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FO:DP/BGD/84/056

INTEGRATED RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT OF
THE SUNDARBANS RESERVED FOREST
PROJECT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

BANGLADESH

Terminal Report

Report prepared for
the Government of Bangladesh
by

the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
acting as executing agency for
the United Nations Development Programme
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Rome, 1998

Table of Contents

2. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

3. RECOMMENDATIONS

Appendix 4 DOCUMENTS PREPARED DURING THE PROJECT


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AAC - Annual Allowable Cut

DFO - Divisional Forest Officer

FD - Forest Department

FMP - Forestry Master Plan

FRMP - Forest Resource Management Plan

GEF - Global Environment Facility

GIS - Geographic Information System

IDB - Integrated Data-base

IMC - Integrated Management Committee

IRMP - Integrated Resource Management Plan

MOEF - Ministry of Environment and Forests

NGO - Non-governmental Organization

NMC - National Mangrove Committee

NWFP - Non-wood Forest Product

OPSUNIT - Operational Unit

RIMS - Resource Information Management System

SRF - Sundarbans Reserved Forest

TYDP - Ten-Year Development Plan

1. INTRODUCTION

1.1 PROJECT BACKGROUND

Bangladesh is a heavily populated country and has the smallest extent of forested land in the region. Out of a total land area of approximately 144 000 km2, 15% is classified as government forest land, although the actual forested area is estimated to cover only 9%, as a result of heavy encroachment. With a population of over 108 million, increasing at a rate of 2.3% yearly, there is a massive demand for all forms of wood products and non-wood goods and services.

The Sundarbans Reserved Forest (SRF) is the largest single forest resource in the country, covering approximately 6 000 km2 of mangroves and representing 51% of the country's total reserved forest estate. It contributes about 41% of total forest revenue and 45% of all timber and fuelwood. At least 2 million people live within the proximity of the boundary and this number is doubling every 34 years.

Since the area was gazetted as a reserved forest, concern has been expressed regarding the quantity of timber and other resources it provides. Although the socio-economic and environmental values of the area have long been affirmed, there was growing evidence of deterioration caused by the widespread over-harvesting of resources, outmoded management practices and serious changes in the physical environment.

It was clear that action was needed to analyse the ecosystem and to devise ways to reform the management system in order to ensure the sustainable utilization of resources and a more equitable sharing of benefits. In the context of the 1980-1985 Third Five-Year Development Plan aimed at improving the production of timber and non-timber products in a sustainable manner, the Government of Bangladesh requested FAO to report on the pressing need for an integrated planned management system for the SRF area.

1.2 OUTLINE OF OFFICIAL ARRANGEMENTS

The Project Document for BGD/84/056, Integrated Resource Development of the Sundarbans Reserved Forest was signed by the Government of Bangladesh on 23 July 1990, by FAO on 24 July 1990 and by UNDP on 26 July 1990. The project had a planned duration of three years. The overall budget was $US 3 285 970, with government inputs in kind of Tk 10 177 000. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) was designated the counterpart agency for project implementation.

The project started operations on 17 January 1992 and terminated on 30 September 1995. The last National Steering Committee meeting was held in June 1994. The total donor contribution, as finally revised, was $US 3 532 922.

1.3 PROJECT OBJECTIVES

It was proposed that mangrove ecosystem studies and socio-economic research be undertaken to examine the entire SRF and its terrestrial and aquatic resources. The goal was to determine strategies for optimal exploitation of the forest resources without disturbing the ecological balance. Advice was required on ways to help meet the escalating demand for land, timber, fuelwood, protein, housing materials and raw materials for large industries and the needs of numerous cottage industries located in the densely populated border zone by adopting an integrated systems approach.

Three main objectives were defined:

- a monitoring system for the Sundarbans ecosystem, focusing on spatial and temporal changes and the effect of different treatments on the long-term sustainable management of the system;

- a plan for integrated resources management designed to enhance the supply of wood and non-wood products, to conserve and manage aquatic and terrestrial wildlife resources, to study the potential for mobilizing and assisting people in participatory income- and employment-generating activities in the area, with particular focus on disadvantaged groups, to develop tourism and recreation and to enhance the protective role of forests against cyclones, soil erosion and tidal surges;

- an enhanced institutional framework to facilitate the integrated management of the Sundarbans through interdepartmental coordination, augmenting the capability of the staff and providing improved physical facilities.

2. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

The project fielded 26 consultants and experts, based at premises provided by the Forest Department (FD) of the MOEF in Khulna. Overall, the results provided enough information to achieve the project objectives. The Terminal Report was submitted as a first draft discussion document on 21 May 1995, after which the project's findings were presented for public debate at two national workshops and one stakeholders' participatory rural appraisal workshop.

The project's task was to bring together multiple disciplines in a unified management system incorporating production, forestry, hydrology, fisheries, wildlife, apiculture, tourism, socio-economics and security. The administration of this system was intended to separate the legislature from the executive, to provide independent evaluation, equitable access to resources, proper public accountability and to avoid conflicts of interest.

The integrity of the SRF's borders and the nature of its enclosed mangrove ecosystem has been successfully maintained by the FD for over a hundred years. Now, however, the area is increasingly under threat from reduction in freshwater inflow, sedimentation, marine and upland pollution, physical encirclement by polders and uncontrolled land-use conversion, climate change and upstream activities.

Not only is there a demand for land for cultivation, habitation, shrimp farming and other forms of development, but the value of the products contained in the SRF area is changing rapidly. The over-exploitation of wood resources and the extensive harvesting of resources such as shrimps, crabs, turtles, oysters and the wilderness itself for ecotourism have introduced new challenges and the future control of the land for forestry purposes can no longer be taken for granted. The Forestry Master Plan (FMP) of 1992 postulated an alternative management scheme as an "overall recommendation". According to this plan, the whole forest should be set aside as a World Heritage Site, the area should be managed on a multiple-use basis with core conservation areas of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, buffer zones should be created and the multiple-use zone should be managed on a sustainable basis for fuelwood and non-wood products "primarily directed towards meeting the needs of the rural poor". Emphasis was placed on small-scale users, poverty alleviation and social equity rather than on supplying raw materials to industry.

However, the project found that, although Gewa Excoecaria agallocha, the main source of pulpwood, and Goran Ceriops decandra, the main source of fuelwood, were being harvested to levels which may be sustainable, further analysis of timber stocks was required to estimate the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC). It also found that a serious commitment to integrated management would help determine levels accommodating both user groups. Apparently competing interests could become mutually dependent since timber products have a significant multiplier effect throughout the economy, from the provision of local employment and fuelwood from offcuts to the underpinning of industrial development.

The main considerations for integrated management planning for the SRF were more complex than those demanded in previous forest inventories and working plans. To conserve and develop the SRF and its resources, forest management had to take into account a host of factors ranging from the country's macro-economic goals to the effects on the food chain of intensive harvesting of mud crabs. Integration was required at all levels, weighing conservation against development and production objectives and bearing in mind the effect of FD actions on the environment, dependent people and national economic targets. It was found that this concept received little support within the public sector.

The project demonstrated how rapid results could be obtained by using advanced technology, systematic data collection, Geographic Information Systems (GISs), computerized records and biometric and prescriptive modelling, operated by a multi-disciplinary team. These strategies are now available to the FD. The data-bases developed by the project will improve the capability of the FD by providing reliable information available at all times.

The main systems, products and services on which the consultants worked on numerous field missions between January 1992 and September 1995 were: the ecosystem and the biophysical environment, wood resources and produce, plant-based non-wood forest produce, animal-based non-wood forest produce, wildlife management, tourism and recreation, apiculture, socio-economics, community development and institutional strengthening.

Aggregated information based on the analysis of 69 of 120 (58%) of the permanent sample plots provided tentative data on the current status of the forest and guidelines for future research and monitoring, not only of the wood resource but also of non-wood resources and their products. Differing levels of management, utilization and value are reflected in the analyses of the resource base and recommendations are made for their integrated management.

2.1 OUTPUTS

2.1.1 A monitoring system for the SRF

Although much of the work needed on background ecology was accomplished, analysis of the plant communities was not achieved to a desirable level. The ecosystem is both complex and fragile and is currently undergoing changes which may be detrimental to its stability and even survival as a mangrove forest. An issue that has tended to dominate many investigations is that areas once suited to the most abundant and valuable species, Sundri Heritiera fomes, may be transformed by the reduction of freshwater inflow and increased sedimentation into habitats to which this important commercial species is not adapted. The detection, quantification and analysis of these factors is difficult and time-consuming. The project's technical reports provide information on the biophysical environment, using primary and secondary sources. Holistic baseline data are now available on the mangrove ecosystem and, where appropriate, on surrounding areas. These are synthesized in the Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP), which includes recommendations and detailed guidelines for further ecological research and monitoring.

Primary soil data were gathered in the field and were added to secondary information. These were overlaid in the GIS data-base for comparative purposes and, combined with existing vegetation data, provide a baseline showing the relationship between soils and vegetation types.

A draft of the IRMP was prepared as a major output. Its proposals included an indicative capital development programme outlining: options for institutional development; the strengthening of the FD; the management of wood resources, non-wood resources, fisheries, tourism and recreation; apiculture; sustained-use wildlife harvesting; extension programmes; employment diversification; small-scale industries; the enhancement of opportunities for development for women; and poverty alleviation.

The IRMP included commentaries on data deficiencies and recommended that an inventory at compartment, sub-compartment and species stratum levels be produced as quickly as possible by the Forest Resource Management Plan (FRMP). Guidelines were provided for the integration of studies embodied in long- and short-term multi-disciplinary research, in which the FD, the Bangladesh Forestry Research Institute, Khulna University and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) could play stable and coordinated roles.

2.1.2 An integrated resource management plan

The IRMP was prepared as an advisory document enabling the MOEF, the FD, universities, NGOs, departments and agencies concerned and members of the public to have all the available information on the following: climate, sustainable development, geology, sociology, soils, economics, water, forest produce, flora, conservation, biodiversity, wildlife management, ecology, resource management, tourism, research and monitoring, history, law and order, fauna, administration and institutions.

The plan includes comments on forest production prescriptions and options for the management of zones allocated for purposes appropriate to their resources according to conservation or production goals.

Without an inventory it was impossible to prepare details of the exact nature and intensity of management. These will follow on from the inventory data gathered by the FRMP in 1997/98. A ten-year implementation schedule is provided, indicating priorities, activities, time-bound targets and financing for development projects. The GIS data-base has been developed to provide accurate spatial information relating to protection and production zones, sanctuaries, tourism and the overwhelmingly important 10-km border area, which was mapped out and discussed for the first time in this project. Other data on soils, water resources, forest production prescriptions, administration and conservation have been collated and stored in the integrated data-base (IDB), which acts as the nerve centre for data storage, analysis and retrieval and is essential for all future management planning. Since the IDB was only developed in the last year of the project, further technical support and training will be required to exploit its value as a management tool for forest resource management.

Reports on the Sundarbans fishery and wildlife were prepared after extensive field studies. Their findings indicated an over-exploitation of the fishery and a lack of adequate information on which to make management decisions. The wildlife report provided a summary of the status of important species. Further work on distribution and densities should be a high priority for follow-on activities.

Fisheries resources, including finfish, shrimps and oysters were the subject of inadequate study and an accurate assessment of their socio-economic potential will require additional research. Results showed, however, that finfish, shrimps, crabs and oysters were intensively harvested at an unsustainable Maximum Social Yield level and that the properly directed management of breeding areas, fishstocks, and methods of harvesting was required. There is little doubt that substantial research will be needed to provide adequate information on fisheries resources and related socio-economic factors, since the subject involves matters connected with the offshore fishery, straddled stocks, seasonal migrations and value-added activities and marketing in the 10-km border area. Collaborative research and management with the Fisheries Department is thus essential.

Wildlife management plans were prepared and supplemented with information on sustained yield harvesting, biodiversity management, re-introductions and an assessment of the need not only for research and monitoring but for a proper appraisal of the value and sustainable utilization of wildlife which is, to a large extent, a neglected and valuable resource.

2.1.3 The coordination of management and research activities

Proposals were made for the practical integration of research, management, monitoring and evaluation activities. The functional unit used by the FD to obtain, store and analyse data was the operational unit (OPSUNIT), established by the project in the Khulna office and embodying the nucleus of trained personnel operating as a multi-disciplinary team for integrated resource management on a continuing basis.

The core team was composed of specialists responsible for developing the GIS and hydraulic data-bases, the IDB, the ecology laboratory, the communications network and computer hardware, the library, scientific references, etc. These were operated by project staff who collaborated regularly with members of the FD, the Surface Water Modelling Centre, Khulna University and the other agencies concerned.

Recommendations for the future of the unit are made in the IRMP. Despite an apparent lack of institutional framework and finance there is a strong case for linking the core unit to the FD's Resource Information Management System (RIMS) based in Dhaka, while keeping it operational in Khulna, and for developing its capacity during a bridging period of at least two years, using any discretionary finance that may be available until a further project can be put into position. Even in its embryonic form, the unit is a proven instrument for management planning. An efficient and motivated team was established at the Project Office in Khulna and could form the basis of the team which will be required for management planning and integrated multiple resource conservation and development in the implementation programme described in the IRMP.

Although proposals for IRMP implementation are based on the creation of a multi-disciplinary team, the FD does not have a sufficient complement of staff in the various disciplines. It will be necessary to include officers from other sources, trained in various aspects of resource management covering other disciplines, who are able to work with the GIS, as well as resource management specialists from the FD and other agencies.

The project provided training wherever possible. Appropriate officers were sent for short study tours to countries within the region, particularly to study the supportive and development-oriented role played by forest services in those countries which promote rural development based on mangrove-related products. At the professional and semi-professional levels, three fellowships were arranged. It was hoped that the beneficiaries of these fellowships would become part of the follow-on team of trained and experienced professional officers.

A radio communications system was initiated for project implementation, but its satisfactory completion was hampered by delays in Customs clearance of equipment, incomplete procurement and lack of coordination. It is hoped that a workable system will be achieved by coordinated planning between the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) for Environment and Conservation and the DFO for Sundarbans Division after completion. Recommendations are made in the IRMP for training in operations and maintenance which fell beyond the scope of the project.

2.2 THE ECOSYSTEM

The status of the ecosystem and its management were assessed and opinions were expressed in the IRMP on the major threats to the environment, ecological change, sustainable harvesting of forest produce and improvement to management practices. Although reports from some key sectors, in particular, ecology, silviculture, socio-economics and fishery harvesting and marketing were delayed, a solid baseline of information was gathered and focus was brought to bear on taking a holistic view of the ecosystem, its resources and management. Data gaps were identified and it should be possible to use the project's data to set up a full ecosystem inventory.

2.2.1 The biophysical environment

It was confirmed that major changes are occurring in the mangrove ecosystem. These include a reduction in freshwater inflow from the upstream catchments, an increased rate of sedimentation in some places and an increase in the duration in most places of higher levels of salinity than were measured in the past. It was found that the area of greatest fluctuation in total salinity level was in the central part of the SRF, that global warming is likely to produce a rise in sea level that will ultimately have a serious impact upon the ecosystem and that industrial, maritime and agricultural pollution from upstream sources and tidal flows from the Bay of Bengal may become critical to the biota.

Without access to the 1995 FRMP aerial photographs it was impossible to detect gross changes in plant associations and forest types measured in terms of total relative areas. Nonetheless, the occurrence of the condition known as Sundri top-dying was found to be widespread. Although no single causal factor was detected, it is thought that a mixture of several factors acting together is likely to be responsible. Improvements in FD management and control of removal are required.

In 1985 it was found that the total standing volume of Sundri had changed and that the number of trees per ha had declined since 1960, possibly as a result of an inappropriate application of the selection management system. Although it was impossible to ascertain whether this trend had continued for Sundri, the same management technique is still being used for Gewa, to the probable detriment of stock.

The species populations of larger animals, especially tigers, spotted and barking deer, Rhesus macaques, wild boars and dolphins, are either stable around mean density levels or declining. The avifauna is rich in species but populations generally exhibit unusually low densities. Fish, shrimps, prawns and crabs are over-harvested at all stages in life cycles and unusual fluctuations in their densities were observed in 1994/95. Although crocodiles, turtles, monitor lizards and snakes are widespread in their occurrence, densities are dangerously low.

2.2.2 Wood production

Despite a timber moratorium, the volume of removals of Sundri, Gewa and Goran are at pre-moratorium levels, while unofficial harvesting in 1993/94 may have added a further 40% to the total wood harvest. Since wood production at these levels could lead to depletion, urgent reforms are needed in production methods and control, measuring and recording systems. Harvesting criteria and methods should be reviewed and up-dated after the FRMP inventory results have been made known and incorporated into the first annual revision of the IRMP.

2.2.3 Non-wood production

The total landed fish harvest estimates range between 12 000 t and 75 000 t, with the latter estimate considered more probable. The total honey and beeswax harvest is unknown but is likely to be approximately 600 t and 150 t, respectively, three times the officially recorded levels. The total golpatta harvest is said to have averaged 69 000 t over the last ten years and the FD revenue in 1993/94 was Tk 5.9 million. From socio-economic and other evidence this harvest may be under-recorded by up to 40%. The total harvest of shrimp fry was recorded by the FD at 231 million in 1993/94. The harvest accrued Tk 1 million in revenue, although it is known that this harvest is also seriously under-estimated. The total harvest of shells is about 3 200 t, for which the annual revenue is about Tk 86 000. The total number of international tourists visiting the SRF is thought to be about 300 and the total number of domestic tourists is estimated at about 5 300, with a combined average revenue to the FD of about Tk 31 000 yearly over the last seven years.

2.2.4 Socio-economic factors

The human population living in the area around the SRF is about 2 million and will double, at the present yearly rate of 2.04, in 34 years. At least 25% of the population is probably engaged in some form of full- or part-time activity connected with produce from the SRF and, if all members of families are included, this figure could be much higher. About 46% of local income is derived directly from SRF resources. Those involved in timber and golpatta harvesting are known as Bowallis, while those involved in honey collection are known as Mowallis. Neither community receives equitable benefits for its labour. Lack of personal security and unfair treatment were stated to be the foremost concerns of the local people. Investments in community participation in post-harvest technology, social forestry, wildlife management, tourism, apiculture and border zone aquaculture could do much to create new employment opportunities for women and disadvantaged groups, as well as relieving pressure on SRF products. It emerged from the socio-economic studies that future research must aim towards understanding the factors connected with the activities of people who live outside the forest. A major information, education and communications campaign is needed to promote biodiversity conservation in the border zone.

2.3 CONCLUSIONS

All the terms of the Project Document were addressed and all the activities proposed were undertaken with the best results attainable within the context of staff fielding and at times, severe operational constraints. The 38 proposed activities for the different specializations were covered to an acceptably high professional level. The constraints encountered cannot be apportioned to any one party, although progress was hampered by the lack of synchronization in the fielding of staff.

The main conclusions confirmed that, under existing legislation, the SRF mangrove system must be administered by the FD, but stressed the need to improve revenue systems, to keep accurate records of accounts, to introduce more equitable harvesting systems and to consider socio-economic factors. Integrated management must be introduced to take account of all terrestrial and aquatic resources by sharing research, monitoring and management functions with the other agencies concerned.

The overall lack of control, inaccurate revenue systems and long-established detrimental harvesting methods in the SRF made it difficult to estimate the position of wood and non-wood forest product (NWFP) production and the overall status of resources. The lack of resource management capacity in the face of increasing population pressure on the environment and its resources indicates a need for institutional restructuring, the reform of systems and considerable investment in development projects. Opportunities for Global Environment Facility (GEF) support should be investigated as soon as possible, since the SRF has far-reaching implications beyond its own borders, for example, in shared waters, international boundaries lying across the ecosystem and the marine zone.

The widely-held belief that SRF resources are declining is correct, but the situation is not irretrievable. Although it is true that factors such as a rise in sea level cannot be controlled, factors relating to management can and should be exposed to public debate.

The project provided considerable in-service and on-the-job training and organized study tours and fellowships to help establish an effective multi-disciplinary team to manage the Sundarbans resources. Nevertheless, the future institutional framework within which these diverse activities can be coordinated and managed has yet to be agreed. It is recommended that this be treated as a high priority matter by MOEF, for attention at inter-ministerial level or above.

The failure to implement the actions recommended and set out in the IRMP on institutional development and the improvement of management of all resources by investment in integrated strategies, new revenue systems, new harvesting and control methods, training, infrastructure, equipment and effective community involvement will lead to an accelerating decline in the value of the SRF ecosystem.

The constraints to improving management and to development plans are finance, commitment, realistic technical capacity and essential coordination. In order to achieve sustainability, consideration must be given to new funding mechanisms, such as trust funds or revolving funds to be generated and managed locally.

The project's findings produced a better understanding of the SRF resource base and the real socio-economic needs of multiple interests. Further work needs to be carried out in the follow-up and implementation phase, but direction could be lost and many achievements dissipated if finance and institutional arrangements to maintain continuity are not forthcoming. Since the value of the mangrove ecosystem is of global significance, the findings of the project should be made widely available to the public.

3. RECOMMENDATIONS

3.1 CONSERVATION, INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

Inter-departmental cooperation and coordination of functions will be needed to ensure the optimal utilization of resources without disturbing the ecological balance. It is therefore recommended that future institutional and structural planning clearly define the following functions and areas of responsibility: management operations, protection, conservation, legal and audit functions, research activities, commercial enterprises, monitoring systems and training information, education and extension.

3.2 MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES

It is recommended that regular meetings be held between the ministries, departments and other agencies concerned to steer and direct the implementation of the IRMP and future management of the SRF. The following bodies should be considered: the National Mangrove Committee (NMC), the Sundarbans Integrated Management Committee (IMC) and the Sundarbans Tourism Advisory Sub-Committee.

Initially it is recommended that the NMC and the IMC be established as precursors to IRMP implementation and for the ongoing monitoring of management impacts on the SRF. Detailed terms of reference should be determined by exploratory meetings to exchange ideas and ascertain spheres of interest on policy, legislation, development, research and monitoring.

3.3 INSTITUTIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT

It was concluded that the institutional structure for improved management of the SRF required adjustment and two alternatives are described. It is recommended that an early decision be made by the Government on the best way forward to meet future management goals.

It is recommended that the OPSUNIT be maintained as the first follow-on project in the IRMP. If interim funding becomes available it is recommended that the unit be linked administratively and functionally to ongoing FRMP RIMS operations.

Since early transitional arrangements will be needed to ensure continuity, it is recommended that this be treated as a high priority for possible inclusion in any review of the FRMP and for donor consideration. Its capacity should be developed and financed in a bridging period of at least two years, using any discretionary finance available.

It is recommended that new forest inventory data be gathered to update and augment the existing multiple-resources data on a continuous basis, using the methodology defined in the IRMP. An Annual Work Plan should be incorporated into the next revision of the IRMP and this should include the monitoring and evaluation scheme outlined in the IRMP.

3.4 ENVIRONMENTAL PARAMETERS FOR FOLLOW-ON ACTIVITIES

It is recommended that follow-on applied research on the mangrove ecosystem focus initially on the broad fields started by the project: comparative vegetation mapping; meteorology, using the new SRF ecological research stations; hydrology, in particular shared waters and pollution; soils, erosion and accretion; biodiversity, fish stocks and other wildlife; stakeholders' participation; baseline surveys of biodiversity in the wildlife sanctuaries and border zone; the analysis of investment prospects in economic developments in the 10-km border zone, especially tourism, cottage industries and post-harvest technology; studies on the impact of land-use practices in surrounding and upstream areas; and detailed studies of resources, ecology and the protection of the 12-nautical-mile marine zone.

3.5 FUTURE RESEARCH AND MONITORING

It is recommended that the FD change from a stratified random sampling methodology to continuous survey systematic sampling. It is also recommended that continuous hydrological monitoring follow on from the position established by the project. All future research should be applied to ecosystem and resource management issues and the skills and capabilities of local academic institutions and technical agencies should be coordinated by the IMC.

3.6 PRODUCT MANAGEMENT, HARVESTING AND ECONOMICS

It is recommended that the FD set the AAC from the Sundarbans by means of volume control methodology, rather than area control. It is further recommended that simulation models be devised to determine not only the effect that different levels of cut might have on growing stock estimates, thus enabling computer-sensitivity analyses to be carried out for determination of the most appropriate AAC for sustainable harvesting, but also the proper management of all other resources. Details of silvicultural research and monitoring, plantation trials, and nurseries and growth and yield modelling, harvesting and inventory methodologies are set out in the IRMP.

It is recommended that the following key issues be addressed in determining priorities for forest production management. The FRMP inventory is required to assess the current status of the wood resource. Following the results of the new inventory design a production management plan should be implemented, to be incorporated into a revised IRMP. New systems for measuring wood removals and for updating compartment records should be developed and a system of periodic independent random auditing of all revenue systems should be introduced. Silvicultural practices should be improved through plantation trials and improved practices. It is recommended that the timber moratorium continue, pending the results of the FRMP inventory. The criteria for selection of top-dying Sundri should be immediately redefined so that healthy trees are not harvested and the salvage removal of wind-blown trees should be regarded as a higher priority than the removal of top-dying Sundri. It is recommended that all Sundri logs be graded so that parcels of graded timber can be sold at auctions. A plantation extension unit should be set up to encourage tree planting.

As regards the improvement of yields and the management of wood products, it is recommended that, after completion of the FRMP inventory, priority consideration be given to the following issues. The harvesting criteria applied to top-dying Sundri should be redefined if the moratorium is to remain. The cost benefit of using species such as Baen Avicennia officinalis and Jhanna Rhizophora mucronata, currently wasted and only harvested unofficially, for poles and piles should be assessed, as should that of harvesting wind-blown and fallen trees.

Despite the moratorium, Gewa is harvested for use by the Khulna Newsprint Mill. If the mill becomes uncompetitive and faces closure, an alternative use for Gewa must be researched.

It is recommended that early consideration be given to reorganizing the revenue system and that the system of measuring produce be standardized, using metric units.

The increase in emphasis on NWFPs has accelerated in recent years because of their high social and commercial values (higher in total value than those of the wood resource) and because the growth in interest in these products has led to an increase in the demands made on the FD for day-to-day management. Since the FD barely had the means for managing the timber resources, a shortfall in capacity exists in its ability to handle the new, often highly-specialized, requirements of modern management of both plant- and animal-based produce. It is recommended that this matter be given priority attention in future investment programmes. To improve the management of NWFPs, it is also recommended that the FD work with NGOs, the civil administration and all other relevant parties.

It is recommended that golpatta, hantal and bhola be given priority attention in order to determine the distribution and status of these products, which possess exceptionally high social value.

Golpatta management requires particularly early attention. It is therefore recommended that an assessment of the area and total standing stock of golpatta be made as soon as possible. A research programme into growth and yield and the effects of different cutting regimes should be implemented and new cutting rules should be introduced to reduce the amount currently wasted by trimming fronds.

As far as animal-based NWFPs are concerned, the management of the Sundarbans fishery involves issues which affect the wildlife sanctuaries, forest resource conservation, socio-economics, international boundaries and border area agriculture. Since many areas outside the SRF are involved, it is recommended that early attention be given to establish coordinated management involving agencies concerned with the following sectors: international trespassing in marine waters; migratory seasonal fishermen, in particular winter visitors to SRF from Chittagong and elsewhere; the management of shrimps, crabs and oysters; conservation biology, harvesting and post-harvest treatment; practical measures to increase the minimum sizes of fish and shrimps caught; the proper assessment of closed seasons and their enforcement; and the integration of research and monitoring data collection and sharing of information among the agencies concerned. It is recommended that for straddled stocks and species which spawn outside the SRF, either in the open ocean, such as Lates calcarifer, or upstream, such as Hilsha ilisha, effective stock management control over the entire life cycle of a stock be introduced.

Following the establishment in 1994 under the FRMP of the Environment Management and Nature Conservation Division, it is recommended that early implementation of wildlife management, conservation and research programmes be instituted. Wildlife-related matters requiring priority attention are: zoning, boundary delineation, vegetation studies, legislation and regulations, saltwater crocodile, deer and crocodile farming, ecology of tigers and wildlife management plans.

Recommendations for socially and culturally acceptable tourism and recreation are based on the judicious implementation of a Ten-Year Development Plan (TYDP) containing proposals for ecotourism development, investment and management. Optimum use of the wilderness asset is proposed, without exposing the SRF to environmental degradation. This is in line with the policy of the FD and national tourism policy.

It is recommended that a tourism advisory sub-committee be convened as soon as possible to examine and coordinate SRF tourism development responsibilities and the functions of the public and private sectors and parastatal organizations. It should also consider the development of domestic tourism and international tourism, especially hard-currency-earning ecotourism based on the development of the one-week "Bangladesh Module" comprising Dhaka, river journeys and the Sundarbans Jungle Camps and Lodges model, and the validity of the proposed TYDP tourism development model and implementation strategies. Zones, concession arrangements, management agreements, leases, standards, controls and monitoring should be established and domestic tourism facilities should be developed at Mongla and Munshiganj.

Other aspects of tourism requiring priority attention are: training, publicity and marketing, common objectives, commitment and policy, development without destruction, the prioritizing of product development and development plans, tourism targets, regulations and monitoring.

It is recommended that the entire system of apiculture management be reviewed and that arrangements be made to ensure a more equitable access to the resource and better resource management. An extension specialist in apiculture is needed to prepare and distribute information on honey collection and beekeeping to Mowallis and beekeepers. For the training of honey collectors, demonstration apiaries in the Sundarbans should be maintained every year during the honey flow season. A beekeeping manual was prepared, using material from the project's training courses. This should be published in Bangla and distributed among those communities where honey production is beginning. The project procured a complete honey processing unit, which was part of the equipment transferred to the Government at closure. Joint management between the FD and an NGO should be approved to ensure that the unit is used to assist Mowallis and local producers, especially women and other disadvantaged groups.

3.7 RESOURCE UTILIZATION AND COMMUNITY AFFAIRS

Project findings confirmed both the growing number of people, probably at least half a million, who participate to a greater or lesser extent in SRF resource utilization and the need to revise some harvesting and marketing practices which do not satisfy criteria for social justice.

Although many people consider that their food and clothing needs are met, personal security is reported to be the single most important concern for people who access the SRF. This is a matter which should be given high priority in future development planning.

Literacy rates are well below the national average low and, although incomes are above the national average by 45% (Tk 13 000 p.a.) in the border area, it is clear that there should be a more equitable distribution of direct benefits to local communities.

3.8 INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT STRATEGY

It is recommended that better management and development be achieved through constructive arrangements between the FD and other agencies, with the former retaining overall administrative authority. The aims of the IRMP should be carried through with full cross-sectoral technical agreement. The Government should approve the setting-up of the NMC Steering Committee and IMC and confirm the FD as the administrative agency for the SRF. It should also ensure that the scope of the FMP includes the adequate training of FD staff in integrated resource management and that all FRMP inventory results are added to the existing data.

The independent monitoring and evaluation of implementation should be an early priority of the NMC, while the IRMP should be amended on an annual basis in the light of experience and should incorporate a fully-integrated operational plan schedule.

3.9 IMPLEMENTATION, DEVELOPMENT AND INVESTMENT

It is recommended that the institutional reforms and development projects described in the IRMP be implemented with the minimum of delay to halt the deterioration of the SRF resource.

It is also recommended that the TYDP for phased and sustainable improvement to the management of the SRF be implemented as soon as possible. Each project is described in detail in the IRMP and should be given early consideration so that detailed financing and implementation proposals can follow.

Investment proposals leading to follow-on projects and development bring together the different components of the SRF to form a plan for phased and sustainable development. It is recommended that these be given early consideration by MOEF and the FD so that detailed financing and implementation can follow with minimum delay, using the following guidelines for priority requirements:

- the FD - staffing, capacity building, training, equipment and infrastructure;

- the OPSUNIT - integrated research, GIS and a continuous ecosystem survey;

- the Department of Fisheries - post-harvest technology, marketing, extension services and training;

- institutions such as the NMC, IMC, OPSUNIT, BFRI, Khulna University and the Bangladesh Water Development Board - development options, training, equipment and infrastructure;

- wildlife management - Project Tiger, sustained yield harvesting, biodiversity management, captive animal breeding programmes, re-introductions, protected areas and boundary demarcation;

- tourism - developing the TYDP ecotourism Jungle Camps and Lodges model;

- wood resources - silviculture, firewood, harvesting methods, revenue systems;

- non-wood resources - apiculture, golpatta, hantal, shrimps, shells, crabs and others;

- socio-economics - community participation, human development, revolving funds, small-scale credit, employment generation, NGOs, user groups.

Three types of project will require different approaches to implementation. These are projects which concentrate on management within the SRF, which affect both the SRF and the border zone or which have regional or broader international dimensions.

The conservation strategies and developments proposed accord closely with GEF funding criteria, since many of the in situ biodiversity conservation issues connected with the SRF ecosystem have regional and, in some instances, global significance.

3.10 OFFICIAL COMMITMENT

To achieve the objective of sustainable development much will depend upon official commitment, investment and strategic planning and further technical assistance.

An early policy decision by the Government on the recommended reforms would provide a tangible indication of the way forward for implementing integrated management systems for the Sundarbans. It is therefore recommended that the feasibility studies to augment policy decisions be implemented as soon as possible according to the targets of the investment programme outlined in the IRMP.

Appendix 1: PROJECT STAFF

 

Name Function Starting Date Concluding Date

International

Dates of Service
Name Function Starting Date Concluding Date
P. de Vere Moss Officer-in-Charge (OIC)

Tourism and Recreation

April 1994

May 1993

Sept. 1993

June 1995

Aug. 1993

Dec. 1993

Integrated Management Feb. 1994 March 1994
I.G.M. Tantra OIC/Forest Management Specialist June 1992 April 1994
S. Sukardjo Mangrove Ecologist Jan. 1992 Jan. 1993
G. Grepin Mangrove Ecologist June 1994
April 1995
Oct. 1994
June 1995
S. Chantarasri Fisheries Biologist Sept. 1992 April 1994
C.B. Zmarlicki Apiculturist July 1992
Feb. 1994
Dec. 1993
March 1994
Kirti M. Tamang Wildlife Management Specialist Oct. 1992 Aug. 1993
A.M. Mitchell Natural Resources Economist Oct. 1994 May 1995
Integrated Management Specialist May 1995
Aug. 1995
Jun 1995
Sept. 1995
R.S. Larsen Mangrove Forest Products - Wood Aug. 1994 Oct. 1994
Harvesting and Transportation Oct. 1993 Dec. 1993
M.P. Shiva Mangrove Forest Products - Non-Wood June 1994 Aug. 1994
M.S. Pena Fishery Harvesting and Marketing July 1994 Aug. 1994
M. Pushparajah Integrated Management Feb. 1994 March 1994
P.D. Main Marine Workshop Engineer Sept. 1994
Nov. 1994
Nov. 1994
April 1995
J.W. Leech Mangrove Inventory July 1994
Nov. 1994
Feb. 1995
April 1995
Aug. 1994
Dec. 1994
Feb. 1995
April 1995
National
Md. Israil Hydrologist Nov. 1993 June 1994
S.M. Wahid Hydrologist Oct. 1994 May 1995
A. Karim Mangrove Silviculturist Feb. 1993 Feb. 1995
N. Ahmed Statistician Aug. 1994 Feb. 1995
A. Rahman Plant Pathologist Oct. 1993 Jan. 1994
M.R. Bhuiyan Soil Scientist May 1993 May 1994
F.I. Khan Cartographer March 1994 May 1995
M. Rahman Ecologist Sept. 1994 May 1995
S.H. Chowdhury Entomologist Nov. 1994
March 1995
Dec. 1994
May 1995
M. Maniruzzaman Plant Physiologist Nov. 1994
March 1995
Dec. 1994
May 1995
M. Ahsanullah Fishery Harvesting and Marketing Specialist May 1995 June 1995


Appendix 2: FELLOWSHIPS, STUDY TOURS AND WORKSHOPS

A2.1 FELLOWSHIPS

Participants Study Place Date

Tapan Kumar Dey Wildlife management Southern Cross March 1994

University, Australia - March 1995

Akbar Hossain Apiculture Cornell University, October 1993

the USA - October 1994

Abdul Latif Mia Mangrove biology Southern Cross February 1995

University, Australia - ongoing

Yunus Ali Mangrove biology Southern Cross February 1995

University, Australia - February 1995

A2.2 STUDY TOURS

Participants Study Place Date

Six FD staff Mangrove forest management Malaysia 6-15 May 1994

Six FD staff Mangrove forestry and ecotourism India 12-27 Jan. 1995

A2.3 WORKSHOPS

Title Objective Place Date

National Workshop Public seminar on IRMP draft Dhaka 20 Dec. 1995

Workshop with

stakeholders Management of SRF Khulna 21-22 Dec. 1996

National Workshop Public seminar on

project finalization Dhaka 24 Feb. 1998

Appendix 3: MAJOR ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT PROVIDED

Cost

Quantity Item ($ US)

579 Aerial photographs, colour, Sundarbans Reserved Forests 5 045

1 Blotting machine for honey, with container 4 982

1 Cabin cruiser, steel, with engine 6 000

2 000

2 Camera, 202-0323 Pentax LX 35mm SLR 2 230

1 Video camera, Panasonic NV-M3000EN, with accessories 1 099

1 Computer, Future 80386 DX 1 475

3 Computer, Toshiba T2200SX/60 7 054

1 Computer, ST Bravo LC 3 500

2 Computer, Epson PC AX3/25 18 050

1 Computer, Compaq Prolinea MT 4/66 3 875

1 Computer, Compro 486DX 1 112

1 Digitizer, 34360SER 2 139

1 Drying oven, Memmert U.M-200 1 035

1 Engine, Mariner 25hp, L373922 1 641

1 Engine, Mariner 25hp, W25ML 2 000

2 Engine, Mariner 55hp 6 630

2 Engine, Yamaha 55hp 6 736

1 Furnace muffle 2 707

1 Generator, 10kw, with Kubota diesel engine 1 500

4 Generator, Honda EM4500SX 9 204

1 Glass distillation set 1 680

2 GPS, Magellan 2 024

1 Honey blender 1 939

2 Launch, survey vessel 540 000

1 Microscope, Olympus CHS0213E, with accessories 1 472

2 Motor cycle, Suzuki XL125 4 016

1 Photocopier, Canon NP-1215 2 450

1 Photocopier, Ricoh MD:FT-5560 6 194

1 Plotter, 2024M 5 431

1 Printer, Laserjet IV 1 785

1 Set-bag-net 1 220

2 Speed boat, Trishark GRP 11 502

1 Speed boat, GRP 1 712

Cost

Quantity Item ($ US)

1 Stereoscope, mirror, W/3X 1 277

5 Transceiver, HF SSB, MD ICOM IC-M700 11 674

2 Transceiver, VHF FM Mobile Md ICOMIC-V100 3 031

2 UPS-Powertronix, GX-1000 2 400

2 Vehicle, Toyota Corolla 1600 20 024

2 Vehicle, Toyota Land Cruiser 33 710

1 Wax press, hydraulic 2 983

2 Outboard engine, Yamaha E25FK(L) 3 750


Appendix 4: DOCUMENTS PREPARED DURING THE PROJECT

A4.1 FIELD DOCUMENTS

Tourism and recreation. Khulna, Bangladesh. Field Document 1. P. de Vere Moss. February 1994.

Mangrove harvesting and transportation in Sundarbans. Khulna, Bangladesh. Field Document 2. R.S. Larsen. 1994.

Mangrove plant pathology of the Sundarbans Reserved Forest in Bangladesh. Khulna, Bangladesh. Field Document 3. M.A. Rahman. March 1995.

Mangrove forest products (wood). Khulna, Bangladesh. Field Document 4. R.S. Larsen. 1995.

A4.2 TECHNICAL REPORTS

Fishery harvesting and marketing. Khulna, Bangladesh. M. Ahsanullah. 1995.

Draft final report of the soil scientist. Khulna, Bangladesh. M.R. Bhuiyan. August 1994.

Fourth draft report on fisheries resources management for the Sundarbans Reserved Forest. Khulna, Bangladesh. S. Chantarasri. 1994.

Draft report on entomology of the Sundarbans Reserved Forest. Khulna, Bangladesh. S.H. Chowdhury. June 1995.

Draft final report on mangrove ecology. Khulna, Bangladesh. G. Grepin. June 1995.

Draft report on hydrology. Khulna, Bangladesh. M. Israil. 1994.

Draft report on mangrove silviculture. Khulna, Bangladesh. A. Karim. March 1995.

Final report of the mangrove inventory consultant. Khulna, Bangladesh. J.W. Leech. April 1995.

Draft report on consultancy on marine and workshop engineering. Khulna, Bangladesh. P.D. Main. October 1994.

Draft second report. Consultancy on marine and workshop engineering. Khulna, Bangladesh. P.D. Main. January 1995.

Plant physiology for the Sundarbans Reserved Forest. Draft final report. Khulna, Bangladesh. M. Maniruzzaman. August 1995.

Socio-economic studies on the Sundarbans Reserved Forest. Sub-contract report. Khulna, Bangladesh. MARC. 1997.

A case study on integrated management of wood and non-wood resources in the Sundarbans. Khulna, Bangladesh. MARC/DDC. 1997.

A summary of the integrated resource management plan of the Sundarbans Reserved Forest. Dhaka, Bangladesh. A. Mitchell. 1997.

Draft report on natural resource economics. Khulna, Bangladesh. A. Mitchell. June 1995.

Draft report on integrated forestry-wood resource management. Khulna, Bangladesh. A. Mitchell. May 1995.

The integrated resource management plan of the Sundarbans Reserved Forest. Dhaka, Bangladesh. P. De Vere Moss. 1998.

Integrated forest resource development of the Sundarbans Reserved Forest. Khulna, Bangladesh. P. De Vere Moss (ed.). 1994.

Activity report on fishery harvesting and marketing. Khulna, Bangladesh. M.S. Pena. 1994.

Report on the integrated forest resource management plan. Khulna, Bangladesh. M. Pushparajah. March 1994.

Draft final report on mangrove ecology. Khulna, Bangladesh. A.H.M.M. Rahman. July 1995.

Draft revised report on mangrove non-wood forest products. Khulna, Bangladesh. M.M. Shiva. August 1994.

Interim terminal report and final report. Khulna, Bangladesh. S. Sukardjo. 1993.

Wildlife management plan for the Sundarbans Reserved Forest. Khulna, Bangladesh. K.M. Tamang. 1993.

Draft end-of-assignment report. Khulna, Bangladesh. I.G.M. Tantra. April 1994.

Draft final report on hydrological study of the Sundarbans. S.M. Wahid. July 1995.

Draft final report on the development of apiculture. Khulna, Bangladesh. C.B. Zmarlicki. 1994.