Social forestry in Barind tract to mitigate climate catastrophe


BSS, Rajshahi :

A social forestry project has been providing assistance to around 4,500 people for their capacity building and making them adapt to climate change along with biodiversity protection in the region, including its vast Barind tract for the last couple of years.
Besides, around 3,500 households of ethnic minorities and other less-income groups are making earnings through participation in forestry activities and different income-generating ventures. Department of Social Forestry (DSF) has been implementing the five-year project titled “Environment Protection through Social Forestry in the Rajshahi Barind Tract Region” in 32 upazilas of Rajshahi, Naogaon, Chapainawabganj and Natore districts since November, 2020 last.
Rafiquzzaman Shah, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), told BSS that the main thrust of the project is to conserve and improve biodiversity in Rajshahi barind area through social afforestation. The Taka 35.13-crore project has provision of improving the eco-friendly natural tourist spot of Altadighi National Park at Dhamoirhat Upazila in Naogaon district. Various other infrastructures, including establishing observation tower, seating bench, road, parking area, concrete guide map, footpath, toilet and water supply will be constructed centering the park.
It also has a provision of distributing around six lakh saplings of fruit, forest and herbal trees among poor community people for transplantation free of cost so that they can meet their demands of nutrition and fuel.
Shah said they will generate 600-kilometer strip forest on a participatory basis, 100-hectare woodlot garden and 50-hectare garden with saplings of endangered, and long-life tree species during the project period until June 2025. They will also transplant 40,000 saplings of domestic and ornamental plant species, three lakh palm trees, 5,000 wood-plants, he said.
Role of the palm tree is very important to reduce the rate of lightning that claims the lives of both people and domestic animals every year.
Herbal orchard will be generated with around 1,250 saplings of medicinal plants, Shah said.
Enrichment plantation will be made on 20 hectares of land for development of natural shal forest along with establishing two arboretums with extinct species of trees and generation of herbal orchards with medicinal plants, he said. Footpaths and other essential infrastructures along with seating arrangements will be constructed on the embankments and adjacent areas of Sonadighi and Dibor Dighi to make those attractive to the visitors and tourists.