Tree diversity and management of Village Common Forests in Bandarban
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Village Common Forests (VCF) are used sustainably for water source conservation, livelihoods and other biomass needs ofethnic communities in the hilly areas of Bangladesh. The current forest degradation rate warrants the importance and potentiality of VCF for sustainable natural resources management. This study was conducted in two VCF of Lama and RumaUpazila at Chimbuk hill range in Bandarban district to explore the indigenous management techniques and tree species diversity. To identify tree species diversity, eighteen plots (9 plots from each VCF) were selected at different hill position (top, middle and bottom) by stratified random sampling method with the dimension of 20m×20m per plot. Shiner-winner and Simpson index were used to calculate the tree species diversity. According to the analyses, it was found that diversity was higher in top of the hill, but species density (stem/ha) was higher in the valley. It was also found that 23000 seedlings/ha regenerated naturally and among the 31 identified families, Moraceae was dominant where the density was 354 stems/ha with basal area 52.63 m2/ha. The dominant species were Schleicher oleosaand Anisopterascaphula and important non-timber species were Melocannabaccifera and Calamusgurubagrowing abundantly in the study areas. It was observed that the VCF were managed by ethnic Mro community with two different committees (customary and executive) who made some rules for natural forest conservation. This management practice is not only conserving hill forests, but also helping to improve degraded forest and create new habitats for biodiversity in the study area.
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