Researchable Issues

Researchable Issues

Bangladesh is a small thickly populated country. Because of high population density and shrinking natural resource base there is enormous pressure on the natural resources of the country. As obvious, there is a crying demand for wood for the swelling population. As a consequence of rapid economic growth through industrialization and agriculture, forests are continuously shrinking at an alarming rate. Mangrove forests are encroached for shrimp culture, which provides a quick economic return at the cost of deterioration of the complex and fragile coastal ecosystem that protects the people from cyclone and tidal surges. Hill forests are being cleared to meet the increasing demand. 


The population density is one of highest figures in the world. As a result, there is a tremendous pressure on the natural resources of the country. There is, naturally, a crying demand for wood for the swelling population. Considering the two dominant development paths –rapid economic growth through industrialization and agriculture, forests are continuously deleted shrinking at an alarming rate. Mangrove forests are encroached for shrimp culture. This provides a quick economic return at the cost of complex coastal ecosystem that protects the people from cyclone and tidal surges. Hill forests are being cleared to increase visibility in order to control insurgencies during last two decades. In addition, some serious natural problems like top-dying of sundri (Heritiera fomes) trees in the Sundarbans and dieback of sissoo (Dalbergia sissoo), and bamboo blight in village forests have also contributed to the depletion of forest resources. On the other hand, contrary, the yield of forests is very low. A bulk of the wood produced after long gestation period is lost due to improper post harvest handling technologies.


The people in general, with a low level of literacy are little aware of forest and environment. Such lack of awareness has definitely a negative impact on forestry in Bangladesh. The high demand of wood coupled with the lack of awareness generates a very high pressure for causing leads to illicit felling. The overall poor socioeconomic conditions of the people lead them to harvest or collect wood especially fuel-wood, mostly for cooking from the government owned forest areas. All these factors also contribute to depletion of the resources. In addition, natural calamities, pollution, etc., also contribute to depletion of forest resources. Climate change is a very important issue. There is an urgent need to undertake appropriate measures to face the escalating issue. Assessment of carbon stock in different forests is essential in order to harness the benefits of carbon trading.


To combat these problems, forestry activities are to be strengthened through undertaking need-based priority research and development in this sector. Being the only national research organization in forestry in the country, the primary responsibility goes to the Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) in generation of demand-driven technology. The role of universities in Bangladesh cannot be ignored as they also conduct some basic research. Nevertheless, the liability of the Forest Department (FD) is not overlooked. It must have to provide all support and cooperation in conducting research. In some cases, there are scopes for FD to be involved in generation of new knowledge.


Technological interventions needed to overcome the problems in the march to minimize the demand-supply gap are have been grouped under the following Thematic Areas. Researchable areas/issues for forestry with priority ranking have been presented in Table 20.   Thematic Areas 

a)      Forests and biodiversity conservation
b)      Low productivity
c)      Adverse effect of climate change
d)     Livelihood improvement
e)      Non-timber forest products including medicinal plants
f)       Post harvest technology
g)      Technology transfer 


Thematic AreasResearchable Areas/ IssuesPriority
Ranking
Types of researchResearch
Duration
1.    Forests and        Biodiversity    Conservation1.1.  Study the drivers of deforestation and develop appropriateparticipatory approaches for forests and biodiversityconservationHighStrategic/AppliedMedium
1.2.  Study the biodiversity resources (flora and fauna including soil      microbes) of different forest types including home gardensHighStrategicLong
1.3.  Inventory and assessment of wildlife species and their      keystone species in different forests (and wetland areas) of      BangladeshHighStrategicLong
1.4.  Assessment of ecological impacts of different exotic species    including rattan in forestsHighStrategicLong
1.5.  Ecosystems analysis of mangrove forests and developing      measures for preservation under varied climatic situations and      risksMediumBasic/AppliedLong
2.    Low Productivity Management2.1.  Identification of best provenances/ clones of commercialspecies of trees and establishment of their breeder seedorchardsHighAppliedLong
2.2.  Establishment of a seed bank for sustained supply of qualityplanting stockHighAppliedMedium
2.3.  Collection and testing of seeds collected from plus trees andmother trees, and develop storage techniques in seed bankHighAppliedShort
2.4.  Development of high yielding clones of bamboo and cane(rattans)HighAppliedLong
2.5.  Establishment of germplasm centre of endangered indigenousspecies in different ecological regionsHighAppliedLong
2.6.  Identification/standardization of control measures for majorinsect pests and diseases of important tree species in the forestsand homestead areasHighAppliedLong
2.    Low Productivity Management2.7.    Development and screening of diseases and pests resistant tree    speciesHighAppliedLong
2.8.    Screening of diseases and pests resistant tree species and their    expansionHighAppliedMedium
2.9.    Coordinated regional program for controlling common    diseases and pests of forest tree speciesMediumBasic/AppliedShort
2.10. Development of nursery practices of endangered indigenous    speciesMediumAppliedLong
2.11. Identification of pests and diseases of nurseries and their    controlHighAppliedLong
2.12. Assessment of wood production trends and consumption    pattern in non-forest or poorly forested areasMediumStrategicLong
2.13. Development of conservation techniques of soil and soil    fertility in hilly areasMediumAppliedLong
2.14. Identification and economic analysis of existing (traditional,    introduced, farmer-innovated) agroforestry practices in    Bangladesh and development of improved agroforestry        practicesHighStrategic/AppliedMedium
2.15. Development of agroforestry models for forest and newly    accreted landHighAppliedLong
2.16. Development of improved shifting cultivation in the hilly areasHighAppliedLong
2.17. Development improved management technique for degraded    forest landHighAppliedLong