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FAO in Bangladesh

The first national soil archive for forest land in Bangladesh is inaugurated


Soils play a key role in tree and forest resources management and mitigating climate change and now Bangladesh has its first facility for properly storing valuable soil samples collected systematically from around the country as part of the Bangladesh Forest Inventory. Through a partnership between the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) and Khulna University (KU), more than 5,000 soil samples are stored from 1858 forest, agricultural and other land use locations at the university archive. Supported by a modest investment of time and effort, the archive is a tangible result of FAO’s activities to strengthen institutional collaborations and partnerships.

The launching event of this national soil archive was held on 8 October 2018 at Khulna University. Most of the participants highlighted the uniqueness of this achievement for Bangladesh and the successful partnerships that led to the completion of the archive. Other participants were impressed by value of the soil samples as they can be used for national studies about soil resources.  

Mr. Zaheer Iqbal, Deputy Conservator of Forests and National Project Coordinator, said “The significance of the soil archive is that researchers will be able to do a number of soil analyses on thousands of samples.” The soils are already currently being analyzed at Khulna University for nutrient and physical properties to inform better forest management practices.

“This soil archive will become permanent evidence of the success of the forest inventory process in Bangladesh,” remarked Mondal Falgoonee Kumar, national FAO consultant. “Technologies for gathering natural resource data will change, but these soil samples will remain as evidence of the excellence and hard work involved with collecting robust data at a national scale – it is an achievement to be proud of” said Professor Dr Mahmood Hossain from Khulna University.

The soils were collected as part of the Bangladesh Forest Inventory, which is implemented by the BFD in 2016 and is nearing completion. Financial assistance was provided by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and technical assistance from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation's (FAO).