is a very important renewable resource in Bangladesh. It provides
materials like timber, pulp, pole, fuel wood, food, medicine, habitat
for wildlife and primary base for biodiversity. It also provides
oxygen, controls or reduces the intensity of the cyclones and tidal
surges in the coastal areas of Bangladesh, influences the rainfall,
and sustained water yield in the river systems etc. Besides these,
forest is also used for hunting, and nature based tourism. Now a
days, eco-tourism is the preferred type of tourism and it is widely
believed that eco-tourism could be an alternative mechanism for
environmentally sustainable development without depleting the forest
resources and its habitat and biodiversity. Considering all these,
forest and consequently forest management is getting importance
with the passage of time.
Present Forest Management
Scientific forest management in this sub-continent was started during
British rule by the appointment of Sir D. Brandis as the Inspector
General of Forest in 1865. A separate forest department was created
for Bengal in 1876. Chittagong Forest Division was the first division
created in Bangladesh by British ruler in 1872 and the Sundarban
Forest Division was created in 1879.
In those days, forests were managed primarily for revenue collection
under the control of Revenue Department. Only valuable trees were
extracted from the forest to get more revenue,.
in mind the importance of forest, a forest management plan or work
plan is prepared for each forest division. This management plan
guides forest manager to manage forest or to perform day to day
work in the forest. This plan spells out where to cut trees, how
much to cut and what to plant to cover up the cleared up forest
etc. on annual basis.
The present forest management is almost totally different from the
past one in respect of its objectives and philosophy. Present forest
management objectives are not only to produce timber only but also
to provide clean air, clean water, healthy habitat for wildlife
and to act as a major source of biodiversity and nature-based tourism.
The present philosophy of forest management is to involve people
in the management and create an environment so that people can feel
that they have also some stakes on trees growing on the forestland
and to improve living standard of the people residing in the vicinity
of the forests .
forest management is primarily guided by Forestry Master Plan (FMP)
completed in 1993 with the assistance from ADB, UNDP and FAO. The
objectives of present forest management are adopted following FMP
and these are:
enhancing environment preservation and conservation
rational forest land use
public participation and benefit from the forest
forests on marginal and private lands
efficient resource utilization.
Recent Improvement in Management Practices:
of all major forest formations in the country except the forests
in Chittagong Hill Tracts were carried out. This has provided the
necessary database for using quantitative information for writing
more comprehensive management plans for different forests. Small
units of uniform crop have been identified and information on these
units were recorded with the help of computer based Resources Information
Management System (RIMS) unit in FD.
inventory and associated activities have made long desired information
on the status, growth and yield of forests in the country available.
It has been possible to develop volume and yield functions for all
major plantation species and volume functions for major species
in natural forests. This has made possible to regulate yield for
long period of time. A new working plan format has been devised
to make it possible for the use of the available information in
future management plans.
annual plan of operation is included as part of the management plan.
This is basically a detailed plan of operation within the forest
division and is prepared by the Divisional Forest Officer.
In recent years there has been a substantial shift in emphasis in
Forestry and Forest Mnagement from maximizing yield towards maximizing
sustainability through increased participation of local population,
conserving biodiversity and maintaining forestry services.
present management systems are evolved from the past ones through
various modifications in order to incorporate present objectives
of forest management. Some new forest management systems are also
added to address new concept in forest management such as agroforestry,
homestead plantation, strip plantation, participatory forestry on
encroached forest, mangrove afforestation on newly accreted land
in the coastal area, conservation area management to preserve wildlife
habitat and biodiversity.
Information Management System
Forest Department initiated the Resource Information Management System
(RIMS) during 1984-85 under the auspices of IDA funded Second Forestry
Project. The main objective of the RIMS was to produce reports and
maps relevant to all aspects of the management plan, silvicultural
prescriptions and to provide information on present and predicted
yields from relevant operations. This was designed as an aid to intensive
forest resource management of all Forest Divisions through management
plans and also in perspective planning in forestry.
the RIMS is a two way information system. The raw data are supplied
to the computer from the field divisions. The processed information
are sent back to the field Divisions from the RIMS Unit. After performing
operations, the data on new situation are fed to the computer for
updating the database.
Along with the technological development RIMS Unit adopted Geographical
Information System (GIS), a computer based data management, mapping
and analyzing system of spatial information. Forest Department integrated
GIS with the existing RIMS under the World Bank financed Forest
Resources Management Project (FRMP) in mid 90’s. RIMS/GIS
unit now is bestowed with modern GIS setup with state of the art
and technology, software, computers, plotters, digitizers and experienced
personnel as well.