Social afforestation elevates poor people’s socio-economic condition

Social afforestation elevates poor people’s socio-economic condition

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By virtue of its diversified benefits, significant number of small and marginal farmers attained economic emancipation through the participatory social afforestation programme.The Department of Social Forestry (DSF) has been executing various lucrative programmes in all 31 upazilas of Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj, Natore and Naogaon districts to encourage the rural people in planting saplings and nursing of the plants.
More than 7083.01-km of strip plantation and 3678.05 hectares of block plantations were raised involving 60,905 beneficiaries, said Ajit Kumar Rudra, Divisional Forest Officer.He said the profitable afforestation activities encouraged 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.
The beneficiaries are getting their share by selling forest products in accordance with benefit sharing mechanism under the existing social forestry rules.Over 2,800 beneficiaries have, so far, received over Taka 15.16 crore as their share from the created forests. In the recent year, Fazlur Rahman in Naogaon district received the best beneficiary award valued at around Taka 12.43 lakh in social forestry from the Prime Minister.Besides, around 17 lakh saplings were distributed through the members of parliament of the region under the climate change trust fund.
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.Positive ecological changes refer to a greater number of trees, more biomass production and beneficial ecological effects.Ajit Rudra informed that people of the respective areas were given responsibilities to look after the planted saplings who receive 55 per cent share of the sale proceeds after 10 years of plantation while the rest 45 per cent are distributed among other organizations and individuals concerned.He said the department distributed around 14 lakh saplings of wood, fruit-bearing and herbal trees among various government institutions and private organizations and individuals during the last fiscal.
In addition to creating strip gardens on 1468-kilometer lands and char garden on 220-kilometer, 55000 saplings were planted on various campus and premises of educational institutions during the last three years of the social forestry project.Homestead garden on 53-kilometer and gullies garden on 109-kilometer through planting 4.20 lakh saplings were created besides plantation of 87,625 mango saplings on 400- kilometer lands.Khoyer garden on 112-kilometer land and Lakhha garden on 57-kilomete land were created.Many of the newly created gardens on various vacant places like river embankment, railway land, char area and roadside land are now eye-catching.
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.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, Rajshahi

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