Dhaka – The Department of Social Forestry has planned a project with the prime objective of establishing plantation for biodiversity enhancement coupled with improving socio-economic condition in the country’s northwest zone.
The scheme also intends to check desertification process through development of sustainable source of surface water and plant biodiversity and promoting livelihood support system and increasing supply of fuel and industrial raw materials.
Divisional Forest Officer Ajit Kumar Rudra has highlighted salient features of the project.
The four-year scheme titled “Eco-Restoration of the Northern Region of Bangladesh” will be implemented in all 16 districts in Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions with an estimated cost of around Taka 24.79 crore.
The programme has been design to create number of surface water reservoir using derelict water bodies to promote sustainable utilization for facilitating irrigation, maintain a near constant water table, domestic use and watering of forest nurseries.
It has provision to increase tree coverage for biodiversity conservation and wildlife habitat restoration, supply of raw materials and contribute to the local firewood needs.
The profitable afforestation activities will encourage many people towards planting adequate saplings of wood, medicinal and fruit- bearing plants at homesteads, roadsides, office premises, embankments, forest areas, religious institutions’ premises and other places.
It will help to create sustainable employment generation for the poor women, landless population, destitute and underprivileged young generation.
To attain the goals, the scheme will excavate and re-excavate 130 ponds, canals and beels. It will also raise strip plantation on 1800 kilometer with varieties of eco-friendly fruit, forest and herbal tree which will create eco-tourism facilities.
Emphasis should be given on increasing in number of fruit and other tree cover area, timber production awareness and community participation in conservation and production. The issue of raising awareness and capacity building among the community relating to land degradation and desertification will be given priority during implementation of the programme.
Significant number of small and marginal farmers will attain economic emancipation through the participatory intervention. On its successful completion by December 2017, the proposed project will help restoration of plant and habitat biodiversity alongside increasing economic activities and employment opportunities.
Successful implementation of the social forestry programme always supplement the government’s poverty reduction effort beside facing the adverse impact of climate change in the drought-prone area, experts said.
Currently, social forestry is being adjudged as a tool for bringing about ecological and socioeconomic improvements. It also contributes towards alleviating poverty in the dried region.
Many of the newly created gardens on various vacant places like river embankment, railway land, char area and roadside land are now eye-catching.
Positive ecological changes refer to a greater number of trees, more biomass production and beneficial ecological effects.
Ajit Rudra, however, said mass awareness should be built up regarding planting more trees in all the vacant spaces.
There should be adequate measures of using surface water for irrigation purposes to ensure lessening the exorbitant pressure on ground water. – BSS