The objective of this activity is to support the Government of Bangladesh(GoB) and local ethnic communities sustainably manage selected natural hill landscapes in the Chattagram Hill Tracts (CHT) to help restore the provision of ecosystem goods and services while increasing socio-economic benefits.
Forests and agriculture play a vital role in the livelihoods of people living in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Historically, forest landscapes provided a wide range of local and regional benefits such as food, energy, timber, water, health, and national revenue generation. However, pressures from exploitation and degradation that commenced during the last century and continue to the present have implications for sustaining livelihood benefits of forest dependent people in terms of direct and indirect services. Agriculture makes a large contribution (80% of the food intake) to the annual food needs of households in the region. Shifting cultivation and burn agriculture has played a vital role in the food system of traditional ethnic population. But this land-use practice has faced severe pressure from increasing populations, limited availability of land and market demands. During the last few decades, most of the agricultural system has experienced a decline in yield, degradation of the forest areas and a threat to food security. Agriculture has effectively intensified to maintain household food levels; it has been transformed through use of a short fallow periods, adopting cash crops, and fruit and tree management. Sustainable land use to both secure food stocks and reduce forest degradation is a challenge. The degradation of forest resources also puts biodiversity conservation and environmental stability as well as food production at risk. The forest areas of the CHT, because of historical tensions with local and small ethnic communities (caused by land tenure issues and recognition of traditional ownership), have been underserved with regards to forest management and agricultural extension support compared with other areas of Bangladesh. The lack of coordination between both line Ministries and local Government actors and with the local/small ethnic communities has also contributed to weak management planning and implementation at the landscape level.
The PROGREEN activities will facilitate policy dialogue and support institutionalization processes of integrated forest and agricultural landscapes management across the levels of government to help these landscapes become more climate resilient while sustainably meeting the needs of local and indigenous communities. Mitigation measures, knowledge materials, and prototypes of climate-smart and green infrastructure for climate resilient growth and water conservation will be developed. At the same time, PROGREEN activities will facilitate the initiation of policy dialogue with local communities, indigenous peoples, local and national level institutions as well as other relevant stakeholders. This dialogue will be used to identify the policy gaps and other shortcomings as well as a road map for the development of new policies for these areas. PROGREEN activities will include a landscape level planning exercise in key targeted landscapes that the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) and, small ethnic and local communities can collaboratively manage to improve sustainable livelihoods as well as enhance forest cover and provision of forest ecosystem goods and services. The PROGREEN intervention will assist BFD undertake this analysis which will include assessments of the targeted landscapes, facilitating dialog between the different institutions (i.e. the different Ministries), but also the relevant local communities and other stakeholders. This dialogue will feed into the participatory preparation of land-use plans for the key targeted landscapes to optimize land uses while balancing/optimizing the trade-offs between the proposed activities, and will have the aim of achieving consensus and ownership of both the process and the way forward.
- Analysis of the institutional and policy framework for the implementation of landscape level sustainable management planning, implementation, and monitoring, for selected forest reserves and buffer zones in CHT followed by a capacity needs assessment.
- Community outreach and capacity building for participatory sustainable land use management planning.
- Baseline landscape level analysis to ascertain the extent and status of the resources in the target area and the development of models to examine the different land-use options, trade-offs and cost benefit analysis of the options being proposed.
- There will be an overall outreach and dissemination program which will cover each of the above-mentioned activities.