Technical Agreement signed for monitoring Bangladesh’s increasingly vulnerable forests

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
(FAO) and Forest Department of Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change signed a
technical agreement as part of the project called SUFAL (Sustainable Forests and Livelihoods)
for the second cycle of the forest inventory. The inventory was initially implemented in 2016
as part of the regular forest monitoring. The second cycle is proposed to analyze trends and
the need for interventions. The Forest Department will be able to analyze the change in tree
and forest resources, the process of change and affect of people in this change of resources.
Gobinda Roy, Project Director of SUFAL project and Nur Ahmed Khondaker, Assistant FAO
Representative of Bangladesh signed the agreement in the presence of Amir Hosain
Chowdhury, The Chief Conservator of Forests and other officials from the Forest Department
and FAO on Monday in Dhaka.
National Forest Monitoring (NFM) is a process of data collection, analysis and reporting of
forest-related data at regular intervals to allow monitoring of changes over time. Traditionally
and practically speaking, many NFM initiatives have been limited to a National Forest
Inventory (NFI) mostly focused on measuring trees in forested areas without much planning
about how to sustain the process. Modern NFM, however, recognizes the need for long-term
support, and that an NFI can meet the needs of multiple purposes while collecting
information from multiple sources. In particular, information about socio-economic uses,
land cover, and trees outside the forest (TOF) can be integrated into an NFI to provide a much
more comprehensive understanding of the status of natural resources and their management.
Nur Ahmed Khondaker, Assistant FAO Representative (Programme) said “FAO provided
technical support in the first inventory, and this is the second inventory that we will be
implementing together with the Forest Department of MoEFCC through this agreement. Our
efforts will help in better monitoring and managing the forest resources in the future.”
A total of 1 858 sample plots from different forest ecosystems spreading across the country
will be visited by the trained field crews and around 6 400 households will be surveyed to
assess the contribution of the forest resources at the national level, from January to May 2024.

Tree and forest resources in Bangladesh play an important role in the country’s physical and
socio-economic development, maintenance of environmental balance, and sustainable land-
based production system. The role of forests has expanded from the production of timber and
fuel wood to include a range of environmental services including mitigation of the impacts of
climate change. For any country, it is ideal to have 25% of the forest area of the total
landmass. In Bangladesh, the total area of forest land is 15.58% of the country’s area and the
Bangladesh Forest Department manages 1.60 million hectares of forest land.
Regular monitoring of the forest resources plays a vital role in assessing the status of the
forest resources, identifying the gaps and restoration opportunities, understanding the
community linkage with this common resource, and preparing a better management plan for
these resources. The Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has identified
sustainable forest management and conservation as one of the key sectors for delivering the
country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation goals. The Eight Five Year Plan,
Bangladesh Delta Plan, and Plan Perspective 2041 identify the forestry sector as one of the key
sectors for climate change adaptation and maintaining a stable environment.

Press Release

Dhaka, 30 October 2023.