamboos. All auction activity is controlled by the respective Divisional Forest Officer.
The pre-enlisted Mahaldar can only participate in tendering.
The area which will be felled is divided into different lots depending on quality and quantity
of trees. The tenderers have to submit a separate tender for each lot.
Tender is invited for cutting of trees from a lot, converting them to logs, transporting it up to a
depot and making lots for auction, according to the direction of the forest authority.
The tenderer who succeeded in auction has to submit a list of his all workers, agents,
watchers, drivers or any other person in favour of him with their permanent address and three
copies of the certificate from the concerned chairman and entering permission shall be taken
from Divisional Forest Officer to go and work in the forest area. Permission shall be taken for
any replacement.
The succeeded tenderer shall have submitted a list of equipment and tools like dao, axe, saw,
vehicle, etc. which will be used to implement the work and permission for using the
equipment and tools shall be taken from DFO.
The tenderer will cut only pre-marked trees from a lot at the maximum stamp height four
inches (4) by using cross cut saw. The branches of the trees shall be cut so deliberately
making the bole smooth. The cut trees will be topped where the girth is twelve inches (12) by
mewing cross cut saw.
The cut trees will be logged according to the direction of the authority and the desirable length
of the log is 14, 12, 7 or 5. At the big end, each log shall be marked with log number and
tree number with digit, the tree number shall be laid above the log number. Log number and
tree number shall be written at both ends of each log by using red paint. Log length and log
girth shall be written opposite to the log number at both ends of each log. Log girth is
measured at the middle of each log where debarked. Tree numbers must be digital on the
stump of the tree. The prescribed silvicultural system in this type of forest is clear felling
followed by artificial regeneration with valuable species with a rotation of 40 years (long
rotation) and 18 years (short rotation).
The cut branches whose minimum length five feet (5) and girth at small end one foot (1)
must be treated as a log. The rest are cut branches whose minimum girth six inches (6) shall
be used as fuelwood. All branches (fuelwood) shall be cut to a desirable length and arranged
in a lot in the depot and marked by hammering (now it is banned for the time being).

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Hill Forest Harvesting Code


In some forest areas, trees are sold by direct auction. In this system, felling coupe and trees are
marked and the trees which have been listed for felling is labelled by the marking hammer.
Two markings for each tree is done, first marking on its stump and second marking on d.b.h.
So after felling trees can be easily identified according to their stumps. Branches are removed
and the logs are produced according to desired length. Logs produced from a tree have a serial
number, are marked and log length/girth is recorded as stated before. The standing tree
marking is done by forest authority but other activities are done by succeeded purchaser. Logs
are then transported to the depot where they are marked by sale hammer by forest authority
finally the purchaser is allowed to move the logs with transit pass issued by forest authority.
Harvesting Code of Bamboo
Forest bamboo is harvested by tendering and all activity is controlled by the Divisional Forest
Officer. Tenders are invited to sell the bamboo Mahal. Bamboos are harvested by selective
felling of nature bamboo with 3-4 year cutting cycle.
Any young bamboo cutting is strictly prohibited. Moreover, 4 mature bamboos must be
retained in each clump with young bamboos. Special care shall be taken during cutting of
mature bamboos so that it does not damage any young bamboos, stump height will not be
more than one foot (1). Bamboo harvesting is prohibited in growing season of young bamboo
which ranges from 16 June to 15 August in each year.
All cut bamboo shall be stocked at the depot and shall be checked by concerned the Forest
Officer. The depotted bamboo shall be moved anywhere with a Transit Pass which is issued
from the concerned forest office.
The Sunderban Forests
The tidal forests are managed under selection cum improvement system followed by natural
regeneration with a felling cycle of 20 years. This felling cycle of 20 years is still maintained
today although the harvestable diameter for the main species have been lowered. Due to over
fellings and felling of smaller diameter class trees during the liberation war and subsequently,
the composition and structure of Sunderbans has changed from that of a typical selection
forest. The top drying and dying of Sundri trees, a serious damage to the forest, has aggravated
this problem. In order to restore the normalcy needed for a selection type of forest, severe
restrictions on the felling of smaller sized trees for fuelwood are required.
The major species in Sundarbans, are Sundri (Heritiera fomer), Gewa (Excoecaria
mekongensis), Keora (Sonneratia apetala), Baen (Avicennia officinalis), Kakra (Bruguiera
gymnorrhiza), Goran (Ceriops decandra), Golpata (Nypa fruticans), etc.
General Marking and Felling Code
Felling coupe is divided into sections of 40 acres. The trees of exploitable diameter and all
unsound, badly shaped and defective trees are marked. Marking is done by forest authority
itself. The trees which will be felled would be hammer-marked at a height of 4 feet and 6
inches, and at the base. The base mark should be as low down as possible in order to

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51

economize timber. In order to prevent theft, each section should be marked with a hammer
dissimilar to those used in the adjoining sections.
After a coupe has been marked, the trees, as listed, should be sold by auction section by
section. Purchasers fell all the marked trees and make into logs. All logs are digital marked
according to the tree number. Before loading their marked logs and poles into boats,
purchasers will spread them out on ghats on the banks of rivers and khais, the coupe officer
will check the hammer marks, and mark the logs on the battered part with the passing
hammer.
Sundri Harvesting Code
The silvicultural treatment prescribed is the selection system, along with restricted thinnings
and stand improvement removals. The merchantable diameter limits set for site qualities I, II
and III are 12 (29 cm), 9 (22 cm), 8 (19 cm) d.b.h. and above respectively. Felling cycle 20
years.
In the process of cutting, the annual coupe is divided into sections of approximately 40 acres
each by making north-south and east-west lines 20 chains apart. All unsound, badly shaped,
top dying or otherwise defective trees are marked provided their removal does not create a
permanent gap. The main felling operations consisting of removal of trees marked above
exploitable diameter and thinning operation are carried out during the year in which the coupe
is prescribed to be worked. After the sections are worked for main felling, subsidiary felling
for fuel by thinning starts. In order to prevent theft, each section is marked with a hammer
different from that used in the adjoining sections. Similarly, different hammers are used in
thinning marking for subsidiary felling in different areas. After completion of main felling and
subsidiary in a coupe, it is opened for removal of brush wood and dry fuelwood.
In the allocation of Sundri fellings, priority must be given to the salvaging of Sundri affected
by top-dying. The allocation should favour the removal of such material, however, not to the
extent of clear felling an area. The marking of this material should not exceed the following:
Dead: All standing dead trees where present will be marked for removal for fuelwood. Where
the marking of dead stems for felling exceeds 10 stems/acre (25 ha) in any coupe the marking
of this material must be certified by the Divisional Forest Officer.
Dying: Stems with greater than 75% of the crown affected by top dying may be marked for
felling up to a maximum of 10 stems/acre (25 ha) in any one coupe if no standing dead trees
are present for marking. During marking of dead trees, creating large openings in the forest is
avoided.
The marking, felling, logging and transporting of dead and dying trees is done by the Forest
Department itself. After reaching depots, the logs are sold by open auction. The branches up
to a certain girth are used by Khulna Hard Board Mill and the rest of the branches are used as
fuelwood.
Gewa Harvesting Code

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

The harvestable diameter limits set for pulp material are 4.6 (12 cm) d.b.h. and over and for
the matchwood are 6 (15 cm) d.b.h. and over. Felling cycle 20 years.
The annual allowable cut for Gewa has been set at 3.2 million cu.ft. per annum with a
minimum diameter limit of 12 cm until better site and growth data is available for
recalculation. The harvesting is done by the mills authority itself through any agency
sponsored by it, following working and felling plans.
When a purchaser buys any lot and would like to keep the logs in his custody for a while, the
Divisional Forest Officer issues a hammer for purchaser for a certain period. This hammer is
used for his logs and properly called hammer.
Inland Sal Forest Harvesting Code
The inland Sal forest (Shorea robusta) forests, mainly in Dhaka, Mymenshing and Tangail
Forest Division were worked under a coppice system, with a rotation of 25 years. Areas
having a lower proportion of Sal trees were managed under a clear felling system followed by
artificial regeneration mainly with Sal and other species.
Keora Harvesting Code
The silvicultural treatments prescribed are: (a) selection system with a harvestable diameter
limit 11.6 (30 cm) d.b.h. and over, in the pure Keora stands and the removal of dead and
dying stems; and (b) clear felling of the residual stands of the Keora where the understory is
well established.
Harvesting Code for Goran
Goran felling is done in two stages: (i) felling for selected Goran poles, (ii) felling for
fuelwood and singling of coppice materials felling of Goran for poles and fuelwood should be
completed during the period between completion of marking for Sundri and other species and
felling of the marked trees. During extraction one shoot is left in each branch.
Harvesting Code of Golpata
Exploitation should not be allowed in any area more than once in a year and cutting of
Golpata should not be allowed during the months of June, July, August and September which
is the growing period. The unopened central leaf and the leaf next to it in each clump must be
retained. All dead and dry leaves will be cut at the time of cleaning the clumps. Flower and
fruits should in no way be distributed at the time of cutting leaves. Sample plots must not be
disturbed. Purchasers must not be allowed to cut leaves which they do not intend to utilize.
Young plants only on utilizable leaf should not be cut.
Miscellaneous Prescriptions
The species baen, dhundol and Kakra will be marked in the coupes annually allocated for the
Sundri working circle according to a diameter limit selection system. The minimum
merchantable diameter limits used would be (i) Baen, site quality 1-22 (56 cm) d.b.h. and
above; site quality 2-18 (46 cm) d.b.h. and above, site quality 3-14 (36 cm) d.b.h. and above

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53

(ii) Dhundol 6 (15 cm) d.b.h. and above (iii) Kakra 8 (20 cm) d.b.h. and above. The
felling of passur will continue to be prohibited.
Transit Rules for Sundarban Division
i. No person shall cut or convert any timber in any Reserved or Protected Forest in the
Sundarbans of Khulna district without a pass.
ii. The transit of forest produce through any water way or landway is prohibited without a
pass.
iii. Any person who cuts or converts timber in any forest is obliged to produce his pass
whenever called upon by any Forest Officer or police officer to examine the produce.
iv. The pass issued shall be in the form of a permit that authorizes cutting and removal of
forest produce through a specified route.
v. An Officer-In-Charge of a Forest Revenue or a checking station can issue passes being
authorized by Conservator of Forests.
vi. For any transhipped or landed forest produce in the district of Khulna, Jessore, shall
permit ordered by any Forest or Police Officer, shall desist from such moving or landing
between sunset and sunrise.
vii. No person shall transport any piece of Sundri or Passur timber which does not have the
Forest Department transit or sale mark by river or by land in any part of Khulna, Jessore
districts without the permission in writing of a Forest Officer employed in the Sundarban
Division not below the rank of Extra Assistant Conservator of Forests.
viii. The above rates are not applicable to the species which does not grow in Sunderban.
Using of Hammer in Harvesting
Hammers are used for marking, felling, selling, seizing, passing and declaring property for
any. Depending on the use, they also have their own name, i.e. marking hammer, selling
hammer, seizing hammer, passing hammer and property hammer.
A marking hammer is used in felling operation. It is used as digit number. It is given both on
stump and log. For example, when a tree is numbered 5 and it produces 3 logs, the logs would
be numbered like 5/1, 5/2 & 5/3.
A seizing hammer is used for any felled log which is illicitly felled or which has no owner or
which is seized from illicit fellers. After seize, it becomes the property of the government.
After seizing its length and girth is measured.
A passing hammer is used for passing the logs through the forest up to the depot.
A sale hammer is used when any lot is auctioned then all the logs of that lot are marked with
sale hammer. Sometimes a seize hammer is used as a sale hammer.

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Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

APPENDIX 5 - HAND-OUT FOR THE SEMINAR-WORKSHOP ON THE DRAFT


FINAL REPORTS: FRMP FOREST INVENTORIES
10 February 1998
Scope/Coverage: Management inventory of eight Forest Divisions: The SRF, 4 C/A
Divisions and Sylhet, Chittagong and Coxs Bazar Forest Divisions.
Objectives: (a) To generate forest resources (trees, poles, saplings, seedlings, bamboo, and
Golpatta) statistics for forest management planning purposes, (b) to provide abstract timeseries data for plantation yield/growth modelling, whenever possible, and (c) to set up a
system or at least provide a basis for setting up a system of hidden/unmarked sample plots
for continuous monitoring and assessment of change on the forest/other resources of the target
forest divisions.
Target precision/sampling errors of the estimates: The sampling design specifications were
guided by the following target precision of estimates at the division and stratum levels: upper
limit of 5% sampling error (division level) based on tree volume; upper limit of about 10 to
15% sampling error for each of the more important strata and species groups, and about 20%
for the other strata. These target precision levels apply to the major divisions: SRF and the 3
Hill Forest Divisions (Sylhet, Chittagong and Coxs Bazar). In the case of the 4 C/A
Divisions, the upper limit for the sampling error, also based on tree volume, is 10% at the
division level and about 15 to 20% at the stratum level at least for the main stratum and tree
species. To try and attain the higher precision levels would double the time and resource
requirements of the field sampling work in the C/A Divisions, time and resources that were
not available.
Sample size (n): The following sample sizes were determined to achieve the target precision
levels. Also shown are the actual samples sizes, na, and samplings errors that were attained at
the Division level.
Division
N
Estd area
Na
Area,
ha
(Forest)
SE %

SRF

Sylhet

1277
401632
1143
399470

1162
32173
1084
41565

2.5

4.8

Coxx Chtg
Chtg
Noakli Bhola Patuakli
Bazar
C/A
1017
1120
374
716
328
293
49319
53266
12535
24027 11022
9835
1158
1088
408
289
225
168
49482
73822
20042
34223 12420
9848
3.4

9.0

18.3

7.1

10.5

10.7

SE = sampling error
SRF = Sundarban Research Forest

Sampling design and the sampling unit: For 3 reasons, systematic sampling was adopted for
the FRMP forest inventories (a) stratified random sampling was not feasible because forest
mapping was not yet completed during the design phase, hence, definite/specific strata could
not be identified and precise stratum areas were not available; (b) a set of systematic sample
plots provides a good base for a continuous/recurrent change monitoring and assessment
system; and (c) systematic sampling is simpler to implement in the field. Equal probability
sampling was used in the SRF (sampling units were in one-minute grid) and C/A plantations

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55

(20 grid) while unequal probability sampling was considered more suitable to the hill forest
divisions, primarily due to the large differences in areas of the forest types. The basic grid was
40 x 40 with different strata having different grids, e.g. 10 x 10, 20 x 10, 20 x 20 and
40 x 20, depending upon the area, relative importance and variability of the stratum. The
sampling unit was a plot cluster made up of 5 plots/sub-plots, a set of centre plots/sub-plots
and 4sets of plots/sub-plots situated 100 m from the centre plot along the 4 cardinal directions
(see below). Instead of 100 m, 50 m was used in the bamboo forest, SRF and C/A plantations
due to the relative difficulty of movement in these areas. A set of plots/sub-plots consists of
several plots/sub-plots, one each for seedlings (1 m radius), saplings (2 m), poles (5 m), trees
(11 m), bamboo Muli (5 m), plantation bamboo (11 m), other/small steam bamboo (2 m),
rattan with less than 3 m long stem (2 m) with 3 m or longer stem (5 m), medicinal plants (2
m), Golpatta seedlings (2 m) and Golpatta (5 m).
Sampling procedure/instructions: After the sampling design was completed and approved,
the detailed sampling procedures and instructions were prepared in June/July 1995.
Field sampling: Training of field crews started in October in 1995 with ACFs are crew
leaders recruited for the field work. Thereafter, field sampling started in Sylhet, SRF,
Chittagong and Coxs Bazar. The field sampling activities were under the direct supervision
of the concerned DFOs-WP. The regular field sampling activities were completed in May
1997.
Data entry/validation: A data entry and validation program (DEVP) was designed starting in
December 1995. The first working prototype was ready in early May 1996 for entry and initial
validation of the data gathered up to the end of the field work season in May 1996. Data entry
and initial validation activities were also the responsibility of the DFOs-WP. Data entry and
initial validation activities were finally completed starting with Sylhet in May 1997,
Surdarbans in August and the other Divisions in September 1997.
Tree volume equations studies: In cooperation with BFRI Researchers, the volume equations
for Acacia auriculiformis (Akashmoni), Acacia mangium, and Eucalyptus camadulensis were
improved through (a) the collection of additional data particularly bigger DBH trees that were
not available when the original equations were developed and (b) re-specification of the
volume equations. In addition, new tree volume equations were also developed for SRF trees:
Sundri, Gewa, Koera, Baen, Kankra, Passur and Dhundul due to the apparent bias of the
equations used in ODA inventory in 1983-85. In addition, volume and weight equations were
derived for Goran as well as weight equations for Golpatta leaves.
Data processing: A fielding data processing program (FDPP) was also designed and
developed specially for the FRMP forest inventories. FDPP was ready to process valid data in
May 1997. Data processing started as soon as data entry and initial validation was completed,
the FI databases were received from the DFO-WPs concerned, and after final check/validation
of the database by the FIS and Computer Programme. Data processing to generate the required
statistics and other information needed in integrated forest management planning that can be
provided by the forest inventories have been completed.
The forest resources statistics and databases: The draft final reports on the forest
inventories of the 8 Forest Divisions have been submitted. These include the detailed stand
and stock tables for trees by DBH class and species/species group: no. of trees, basal area and
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56

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

volume per ha and for the whole division as well as by stratum, forest type, compartment,
block, and range. The detailed statistics on seedlings, saplings, and pole as well as Golpatta
(in SRF) and bamboo area also included.
In addition to the results of the forest inventories being produced in the traditional hard
copies, they are also available in digital form as dbf files which are consistent with the RIMSGIS database, hence, these can be integrated into the RIMS-GIS quite easily. All the forest
inventory data that were collected in the field and entered into the Forest Inventory database
are also stored in the computer and are available for future reference and use.
The results, in general terms: The following tables give in broad terms the major findings of
the FRMP forest inventories.
Statistics
Area, ha
Sample size
NT/ha, 15+cm dbh
BA/ha (sqm), 15+cm dbh
Vol/ha (cum) 15+cm dbh
SE %
Seedlings/ha
Saplings/ha
Poles/ha
Golpatta/ha
Wt. Leaves/ha (tons)
Areas of Golpatta, ha
Statistics

Sylhet, NF

Area, ha
N
NT/ha
BA/ha
Vol/ha
SE %
Seedlings
Saplings
Poles

23693.00
279.00
56.00
5.39
53.20
7.10
5790.00
737.00
241.00

SRF
Noakhali
Ctg C/A
Bhola
Patuakli
399470.00
34223.00
20042.00
12420.00
9848.00
1143.00
289.00
408.00
225.00
168.00
144.70
172.00
10.00
58.00
156.00
5.38
5.26
0.29
1.96
5.86
27.40
25.69
1.02
9.31
36.40
2.50
7.40
18.30
10.50
10.70
33120.00
13360.00
15228.00
641.00
5840.00
7469.00
3151.00
2202.00
185.00
967.00
1120.00
1696.00
700.00
462.00
511.00
7955.00
14.60
7797.00
Sylhet
Coxs B, Coxs B, Chittagong
Chittagong
Plantns
NF
Plantns
NF
Plantns
17871.00
30398.00
19084.00
59679.00
14143.00
726.00
544.00
444.00
548.00
251.00
133.00
80.00
67.00
13.00
42.00
6.91
8.97
3.52
1.32
2.25
37.64
74.36
19.68
10.87
11.32
3.60
3.80
6.70
10.90
11.60
2940.00
4888.00
4288.00
735.00
615.00
607.00
1401.00
1092.00
323.00
362.00
602.00
339.00
696.00
151.00
379.00

NT = No. of trees
NF = Natural forest

Conclusion and recommendation: The FRMP forest inventories of the eight forest divisions
have generated the desired results as evidenced by the sampling errors of the tree volume and
other estimates. The division-wide sampling errors of the volume estimates are less than the
target precision of 5% sampling error in SRF, Sylhet and Coxs Bazar. The sampling error in
Chittagong is higher (9.0%) because the forests there are unusually fragmented and have very
high variability. In the C/A plantations, the sampling errors (7.4 to 10.7%) are also within the
targets, except in Chittagong where the stands are highly variable. In general, the sampling
errors at the stratum level are also within the designed targets of the forest inventory. The
ENRS (Extended Natural Resources Survey) which independently collected, handled, entered

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57

and analyzed their own data has confirmed the results of the FRMP inventory. More
convincingly, in SRF, a validation re-survey of 56 plot clusters that were drawn at random
with emphasis on the Gewa and Gewa Sundri forest types, showed a difference of less than
one-half percent in the total volume of the 56 plot clusters when compared with the results of
the regular enumeration. The validation re-survey which was participated in by representatives
of the DFO (Khulna) and KNM (Khulna Newsprint Mill) measured only three plots per
cluster while the regular sampling enumerated five plots per cluster. Thus, it can be concluded
that the statistics presented in this report are valid and represent the true picture on the ground.
They are also quite adequate for forest management planning purposes.
The tree resources of the SRF had decreased dramatically over the last 37 years from the
FORESTAL inventory in 1959 to the ODA inventory in 1983 and the FRMP inventory in
1996. Estimates of the three inventories show that Sundri had decreased from 211 trees/ha in
1959 to 125 in 1983 and 106 in 1996 in the whole SRF based on 15-cm+ dbh trees, or about
50% over the 37-year period. In the case of Gewa, the number of trees/ha had decreased from
61 in 1959 to 35 in 1983 and only 20 in 1996, or a decrease of about 67% for the same period.
In terms of all tree species, the decrease had been from 296 in 1959 to 180 in 1983 and 144 in
1996, or about 51% over the 37-year period. The picture is a little worse if the 10-cm+ dbh
trees are considered. The decrease in number of Sundri trees/ha in the SRF in this case had
been from 511 in 1959 to 296 in 1983 and 215 in 1996, or a decrease of about 58% over the
37-year period. The case of Gewa and all species is similar. Gewa decreased from 345 in 1959
to 224 in 1983 and 153 trees/ha in 1996, or a decrease of 55% over the same period. For all
tree species, the decrease was from 952 in 1959 to 557 in 1983 and 398 trees/ha in1996, or a
decrease of about 58% for the 37-year period. From the standpoint of sustainable production
of the two major species, the trend over the 37-year period is certainly a cause for alarm and
has to be addressed immediately and effectively. This is a major challenge for the on-going
forest management planning activity and implementation of said plan by the concerned
authorities. From the standpoint of vegetative cover, 144 trees/ha (15-com+ dbh) or 398
trees/ha (10-cm+ dbh) plus more than 2500 small poles/ha, 7500 saplings/ha and 33200
seedlings/ha do not yet present a grim deforestation picture, but obviously, the trend cannot be
allowed to continue?
It should be worth repeating here that the decrease in the number of trees in the SRF from
1959 to 1996, 51% if based on the 15-cm+ dbh trees or 58% if based on the 10-cm+ dbh trees,
does not mean that 58% of the SRF forest is gone. It simply means that the tree density of the
forest has been reduced to about half of what it used to be 37 years ago. It also means that if
sustainable management of these forest requires increasing or maintaining the present density
or even changing the stand structure of the forests, then these have to be addressed by the
forest management system. In Sylhet, the bamboo (Muli) resources have decreased from about
17,000 stems to 11,000 stems per hectare over the last eight years.
The fact remains that people, mostly from the less privileged segment of the countrys
population, some 1.2 million or more in/around the SRF, depend upon the forest resources for
their livelihood, directly or indirectly. On the other hand, the forest resources had decreased
dramatically over the years such that there is imminent danger of degrading the resources to a
situation where they would lose their capacity to provide desirable levels of goods and
services. Before these resources reach that critical stage, it is imperative that the users,
managers and the people, notably the leaders, provide the needed concerned efforts (political
will, policies, strategies, programmes, support systems, resources, ) to manage and conserve
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58

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

the forest resources so that they remain productive on a sustainable basis. This also requires
the eradication of pervasive poverty as a minimum necessary condition, for, there can be no
sustainable management/conservation of renewable resources under conditions of widespread
poverty.
The integrated forest management plan for the 8 forest divisions are being prepared by FRMP.
More projects to conserve the forest resources including the generation of more livelihood
opportunities for the people in the neighbouring areas are being proposed for funding by
international financing institutions. All these efforts have noble objectives and could help, but
in the end, the conservation or degradation of these resources will depend primarily upon the
leaders and people of Bangladesh!!!
It is recommended that the other forests of the country are inventoried including the line/strip
plantings along embankments, roads/highways and railroads. A simple design that was
prepared for the CCFs Office more than a year ago could be improved along the concept that
was applied in the determination of the area of Golpatta strips along the river banks of the
SRF.
A continuing resources change assessment system (CRCAS) for the countrys forests is
hereby strongly recommended. CRCAS must be designed, supported and implemented to
provide timely (at least annually) resource change statistics for the Forest Managers, the
leaders and people to respond effectively to any aggravating circumstances. The basic
components of CRCAS have now been set in place by FRMP at the RIMS/GIS Wing of FD.
What more are needed include: a) staff to operate and maintain the system, b) annual field
check/enumeration/measurement of one-tenth to one-fifth of the one-minute grid plot clusters
so that all plot clusters would have been re-visited/re-enumerated in five to ten years, c)
annual/biennial acquisition of appropriate satellite imageries covering portions (sensitive
portions) of the SRF to detect resource changes, d) ground monitoring system to check areas
identified on the satellite imagery to have unusual activities/changes, and e) RIMS/GIS
personnel to conduct necessary studies including strategies studies to manage and conserve
the SRF and other forest resources for the maximum benefit of the people of Bangladesh.

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Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study Working Paper Series No: 48

59

List of Working Papers already released


APFSOS/WP/01
APFSOS/WP/02
APFSOS/WP/03
APFSOS/WP/04
APFSOS/WP/05
APFSOS/WP/06
APFSOS/WP/07
APFSOS/WP/08
APFSOS/WP/09
APFSOS/WP/10
APFSOS/WP/11
APFSOS/WP/12
APFSOS/WP/13
APFSOS/WP/14
APFSOS/WP/15

APFSOS/WP/16
APFSOS/WP/17
APFSOS/WP/18
APFSOS/WP/19
APFSOS/WP/20
APFSOS/WP/21
APFSOS/WP/22

APFSOS/WP/23
APFSOS/WP/24
APFSOS/WP/25
APFSOS/WP/26
APFSOS/WP/27
APFSOS/WP/28

Country Report - Bangladesh

Regional Study - The South Pacific


Pacific Rim Demand and Supply Situation, Trends and Prospects:
Implications for Forest Products Trade in the Asia-Pacific Region
The Implications of the GATT Uruguay Round and other Trade
Arrangements for the Asia-Pacific Forest Products Trade
Status, Trends and Future Scenarios for Forest Conservation
including Protected Areas in the Asia-Pacific Region
In-Depth Country Study - New Zealand
In-Depth Country Study - Republic of Korea
Country Report - Malaysia
Country Report - Union of Myanmar
Challenges and Opportunities: Policy options for the forestry sector
in the Asia-Pacific Region
Sources of Non-wood Fibre for Paper, Board and Panels
Production: Status, Trends and Prospects for India
Country Report - Pakistan
Trends and Outlook for Forest Products Consumption, Production
and Trade in the Asia-Pacific Region
Country Report - Australia
Country Report - China
Country Report - Japan: Basic Plan on Forest Resources and LongTerm Perspective on Demand and Supply of Important Forestry
Products
Country Report - Sri Lanka
Forest Resources and Roundwood Supply in the Asia Pacific
Countries: Situation and Outlook to Year 2010
Country Report - Cambodia
Wood Materials from Non-Forest Areas
Forest Industry Structure and the Evolution of Trade Flows in the
Asia-Pacific Region - Scenarios to 2010
Decentralization and Devolution of Forest Management in Asia and
the Pacific
Commentary on Forest Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region (A
Review for Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua-New Guinea,
Philippines, Thailand, And Western Samoa
Asia Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook: Focus On Coconut Wood
Ecotourism And Other Services Derived From Forests In The AsiaPacific Region: Outlook To 2010
Technology Scenarios in the Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector
In-Depth Country Report - India
People and Forests: Situation and Prospects
Non-Wood Forest Products Outlook Study for Asia and The
Pacific: Towards 2010

60

APFSOS/WP/29
APFSOS/WP/30
APFSOS/WP/31
APFSOS/WP/32
APFSOS/WP/33
APFSOS/WP/34
APFSOS/WP/35
APFSOS/WP/36

APFSOS/WP/37
APFSOS/WP/38
APFSOS/WP/39
APFSOS/WP/40(A)
APFSOS/WP/40(B)

APFSOS/WP/41
APFSOS/WP/42
APFSOS/WP/43
APFSOS/WP/44
APFSOS/WP/45
APFSOS/WP/46
APFSOS/WP/47
APFSOS/WP/48

Country Report - Bangladesh

Forest Department Headquarters, Bangladesh

Opportunities for Forestry Investment in Asia and the Pacific


Through Carbon Offset Initiatives
Country Report - The Maldives
Country Report - Vietnam
Country Report - Nepal
Country Report - The Philippines
Regional Study on Wood Energy Today and Tomorrow in Asia
The Status, Trends and Prospects for Non-Wood and Recycled
Fibre Sources in China
Outlook, Trends and Options with Special Reference to Legislation,
Institutions and Capacity Building (A Review for Bangladesh,
Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Japan and Vietnam) (Draft)
Perspectives of Environmental Civil Society Organizations on
Forestry in the Asia-Pacific Region: Outlook To 2010
Country Report - Laos
ICIMOD
FAO Outlook Study On Wood Based Panels Production,
Consumption and Trade in the Asia Pacific Region 1996 to 2010
FAO Outlook Study On Wood Based Panels Production,
Consumption And Trade In The Asia Pacific Region - 1996 To
2010 - China Section Study On Chinas Wood-Based Panel Market
Outlook For The Years 2000-2010
Scenarios For Extra- And Inter-Sectoral Developments Of Forestry
Outlook Study For Asia And The Pacific
Country Report - Forestry Of Mongolia
Statistical Profile
Urban Forestry
Country Report - Indonesia
Country Report - Thailand
Country Report - Papua New Guinea
Country Report Bangladesh