Forest Dependency and Conservation Attitude of Indigenous Communities: Lessons from Komolchari Village Common Forest of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

Main Article Content

Dipannita Chakma
S. M. Shamsul Huda
Md. A. Hossain
Tapan K. Nath

Abstract

Aims: The study explored the role of Komolchari Village Common Forest (VCF) of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh in the development of the socio-economic condition of the local communities and their perceptions about VCF conservation and management.

Study Design: The research is conducted through rigorous literature review and semi-structured household interview of the associated communities of the study area.

Place and Duration of Study: The study was done in three villages around Komolchari VCF from February 2014 to January 2015. It is located in sadar upazila of Khagrachhari hilly district.

Methodology: We selected the households through simple random sampling. The households were categorized into three groups based on their socio-economic status. Results were presented together as there were no significant differences between datasets obtained from the three  villages.

Results: Agriculture is the major occupation of the poor, whereas medium and rich peoples were doing business and service. Forest products i.e. fuel-wood, pole, bamboo, wild fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants are regularly collected by the poor in a higher amount than that of medium and rich socio-economic groups. The study indicated 74% of the poor households extracted their necessary fuel wood from the VCF. Forest dependency showed that 31% households receive more than 40% of total annual income from the VCF. Traditionally, the VCF has been managed by the communities, but presently they formed a organization for management. Interventions of government and non-government organizations rose mass awareness about forest, biodiversity, and environment, which made them feel responsible for VCF management and conservation. Thus, 85% people expressed their interest to participate in the conservation initiatives.

Conclusion: Poor dwellers are more dependent on the Komolchari VCF as they extract more forest resources than the higher income groups. Thus, poor might be the major target group for further development to reduce their forest dependency.

Keywords:
Natural resources, village common forests management, Komolchari, forest dependency, conservation.

Article Details

How to Cite
Chakma, D., Huda, S. M. S., Hossain, M. A., & Nath, T. K. (2020). Forest Dependency and Conservation Attitude of Indigenous Communities: Lessons from Komolchari Village Common Forest of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Asian Journal of Research in Agriculture and Forestry, 5(2), 46-58. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajraf/2020/v5i230082
Section
Original Research Article

References

Halim S, Roy RD, Chakma S, Tanchangya SB. Bangladesh: The interface of customary and state laws in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. In: Leake H (Ed.), Bridging the gap: Policies and practices on indigenous peoples’ natural resource management in Asia. Chiang Mai: UNDP-RIPP/AIPP Foundation; 2007.

Miah MD, Ahmed FU. Conservation of a Tropical Wet Semi-evergreen Forest Ecosystem by an Indigenous Community in the Bandarban Hill District of Bangladesh: The Role of Intervention. Small-scale Forestry. 2013;13:319-331.

Rasul G. Political ecology of degradation of forest common in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Environ Conserv. 2007;34:153-163.

Rasul G, Karki M. Political ecology of degradation of forest common in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Proceeding of the eleventh biennial conference of the international association for the study of common property. Bali, Indonesia; 2006.

Islam MA, Marinova D, Khan MH, Chowdhury GW, Chakma, S, Uddin, M. et al. Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) in Bangladesh. Dhaka: Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh; 2009.

Roy RD, Halim S. Valuing village commons in forestry. Indigen Pers. 2002;5 (2):9-38.

Roy RCK. Land rights of the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong hill tracts, Bangladesh. Copenhagen: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA); 2000.

Baten MA, Khan NA, Ahammad R, Misbahuzzaman, K. Village common forests in Chittagong hill tracts, Bangladesh: Balance between conservation and exploitation. Unnayan Onneshan-The Innovators; 2010.

Rahman MA. Chittagong Hill Tracts peace accord in Bangladesh: Reconciling the issues of human rights, indigenous rights and environmental governance. J Bangl Stud. 2005;7:46-58.

Nath TK, Jashimuddin M, Inoue M. Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) in Bangladesh. Switzerland, Springer International Publishing; 2016.

Jashimuddin M, Inoue M. Management of village common forests in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh: historical background and current issues in terms of sustainability. Open J For. 2012;2(3):118–134.
Available:https://doi.org/10.4236/ojf.2012.23016

Misbahuzzaman K. Problems and prospects of the hilly watersheds in research Station: Priorities for their Conservation. Proceedings of the Sustainable Sloping Lands and Watershed Management Conference. 2006;409-415.

Jamaluddin MD, Hassan KM, Miah MM. Identifying livelihood patterns of ethnic minorities and their coping strategies different vulnerabilities situation in Chittagong hill tracts region, Bangladesh, Final Report CF # 7/08; 2010.

Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Bangladesh Population and Housing Cencus 2011. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, Dhaka, Bangladesh; 2012.

Jannat M, Hossain MK, Uddin MM, Hossain MA, Kamruzzaman M. People’s dependency on forest resources and contributions of forests to the livelihoods: a case study in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology. 2018;25(6):554-561.
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/13504509.2018.1434571

Tiwari S. Chittagong Hill Tracts: A preliminary study on gender and natural resource management. Ottawa: IDRC; 2003.
Available:http://hdl.handle.net/10625/30490

Ghosh B, Choudhury T. Gender, space and development: Tribal women in Tripura. Econ and Polit Weekly. 2011;46(16):74-78.
Available:https://www.jstor.org/stable/41152108

Bhattacharjee D, Afrad MSI, Haque ME, Barau AA. Gender mainstreaming and participation in shifting cultivation among Chakma tribe: A comparative study in selected areas of Bangladesh and India. Rural Exten & Innov Syst J. 2018;14(1):11-18.

Miah MD, Chakma S, Koike M, Muhammed N. Contribution of forests to the livelihood of the Chakma community in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. J For Res. 2012;17(6):449–457.

Siddiqi MA. Hill farming system of Marma Tribe in Chittagong Hill Tracts. M.Sc. Thesis. Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittangong, Bangladesh; 1998.

Sattar MA. Indigenous technology fir processing of forest produces. In: Banik RL, et al. (eds.), Applied Ethno-botany. BFRI. Chittagong, Bangladesh. 1998;83-84.

Chowdhury MSH, Miah DM. Housing pattern and food habit of the Mro-tribe community in Bangladesh: A forest dependence perspective. J For Res. 2003; 14(3):253-258.

Adnan S, Dastidar R. Alienation of the lands of indigenous peoples in the Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh. Dhaka/Copenhagen: Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission/International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs; 2011.

Sapkota IP, Odén PC. Household characteristics and dependency on community forests in Terai of Nepal. Int J Soc For. 2008;1(2):123-144.

Adhikari B, Falco SD, Lovett JC. Household characteristics and forest dependency: evidence from common property forest management in Nepal. Ecol Econ. 2004;48:245–257

Bahuguna VK. Forests in the economy of the rural poor: an estimation of the dependency level. Ambio. 2000;29:126–129

Kamanga P, Vedeld P, Sjaastad E. Forest incomes and rural livelihoods in Chiradzulu District, Malawi. Ecol Econ. 2009;68:613–624

Rasul G. State policies and land use in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, Gatekeeper series-119. International Institute for Environment and Development. 2005;10-11.

Akhtaruzzaman AFM. Evaluation report on “Capacity building of stakeholders for improved planning and management of forest and biodiversity conservation” project. Arannak Foundation and PROSHIKA, Bangladesh. 2012;13.

Ghimire KB, Pimbert MP. Social change and conservation: An overview of issues and concepts. In: KB Ghimire, MP Pimbert (Editors). Social change and conservation: Environmental politics and impacts of national parks and protected areas. London: Earthscan Publications Limited. 1997;1-45.

Shyamsundar P. Constraints on socio-buffering around the Mantadia National Park in Madagascar. Environ Conserv. 1996;23(1):67-73.

Barrett CB, Arcese P. Are integrated conservation development projects (ICDPs) sustainable? On the conservation of large mammals in Sub Saharan Africa. World Development. 1995;23:1073-1084.