Open Journal of Forestry
2012. Vol.2, No.3, 121-137
Published Online July 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 121
Management of Village Common Forests in the Chittagong Hill
Tracts of Bangladesh: Historical Background and Current Issues
in Terms of Sustainability
Mohammed Jashimuddin1,2, Makoto Inoue1
1Department of Global Agricultural Sciences, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences,
University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
2Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh
Received December 20th, 2011; revised January 19th, 2012; accepted February 15th, 2012
This study was conducted to investigate the historical management system of village common forests
(VCF) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh and observe the current issues related to their
sustainability. The study on historical context was based on secondary information to establish the link-
ages of VCF development and management in the CHT. Field visits to four VCF in the Bandarban Hill
Districts were also conducted to cross check the information collected from secondary sources to observe
the current status and management pattern of these VCF through semi-structured interviews, group dis-
cussion, key-informant interviews and biodiversity assessment. VCF in the CHT undoubtedly play an
important role in biodiversity conservation and as well as supporting daily necessities of the community
people. We found that VCF still are the source of fuel wood, herbs, roots, bamboo shoots, wild fruits,
vines or leaves for cooking or medicinal use necessary to sustain the lives of the indigenous communities
in the CHT. Field visits to different VCF show that the VCF are necessarily small in size (57 ha) and
around 108 families are dependent on these community managed village forests. A total of 163 plant spe-
cies from 60 families were also recorded from these VCF including some rare plant and animal species
which are not usually found in the reserve forests and the un-classed state forests due to continued defor-
estation and land degradation. However, population pressure combined with improved marketing facilities,
ignorance, over exploitation, personal greed, tenure insecurity, faulty government policies regarding set-
tlement of land and breakdown of the traditional systems exerting pressures on these VCF and the overall
condition of these important biodiversity rich areas are degrading or shrinking in size and number gradu-
ally. Recognizing the traditional and customary resource rights of the indigenous communities in the CHT,
acknowledging resource management system, providing tenure security, encouraging communities
through legal and financial incentives in protecting these VCF or any other state owned forest areas solely
for the conservation of biodiversity following an intensive management plan, resolving long lasting land
related conflicts, and at the same time upholding the spirit of CHT Peace Accord 1997 could be important
policy tools for the sustainability of these VCF in the CHT. Lessons learned from this study will be useful
in formulating effective policies for community based forest management in Bangladesh and other de-
veloping countries.
Keywords: Common Forests; Community-Based Forest Management; Village Common Forests;
Chittagong Hill Tracts; Bangladesh
Forests are the source of livelihoods for hundreds of millions
of people worldwide (CIFOR, 2011) whose beneficial roles are
clearly acknowledged in many ancient and religious texts of the
South Asian countries (Biswas, 1992). During economic crisis
forests provide employment and livelihoods for a large propor-
tion of the population, especially in developing countries, and
often act as an economic safety net in times of need (FRA,
2010). Since time immemorial forest has been used by the tribal
population for hunting ground, food gathering, swidden culti-
vation, grazing ground, charcoal making and minor forest pro-
duce collection including medicinal or herbal produce as major
means of livelihood (Mahapatra, 1997; Roy, 2000; Roy, 2002;
Halim & Roy, 2006; Chowdhury, 2008). In the same way, for-
est has always played a vital role in the economy of the tribes in
Bangladesh, whose religious, cultural and economic activities
depend on it (Rasul, 2007; Miah & Chowdhury, 2004; Chowd-
hury & Miah, 2003; Roy, 2000; Baten et al., 2010). While for-
ests have always played an important role in human history,
their rational management became a priority societal concern in
the 1980s in both developed and developing countries (Biswas,
1992). Faced with increasing rates of deforestation, and the
attendant problems of loss of biodiversity and other socioen-
vironmental costs, the issue of conservation and rational man-
agement of forests became an important item in the agenda of
numerous national and international forums. The issue of cli-
mate change occupies a prominent position in international dis-
cussions, and forests have a particular role to play in the global
response (FAO, 2011). The world is now in a stage of transition,
triggered by environmental crises and vulnerabilities where
maintaining sustainability in all development initiatives is cru-
cial, not only for scientist and decision makers, but for long
term survival of the earth system (Azam & Sarker, 2011). Cur-
rently, the major thrust of the international community is to
maintain biodiversity and forest health, ensure adequate pro-
ductivity and protect the socio-economic functions of forest
resources (Muhammed, Koike, & Haque, 2008). Global initia-
tives for environmental resource management have also led to
widespread programs for the devolution of natural resource
management arrangements to local communities (Baumann,
2002; Behera & Engel, 2006). These initiatives are based on the
belief that community based natural resource management can
build on traditional practices and knowledge in providing sus-
tainable and locally specific management (Baumann, 2002).
Principle 22 of the Rio Declaration at Rio de Janeiro in 1992 on
Environment and Development also emphasized the need to
recognize the role of indigenous people and their traditional
knowledge systems in environmental protection and sustainable
In developing countries, forest and conservation policies
have traditionally been characterized by general distrust of local
people’s ability to manage the natural resources on which they
depend (Heltberg, 2001). However, recent studies show there is
growing evidence that local community-based entities are as
good, and often better, managers of forests than federal, re-
gional and local governments (White & Martin, 2002). Some
study also contradict with Hardin’s (1968) well known postula-
tion, the Tragedy of the Commons, showing examples of suc-
cessful common property regimes where users were able to
restrict access to the resources and establish rules among them-
selves for its sustainable use (Feeny et al., 1990; Berkes et al.,
1989; Rasul & Thapa, 2005; Rasul & Karki, 2006). Realizing
the shortcomings of traditional top-down state forest and bio-
diversity management, developing countries are increasingly
embracing participatory approaches to natural resource man-
agement (Heltberg, 2001). Around the world, there are an in-
creasing number of studies that highlight successes in commu-
nity-based forest management (Stocks, McMahan, & Taber,
2007; Ruiz-Pérez et al., 2005). The collective actions of local
communities have resulted in regeneration of good forest stock
leading to revival of the lost biodiversity (Panigrahi, 2006).
Now, nearly everywhere, both the resources and the common
property systems are facing increasing pressures as populations
grow and the economic and political environment changes. In
some cases common property systems have been legislated out
of existence, and in other cases local management mechanisms
have weakened or disappeared gradually as communities have
evolved and changed (McKean & Ostrom, 1995; Arnold, 1998).
Nevertheless, communal management has remained as impor-
tant option for a great number of communities, and continues to
be a potential strategy for the conservation and sustainable use
of large parts of the world’s forests (Arnold, 1998).
The Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh supports
almost 80% of the country’s total biodiversity (Nishat & Bis-
was, 2005), and is inhibited by people from 12 ethnic groups
(Rasul, 2007; Rasul & Thapa, 2006; Miah & Chowdhury, 2004;
Chowdhury & Miah, 2003; van Schendel, Mey, & Dewan, 2001;
Roy, 2000; Nasreen & Togawa, 2002) who depend largely on
forest commons to fulfill their basic subsistence requirements
and cash income (Rasul & Karki, 2006; Rasul, 2007; Miah &
Chowdhury, 2004). The wide variety of plants and animals of
the hill forests has supported the livelihoods of the hill people
including dwelling, food, clothing, health care, festivals and
other activities. For many centuries, the indigenous communi-
ties have managed the forests in a sustainable manner by keep-
ing the rotation of their shifting cultivation long enough (15 -
20 years) (Rasul & Thapa, 2003; Roy, 1998; Tiwari, 2003).
Population pressure, over cropping and soil erosion, indis-
criminate illegal logging in forest areas and lack of suitable
land, shifting cultivators nowadays are forced to use a short-
ened fallow period (3 - 4 years) (Rasul & Thapa, 2003; Tiwari,
2003; Roy & Halim, 2002; Roy, 2000; Rahman et al., 2007)
resulting in falling yields and drastic loss of forest coverage
leading to land degradation (Nath & Inoue, 2008a; Roy, 1998).
Although indigenous people have widely been blamed for de-
grading South Asia’s mountain forest resources through the
practice of shifting cultivation, yet some studies have revealed
that they used forest resources in a sustainable way for centu-
ries (Roy, 1998, 2002; Roy, 2000) until external intervenetion
(Rasul, 2007; Chakma et al., undated) such as displacement and
deforestation (Tiwari, 2003). Shifting cultivation, which long
provided the subsistence requirements of a large number of
people in the mountains of South and Southeast Asia under a
situation of low population, has been shown to be an environ-
mentally and economically unsuitable practice (Rasul & Thapa,
2003; Rasul, Thapa, & Zoebisch, 2004), and jhumias or jhum-
mas (shifting cultivators) face a food shortage of two to six
months in a year (Nath, Inoue, & Chakma, 2005a; Jamaluddin
et al., 2010; Nath & Inoue 2009; Rasul, Thapa, & Zoebisch,
2004). A rapid rise in population by endemic means and by
in-migration of plains people, the construction of development
infrastructures (e.g., hydroelectric projects), and government
policies on expansion of reserve and protected forests have
made the jhum farming vulnerable (Nath, Inoue, & Hla Myant,
2005b). Efforts have been made throughout the region to re-
place it with more productive and sustainable land-use systems
resulting in mixed experiences. Shifting cultivation has been
almost entirely changed to subsistence type permanent cultiva-
tion integrated with livestock in Nepal, considerable changes
have taken place in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in the
form of semi-commercialized permanent cultivation using ex-
ternal inputs and mechanized means of cultivation (Rasul &
Thapa, 2003; Rasul, Thapa, & Zoebisch, 2004; Rahman, Rah-
man, & Sunderland, 2011). However, shifting cultivation is still
being widely practiced in the mountains of Bangladesh, Laos,
north-eastern India, and outer islands of Indonesia (Rasul &
Thapa, 2003).
Village common forests (VCF), managed by indigenous
communities, are essentially repositories of food, biodiversity
and medicinal plants and their management have set a standard
model for the protection of biodiversity, environment and natu-
ral resources in CHT (Baten et al., 2010). VCF shows a rich
biodiversity compared to government managed reserve forests
in CHT (Baten et al., 2010; Adnan & Dastidar, 2011) although
biodiversity is decreasing day by day (Baten et al., 2010). VCF
are good examples of effective community-based forest man-
agement under certain customary rules and regulations (Baten
et al., 2010; Halim & Roy, 2006) but current trends of forest
degradation do not show any sign of hope for tribal communi-
ties and the environment. These VCF are under severe threat
(Roy & Halim, 2002; Halim & Roy, 2006; Tiwari, 2003; Rah-
man, 2005; Saha, 2010) and in most instances common prop-
erty regimes seem to have been legislated out of existence
(McKean & Ostrom, 1995). As a result VCF are degrading both
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 123
in quantity (number and size) and quality. Many development
projects have been implemented to combat forest loss and land
degradation and also to improve the livelihoods of the hill peo-
ple in CHT involving non-government organizations (NGOs)
and other stakeholders (Nath & Inoue, 2008). But not all initia-
tives have been successful in attaining their target objectives
due to several reasons of which most important are lack of good
governance (Nath & Inoue, 2008b) and also rejection of the
approach by the tribal people (Nishat & Biswas, 2005; Rasul,
2005). Most of these projects were concentrated in swidden
commons and reserve forest areas to rehabilitate degraded for-
ests and forest people but no attempt has yet been taken by any
government authority to address the issue of VCF in CHT.
However, several national and international NGOs are working
to improve the management of VCF in CHT including conser-
vation of biodiversity and improvement of livelihood of the
tribal communities (Halim & Roy, 2006; Saha, 2010; AF, 2010;
Nishat & Biswas, 2005). Acknowledging the enormous social,
economic and ecological benefits of the VCF in CHT this paper
reviews the political and socioeconomic context of historical
establishment and management of VCF, and their role in safe-
guarding forest and biodiversity resources and at the same time
improving the livelihood security of the indigenous communi-
Study Area
The CHT is located in the south-eastern corner of Bangla-
desh between 21˚25N to 23˚45N latitude and 91˚45E to
92˚50E longitude and is covered with lush green hills, innu-
merable jharnas (scattered springs) and hundreds of choras
(mountain streamlets) (Barkat et al., 2009). The territorial
boundary of the region is surrounded by the Arakan (Southern
Chin State) of Myanmar and Mizoram state of India in the east,
Tripura state of India in the north, Chittagong District in the
west and Cox’s Bazar district in the south (Figure 1). Geo-
graphically it is a part of Hill Tripura and Arakan Yoma
branching off from the Himalayan range and continuing to the
south through Assam and Hill Tripura of India to Arakan of
(Chin State)
(Arakan/Rakhine State)
Cox’s Bazar
0 10 20 30 Km
International Boundary
District Boundary
Upazilla Boundary
Upazilla Headquarters
District Headquarters
Major Roads
Minor Roads
Kaotal Lake
Figure 1.
Map of Chittagong hill tracts (source: Adnan and Dastidar, 2011).
Myanmar (Roy, 2002; Rasul, 2007). Geographically and cul-
turally this region is distinct from the rest of the country inhib-
ited by a variety of tribes, of which 12 are recorded namely,
Chakma, Marma, Tripura, Tanchangya, Mro, Bawm, Kheyang,
Pankhu, Chak, Lushai, Khumi and Rakhain (Rasul, 2007; Rasul
& Thapa, 2006; Miah & Chowdhury, 2004; Chowdhury &
Miah, 2003; van Schendel, Mey, & Dewan, 2001; Roy, 2000;
Khan & Khisa, 2000; Nasreen & Togawa, 2002) comprising
around 51% of the total population in CHT (Roy, 2002). How-
ever, 98% of the total ethnic population belongs to Chakma
(43.4%), Marma (25.8% ), Tripura (13.6%), Tanchangy a (9.1%),
Mro (4.5%), and Bawm (1.5%) communities (Jamaluddin et al.,
Each community has its own distinct culture and a unique
way of life (Khan & Khisa, 2000). These people live in forest
frontiers; depend heavily on forest resources for their suste-
nance and wellbeing; mostly practicing shifting cultivation as
the main source of livelihood. With an area of 13,294 km2, the
region covers about one tenth of Bangladesh’s land area (Bar-
kat et al., 2009). Administratively the area is divided into three
hill districts, namely, Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban
and constituting three traditional circles1 of Chakma, Mong and
Bohmong respectively (Roy, 2000; Chowdhury, 2008; IPP,
2011; Adnan & Dastidar, 2011; Halim & Roy, 2006). The to-
pography consists of hills, ravines and cliffs. The hill ranges
rise to an average height of about 600 m (2000 ft.) running in
north-east to south-westerly directions (Roy 2000). An esti-
mated 80% of the CHT is regarded as hilly or mountainous
(Roy, 2002; Mohiuddin & Alam, 2011) with steep slopes that
combined with heavy seasonal rainfall (2032 - 3810 mm·yr1)
impose limits on arable agriculture, 73% of the land suitable
only for forests, 15% for horticulture and only 3% for intensive
terraced agriculture in the CHT (Rasul, 2007).
Data and Methods
The study on historical context was based mainly on second-
dary information collected from different journal articles, books,
reports and related web information to establish the linkages of
VCF development and management. The role of NGOs was
also tried to find out in maintaining these VCF. Field visits to a
number of VCF in Bandarban hill district, namely, Korang
para reserve of Ruma Upazila, Kapru para reserve of Lama
Upazila and, Sadar para reserve and Tulachari para reserve of
Rowangchari Upazila were also made to cross check the infor-
mation collected from secondary sources to observe the current
status and management pattern of these VCF. The field study
was conducted during November 2010 to January 2011 using
semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions, key-in-
formant interviews, uncontrolled observations and village
walks. Informal discussion with community people and village
karbari2 were also conducted and an assessment of biodiversity
was made by walking through the VCF and indentifying the
plant species with a group of experts including community
people and in case there was confusion in identifying any spe-
cies then sample was collected and herbarium sheet was made
to identify it later. For animal species the community people
were interviewed to name the wildlife they usually observe in
the forests and also to name some wildlife they have seen be-
fore where the aged people were given preference as they are
more knowledgeable.
Village common forests are natural forests other than the
government reserve forests around the households of the in-
digenous communities and is managed to fulfill their daily de-
mands (Baten et al., 2010; Roy, 2000). VCF refers to any for-
ested area collectively used by village communities that is re-
garded as common property, irrespective of its legal classifica-
tion (Roy & Halim, 2002). According to customary practice,
each village identified an area within its territorial and jurisdic-
tional authority reserved solely for use and extraction relating
to domestic purposes (Roy, 2000). Historically, indigenous
people practice jhum (shifting cultivation) and traditionally
keep a patch of forest adjacent to their village, known as a VCF,
which is never used for jhum (Islam et al., 2009). They do so
mainly for sustained flow of water in the streams but they also
get timber, bamboo and other minor forest products from such
forests for household use (AF, 2010).
VCF are commonly owned and managed by the community
as a whole responsible for its upkeep and conservation which
were later known as the mauza reserves or service forests (Ti-
wari, 2003; Roy, 2000; Saha, 2010). These forests have also got
different names in different tribal communities, like, Jar to the
Chakma, Kalittra to the Tripura, Bam or Thoikhuong to the
Marma, Reserve to Tanchangya, Bam to Khyiang, Kua Bam to
Mru, Kua Reserve to the Bom, Kua Service to the Pankhua,
Service to Lusai, Jhumio Pui to Khumi and Thingdhing Aka
Ara to the Chaks (Saha, 2010). VCF are mostly small, average-
ing 20 to 120 hectares in size and consisting of naturally grown
or regenerated vegetation (Islam et al., 2009; Halim et al., 2007;
Saha, 2010). There is controversy about the total number of
VCF but it may be around 700 - 800 in CHT (Saha, 2010). VCF
play important role in conserving forest resources as well as
fulfilling other demands of the forest dependent communities.
Some VCF consist predominantly of bamboo brakes, some
contain a more heterogeneous stand of flora and fauna, many
also contain herbaria for the village concerned, which the local
vaidays3 use to prepare their traditional medicine, while others
are regarded as sacred (Roy & Halim, 2002). Use and extrac-
tion of produce from VCF was need-based with each person
taking only what was required, in order not to deplete the natu-
ral resources of this forest which existed for the benefit of the
entire community (Roy, 2000; Saha, 2010). This system still
continues today in some villages and in most cases, VCF are
the only remaining natural forests in the surrounding area (Ti-
wari, 2003; Roy, 2000) and considered as the depository of
traditional knowledge (Saha, 2010).
Historical Context of Village Common Forests
Common property systems have historically governed the
management of substantial parts of the world’s forest resources
that were often subject to some form of effective local control
to prevent their overuse. Usually, common property regimes
1Circle is an administrative and revenue unit headed by circle chief (raja)
who is responsible for the administration of tribal justice and customary
laws of the hill people.
2Karbari is a village head or elder, always male; an office that is largely
hereditary, traditionally nominated by the villagers and formally appointed
by the chiefs (Roy, 2004).
3Vaidays are traditional village shamans or medicine men, also known as
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
have evolved where the demand on a resource has become too
great to tolerate open access use by any longer, so that property
rights in the resource have to be created, and where other fac-
tors make it impossible or undesirable to allocate the resource
to individuals (Arnold, 1998). The use of common land by the
tribal people is not new in the region because, since the British
colonial period, the indigenous villagers who lost their access to
the former common land eventually moved on to the state
owned reserve forests. The result was an innovation based upon
their traditional resource management patterns to retain forest
cover for long-term use. This gave birth to the village common
forests of today that are not allowed to be cultivated for jhum or
otherwise on the strength of sanctions and religious taboos
(Roy & Halim, 2002), and which are directly managed, pro-
tected and used by indigenous village communities (Halim &
Roy, 2006; Rahman, 2005) during the first quarter of 20th cen-
tury (Baten et al., 2010). For example the Sadar para reserve in
Rowangchari Upzila of Bandarban hill district has been estab-
lished in 1920 (Table 1).
According to the customs of the people of CHT communities,
forest and lands were the common property of a specific clan or
village community (Chakma et al., undated). The concept of
land rights (including forest lands) and individual ownership
was governed by the prevailing customs of the respective com-
munities. These were all oral traditions rather than written laws
(Adnan & Dastidar, 2011; Lasimbang, 2006) institutionalized
in the form of social codes or norms mutually upheld by the
community. Usually, common rights refer to the generic rights
of the hill people through customs and practices that include
entitlement to jhum, hunting and gathering, livestock grazing,
village common forests, and various other land and forest-based
extraction activities (Adnan & Dastidar, 2011; Chakma et al.,
undated). Circle chiefs, mauza4 headmen and karbaris regulate
these rights and distribute both jhum and plough lands among
the hill peoples for cultivation. Some of these common rights
are partially acknowledged and regulated but very few are
clearly defined. The right to occupy homestead land in rural
areas (Rule 50, CHT Regulation I of 1900) without formal set-
tlement and the right to use timber, bamboo, and other minor
forest produce for bona fide domestic purposes (Rule 41A,
CHT Regulation I of 1900; Forest Act 1927) are reserved ex-
clusively for indigenous people (Roy, 2004). The individual
rights give individuals entitlement over clearly demarcated land
whether as freehold (rights with perpetuity) or leased (rights for
a specific period) that includes private forests, commercial plots
and plough lands. The significant aspect of British colonial land
policy in CHT was that land could neither be sold nor pur-
chased, and was reserved for the hill people or the government
(Chowdhury, 2008). In contrary, Pakistan period can be char-
acterized by intensification of resource use for industrial pur-
pose and Bangladesh period by large scale migration of low-
land people to CHT that significantly affected the access and
use of forests resources (Rasul & Thapa, 2005) creating brutal
conflicts between tribal communities and settlers, and more
than two decades of insurgency which is theoretically ended up
by signing a peace accord in 1997 between the Government of
Bangladesh and Jana Sanghati Samiti (JSS), an organization
representing indigenous people of the CHT.
Table 1.
Description of village common forests.
Upazila Village
Ethnicity No. of
households Area
(ha) Year of
establi shment
Ruma Korang paraMro 27 40 Unknown
Lama Kapru paraMro 38 80 Unknown
RowangchariSadar paraMarma 330 100 1920
Rowangchari Tulachari
para Marma 35 8 Unknown
Average 107.5 57 -
Common property regime can emerge as a way to secure
control over a territory or a resource, to exclude outsiders or to
regulate the individual use by members of the community (Ar-
nold, 1998). As such, the birth of community-managed VCF in
the CHT is a direct result of resource constraints caused by
deforestation and the prevention of entry into and use the re-
sources of the newly acquired reserved forests (Halim & Roy,
2006; Baten, et al., 2010). According to Nayak (2002) the
negative impacts of forest degradation on the local agriculture
and animal husbandry practices had completely traumatized the
forest based livelihood of many for which people started travel-
ling to far off forest areas for need fulfillment resulting in con-
flicts with other communities and harassment by the govern-
ment forest department. On the other hand ecological effects of
forest degradation i.e. loss of soil fertility, erratic rainfall and
drying-up of streams, have also played a significant role in
inducing forest protection by local communities. In such cir-
cumstances many communities gradually turned to their adja-
cent degraded forests and initiated protection measures perhaps
as a last resort to restore back the forests and local livelihoods.
Gradually, such local efforts turned the negative impacts of
forest degradation into initiating factors for community-based
forest management (CFM) in India that resulted from a desire
to save forest patches for the posterity and also quite strikingly
from an urge to assert the villagers control over the forest patch
otherwise open to all (Panigrahi, 2006). Local communities
joined hands in bringing forestlands under their de facto (cus-
tomary ownership without any legal right) control. Once pro-
tection by a few started, communities were quick to learn from
each other and soon large tracts of forestland came under
community protection and management (Nayak, 2002). CFM
initiatives has brought recognition and pride to many villages
and has been a strong driving force motivating other villages in
the neighborhood to undertake protection and regeneration of
degraded forest patches and evolved as a socio-cultural move-
ment that is not restricted to forest protection only. Experiences
from India suggest that in certain areas, communities engaged
in forest protection christened themselves as “forest caste” to
strengthen the relationship existing with forest, in many cases
also helped the local communities in establishing new relation-
ships through marriage, some communities prohibited marriage
of their children in non-protecting villages, and an exciting
practice is followed in some CFM villages where every newly
wedded couple during marriage goes for planting trees to mark
the beginning of their conjugal life (Panigrahi, 2006).
4Mauza is the smallest administrative unit for revenue collection in the CHT
containing several villages or hamlets with an average size of 10 miles
square and head of the mauza is responsible for the administration of reve-
nue, land, and tribal justice (Roy, 2004).
Reviews of related literatures suggest that the development
of VCF in the CHT by the tribal communities started due to
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 125
some socio-political and administrative reasons. First, the na-
tionalization of forests and declaring one fourth of the CHT
land as reserve forests by the British colonial government de-
nying the customary rights of the indigenous people have re-
stricted most of the open access resources to the tribal commu-
nities and eventually opening the forest for commercial exploit-
tation where the government encouraged the extraction of forest
products and invited traders to extract timber from forests (Ra-
sul, 2005; Rasul & Thapa, 2005). Before the nationalization,
the community had the responsibility to conserve forest re-
sources within their jurisdiction where there were community
sanctions and respected rules and norms prevented forest en-
croachment by outsiders (Rasul & Karki, 2006; Thapa & Rasul,
2006). Second, entrusting the management of forests to cen-
tralized government departments that created conflicts regard-
ing resource access and use among government authorities and
tribal communities. Local forests were marked, reserved and
subsequently plundered for commercial purposes (Nayak,
2002). The Forest Department, the only authority to manage
state forests, also failed to assert effective control over forest
resources owing to the remoteness of the area, difficult terrain
and inadequate and inefficient human and logistical resources.
Third, weakening of the traditional institutions (Rasul & Karki,
2006; Rasul, 2005, 2007; Rasul & Thapa, 2005; Chowdhury,
2008) through appointment of mauza headmen by the Deputy
Commissioner based on the nomination from concerned circle
chiefs replacing the traditional democratic local governance
system of selecting leaders by community people themselves.
As the headmen were appointed by the DC, they were not ac-
countable to the local people who they represented. Instead,
they were accountable to the circle chiefs and the DC. This
change weakened the traditional institutions that controlled the
use of forest resources by outsiders, giving outsiders open ac-
cess to forest resources and affecting the management of CHT
forest resources. As a result, the abolition of the customary
resource management system led to the indiscriminate exploita-
tion of forest resources (Thapa & Rasul, 2006). Fourth, the
widespread forest degradation due to population pressure,
commercial forest exploitation by both state sponsored and
illegal logging, intensified shifting cultivation through shorten-
ing of fallow periods (Nath & Inoue, 2008; Nath, Inoue, & Hla
Myant, 2005b; Roy, 2000; Banerjee, 2000) as a result of re-
striction to access reserve forests, policies declaring reserve
forests (Banerjee, 2000) that displaced most of the indigenous
peoples and thereby converting common property resources to
open access resources, introduction of sedentary agriculture,
monoculture teak plantations by clearing forest patches, de-
creased access to land due to Kaptai Dam and resultant internal
displacement, development of road networks and market facili-
ties that encouraged more resource destruction, have increased
competition among and within the communities so that the
indigenous peoples suffered shortage of forest resources that in
turn made them to go far off the forests requiring more time and
sometimes creating conflicts between communities and gov-
ernment authorities (Nayak, 2002). Fifth, the need to secure
continued water supply for the community in addition to forest
resources (Baten et al., 2010; AF, 2010) as they realized from
experience that forests with trees especially the indigenous ones
are the source of water in the streams and creeks. Finally, the
acknowledgement of mauza reserves or community based for-
ests in the CHT Regulation 1900 and Indian Forest Act 1927
have also paved the way to start and manage village common
forests by the communities. In response to these situations in-
digenous communities have considered VCF as security of
rights and daily necessities. However it is the widespread de-
forestation both at state and individual levels that paved the
way for the development of VCF in CHT. Tenure insecurity has
acted as incentive to manage forest for long term use and in
some cases as disincentive to overuse of resources. Again re-
moteness of the villages from market places may also be con-
sidered as a factor for development of VCF or collaborative
management to secure daily necessities from the forests.
Socio-Political and Administr a tive Context
The topic of natural resource management in the CHT is
complex, multidimensional, and incredibly political (Tiwari,
2003). The tribal communities have inhabited this area for hun-
dreds of years without degrading physical environment and
depleting natural resources (Uddin, 2008). The CHT of Bang-
ladesh underwent essentially the same socio-political and his-
torical processes as many other countries in the region and had
very similar experiences in forest management (Rasul, 2007).
Bangladesh evolved as a sovereign independent nation through
a long process of political and administrative changes extending
over a period of several centuries. As part of greater India,
Bangladesh was colonized by Britain from 1760 until 1947.
Following independence, it became a part of Pakistan and re-
mained so until its emergence as an independent nation in 1971.
Policies and laws adopted during different politico-administra-
tive periods have had a direct bearing on forest commons in the
CHT. The CHT administrative system includes both formal
government institutions and the semi-formalized, traditional
offices of the three circle chiefs (Roy, 2000; Chowdhury, 2008;
IPP, 2011; Halim & Roy, 2006; Roy, 2004), 380 mauza head-
men (Roy, 2004; Halim & Roy, 2006), and karbari in each
community village or para. The CHT legal system incorporates
both codified and customary laws. Therefore, the rights over
forests and other land may not always be clearly defined as a
result of the existence of overlapping rights to the same parcel
of land. There are also conflicting provisions in the various
laws, including the British promulgated CHT Regulations of
1900 on the one hand and the Hill District (Local Government)
Council Acts of 1989 and the CHT Regional Council Act of
1998 on the other (Roy, 2002). The existence of mauza reserves
has been acknowledged in the CHT Regulation of 1900 (Rule
41A), the main legal instrument for the administration of the
region and the primary responsibility to protect these forests is
vested upon the mauza headmen (Halim et al., 2007; Halim &
Roy, 2006; Roy, 2000). A number of ancillary executive orders
of the district administrations were passed during the British
period and the Pakistan period, but have otherwise suffered
from policy neglect since then (Halim et al., 2007; Halim &
Roy, 2006). Although the law does recognize the existence of
VCF, neither the law concerned, nor subsidiary or ancillary
rules, regulations or guidelines expressly provide for any sys-
tem of titling or registration or other safeguards against private-
zation, alienation or permanent and detrimental change in re-
source use patterns (Halim & Roy, 2006). This responsibility
would appear to rest upon the mauza headman as no land grants
are generally made without his advice in the CHT, although
there are some notable exceptions (Halim et al., 2007).
Various policies and programs have been implemented in the
Chittagong Hill Tracts from the time of British colonial period
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
to the present national administration. The forest policies im-
plemented in CHT in the name of nationalization of forests by
declaring one-fourth of the land area as reserved forests high-
lights a systematic pattern of violations of the traditional land
and resources rights of the indigenous people that trusted to
strengthen overall national development, with little regard for
their impact on the indigenous people and traditional way of
life (Roy, 2000; Ali & Tsuchiya, 2002). These policies had a
major impact on the basic social, cultural and economic rights
of the indigenous people. The procedure of creating reserve
forests includes a concomitant loss of land and related resource
rights for the hill people, where no consideration was given to
their needs or to their ancestral rights to the forests and their
produce, many of which were recognized by the CHT regula-
tion of 1900, without paying any compensation; considerable
decrease of lands remaining open and accessible to the indige-
nous people for their livings; curtailment of subsistence active-
ties due to prohibited activities in the reserved forests and dif-
ficulty in seeking alternative avenues for income generation due
to restriction on hunting and gathering forest products leading
the indigenous people towards no alternative but to enter the
reserved forests for use and extraction to meet their daily re-
quirements and in some cases for commercial purposes; hun-
dreds of indigenous people have been, and still are, internally
displaced and many indigenous people have become homeless
in addition to having no resource base for their economic ac-
tivities; and finally the most worst impact to be the criminalize-
tion of the principal economic activities of indigenous people
like, trapping or hunting, gathering forest products, and jhum-
ing (Roy, 2000). The problem has become more acute after the
construction of the Kaptai Dam in 1960 that displaced some
100,000 inhabitants; land dispossession at the hands of gov-
ernment-sponsored Bengali settlers; acquisition of land for new
“reserved forests”; allotment of customarily-owned lands to
non-resident entrepreneurs for rubber and other commercial
plantations; and “privatization” of former commonly-held areas
(Roy, Hossain, & Guhathakurta, 2007). To be honest the tribal
people have experienced to be alienated from their land through
centuries, and are still struggling to get recognition of their
right to access and use their ancestral land (Mjanger, 2008).
The combined effect of all these policies and administrative
systems have initiated the forest resource management at the
community level based on traditional knowledge and innova-
tion to secure their daily necessities from the forests and as a
result village common forests have been established around the
homesteads or near the villages of the indigenous communities
in the CHT.
Management of Village Common Forests
Indigenous communities worldwide are generally very know-
ledgeable about the natural resources in their surroundings on
which they depend intimately (Khisa, 1998) and have demon-
strated their skills in forest management in the CHT (Roy,
2002). Indigenous knowledge, innovations and practices on
natural resource management are little understood by outsiders
yet are highly complex systems, closely interlinked with other
indigenous systems that incorporate a keen awareness of the
environment, an appreciation for conservation and continuity,
encourage sustainable innovation, and place the long-term well
being of the community as the focus of all activities (Lasim-
bang, 2006). The indigenous communities are managing VCF
around their homesteads with the objective to maintain tree
cover and protect the environment in the face of rapid defores-
tation, to maintain a diversity of plants and animals (including
herbs and plants used in herbal medicine), to sustain a supply of
wood and bamboo required for house construction and fuel
consumption, to reduce the pressure on government managed
reserved forest for forest products, and finally to ensure the
source of water by keeping annual and perennial springs and
small rivers into sustained flow and secure sustainable access to
livelihood resources (Baten et al., 2010; Islam et al., 2009; AF,
2010). Women are the primary users of these forests, as the
forests are used primarily to meet household needs (Tiwari,
The VCF are managed, protected and utilized by indigenous
village communities under the leadership of the mauza head-
man or village karbaris or by educational or religious institu-
tions, or a committee formed by leaders from one or more vil-
lages (Halim et al., 2007; Islam et al., 2009; Tiwari, 2003; Roy,
2000; AF, 2010). Use and extraction was need-based with each
person taking only what was required, in order not to deplete
the natural resources of this forest which existed for the benefit
of the entire community (Tiwari, 2003; Roy, 2000; Saha, 2010;
Islam et al., 2009). There are no written rules for VCF man-
agement but there are traditional rules which differ with differ-
ent ethnic communities and also with local condition (Baten et
al., 2010; Tiwari, 2003, Islam et al., 2009). However, some
rules are common for all the VCF that are strictly followed with
the provision of penalties or sometimes exclusion from the clan
in case of rules violation such as, Jhuming and hunting are
strictly prohibited, all sorts of fireworks and unpermitted access
are restricted in the VCF area, a penalty of Tk. 50 for each
bamboo has to be paid if anybody cuts bamboo without permis-
sion, immature bamboo extraction is restricted, harvesting of
bamboo is generally done every 2 to 3 years, new plantation
should be done by the members every year, the executive
committee will approve the requirement of forest resources in
general meeting before starting extraction, commercial selling
is forbidden unless the committee decides to spend the money
out of the selling of forest products in community development
(developing educational or religious institutions, roads, etc.),
committee can also permit outside villagers to collect forest
resources in case of emergencies (Baten et al., 2010; Tiwari,
2003; Roy, 2000; Saha, 2010). Sometimes mature trees and
bamboos are sold to create a fund to be used in disaster. Lim-
ited collection of resources at limited time period is also al-
lowed as custom and there is an option to harvest trees or bam-
boos from the VCF with the prior permission from the man-
agement committee for building or repairing houses, funeral of
deceased or any other need. So the management of VCF in the
CHT is concentrated on the regulation of access to and use of
the resources, keeping the forests undisturbed for long time
period and protecting the forests from illegal harvesting by the
concerned community members including patrolling the forests
on rotation. Village Common Forests thus managed by indige-
nous communities have set a standard model for the protection
of biodiversity, environment and natural resources in CHT
(Baten et al., 2010) and as such the indigenous people have
proved themselves to be efficient managers and custodians of
forests in CHT and elsewhere (Halima & Roy, 2006; Nayak,
2000). In fact, the indigenous peoples of CHT have a rich tradi-
tion of maintaining and protecting their naturally grown or
regenerated village forest commons that might be a cause for
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 127
shame for many forest officials with their formal knowledge on
forestry and biodiversity (Roy, 2004) as there is growing rec-
ognition that governments and public forest management agen-
cies often have not been good stewards of public forests (White
& Martin, 2002).
Current State of VCF
The indigenous communities are living in the CHT for hun-
dreds of years without degrading physical environment and
depleting natural resources. The way they exploited and man-
aged their environment and natural resources are quite sustain-
able (Uddin, 2008) based on local traditional knowledge and
custom. According to Panigrahi (2006), the success of commu-
nity based institutional arrangement (the management commit-
tee formed by the community, and the community regulations
and sanctions) lay on the inherent processes, which are democ-
ratic, flexible and have emerged responding to local situations
and context. Local management institutions play a positive role
in the area, but their impact appears insufficient to safeguard
forests and commons from continued degradation (Heltberg,
2001). Over the last 2 - 3 decades, the military forces, traders,
government officials, and settlers have devastated the CHT rain
forests through indiscriminate illegal logging, excessive timber,
fire-wood and bamboo extraction for commercial and industrial
purposes and displaced most of the tribal people both internally
and externally demolishing their ancestral homeland and the
remaining rain forests including the village common forests in
search of rich natural resources using “national development
and security” as an excuse (Uddin, 2008). At the same time
promotion of market oriented horticulture and tree plantations
also led to the conversion of many VCF into orchards and
plantations (Roy & Halim, 2002). Indigenous communities face
continuous threat of losing the VCF adjoining their homesteads
because they do not have formal title (or common ownership)
over them that again has been deepened by recent attempts of
the Forest Department to acquire VCF for afforestation projects
by claiming that these are mere “jungles” situated on state lands
(Adnan & Dastidar, 2011). Another threat to the VCF arises
from privatization by elite tribal people, including concerned
mauza headmen and village karbaris in some instances who are
concerned to convert these common forests into homesteads,
orchards and other forms of private property, often with formal
settlements and registered titles. This has been motivated from
enhancing subsistence production to maximizing profit through
market based commercial production that has been heightened
by the lack of awareness of land rights among their fellows as
well as the erosion of traditional egalitarian and redistributive
norms among the indigenous communities of the CHT (Adnan
& Dastidar, 2011).
The conflicts between the tribal people and the settlers in the
CHT has long been a cause of violation of human rights of the
inhabitants, obstruction in the path of sustainable development,
as well as ecosystem destruction, loss of biodiversity and natu-
ral resource degradation (Rahman, 2005). During the counter-
insurgency, the security forces often evicted tribal people from
their lands to set up their own camps and installations without
following due state acquisition procedures and also acted simi-
larly to seize hilly lands for housing Bengali settlers brought in
through the transmigration programme, disregarding the pre-
existing land rights of the indigenous people (Adnan & Dasti-
dar, 2011). In these situations the VCF in the CHT are gradu-
ally degrading in quantity and quality which were managed as
collective action by the communities not for large timber reve-
nues but for ensuring day-to-day requirements that does not
necessarily depend on land tenure, at least in the short run
(Talwar & Ghate, 2003). But in the changed circumstances of
the present day, common village forests are under threat pri-
marily due to tenure insecurity resulting from population pres-
sure and consequent growth of village settlements, scarcity of
lands, spread of sedentary agriculture, horticulture and tree
plantations, and frequent in-migration and out-migration, lack
of institutional support and other socio-political reasons (Roy &
Halim, 2002; Tiwari, 2003; Rahman, 2005; Saha, 2010; Halim
& Roy, 2006) as insecure property rights are one of the main
causes of deforestation in contrast to secure tenure that result in
improved management and conservation of forests (Sunderlin,
Hatcher, & Liddle, 2008). We observed that, the VCF of Kapru
para, situated down slope of the right side of Bandarban-
Thanchi road and opposite from Nilgiri Parjaton Complex, is
very rich in biodiversity with naturally grown vegetation and
wildlife species having enormous potential for tourism and
nature walk combined with rich cultural tradition of the Mro
community. Community people were found very conservative
to let outsiders know about their culture or natural resource
management as they have fear of alienation from their land in
the name of development project by the government or private
initiatives. But if the government secures their rights on the
forests then community people can easily utilize the potential of
this forest for tourism and can earn alternative income that will
surely reduce their dependency on forest resources and con-
serve the biodiversity of the region.
The policy neglect since the 1960s has also led to further di-
minishment of the number and extent of VCF (Halim & Roy,
2006). According to Islam et al. (2009) communities which are
not permanently settled tend to overexploit the VCF making
these community forests unsustainable. Tenure security also has
a strong role in the structure of incentives that motivate protect-
tion or destruction of forests as it is often the foundation for the
social identity, personal security, and cultural survival of in-
digenous peoples and ethnic minorities (Sunderlin, Hatcher, &
Liddle, 2008). Halim et al. (undated) found that reserve forests
that are located in remote areas are also getting denuded
quickly with little tendency to plant trees due to insecurity of
tenure where the indigenous communities have become de facto
managers of the forests in absence of control by the Forest De-
partment and managed the forests sustainably for long. Tenure
insecurity acted as incentive to manage VCF in order to estab-
lish right over the resources and restrict outsiders’ access and
also secure daily necessity from the forests in the face of in-
creased competition among communities due to nationalization
of forests, policy recognition, population pressure and shortage
of forest resources. Again, tenure insecurity also acted as dis-
incentive to deplete and degrade VCF due to weakening of the
traditional system, government sponsored settlement programs,
development of road networks and market facilities, long in-
surgency period as a result of conflicts between military and
indigenous people, privatization and commercial plantations.
Field visits to different VCF in Bandarban hill district and
discussion with the community peoples and village leaders
show that the VCF are necessarily small in size (on average 57
ha) and on average a total of 108 families are dependent on
these community managed village forests (Table 1). These
forests are managed by the community people usually by a
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
committee formed from the community people involving
mauza headmen and/or village karbari. Village common forests
in Kafru para and Korang para are especially maintained as a
source of safe drinking water for the community people. They
do not cut trees or bamboos from the reserve. But if some one
cut or extract any resource without prior permission of such
committee or steal any resource from the reserve then he is
fined for his action. In Sadar para reserve the management
committee selects 30 people each month from the community
to go into the reserve and clearing the jungle or weeds to give
new tree or bamboo regeneration better chance to grow freely.
Every week they go inside the reserve in small group on rota-
tional basis and patrol the reserve to protect it from any sort of
theft or stealing or illegal cutting of trees or bamboos (as in the
case of Sadar para reserve which is situated at 4 - 5 km distant
from their village). According to the community people in Sa-
dar para reserve they will decide after 20 years whether to cut
trees or bamboos from the reserve. However poor people will
be allowed to extract any resource from the reserve to meet
their emergency needs if they seek permission from the man-
agement committee. The community people usually live on
jhum, sedentary agriculture (as in the case of Tulachari para),
day labor or small business and also collect fuel wood and ba-
nana for own consumption or sale from the nearby forest areas
of their reserves. They, especially the women, also collect dif-
ferent types of herbs, vines or leaves from the VCF, nearby
forests or jhum fields for cooking purposes or to use as medi-
cine. Both male and female members of the family work in the
jhum field or as paid labor. However there is marked differ-
ences in wage rates. Women usually get less wage rate (US$
1.50 per day) compared to their male counterpart (US$ 3.00 per
day) for the same work load as mentioned by the community
people which make the women as disadvantaged group of the
Forest survey shows that these VCF still harbor huge plant
diversity including some rare plants and animals as these are
maintained as para reserves for long and biodiversity are oc-
curring naturally. The VCF can easily be identified with their
thick canopy coverage consisting of naturally grown bigger
trees, bamboos, and other plant species in or around the tribal
villages. A total of 163 plant species from 60 families has been
recorded during the field visits (Table 2) which is more or less
similar to the findings of Baten et al. (2010) who found 173
floral species from the VCF in CHT. Important plant species
found are Dipterocarpus turbinatus (Garjan), Swintonia flori-
bunda (Civit), Artocarpus chaplasha (Chapalish), Ficus lepi-
dosa (Dumur), Ficus semicordata (Jaganna gula), Albizia spp.
(Koroi), Podocarpus nerifolia (Banspata), Michelia champaca
(Champa), Cedrela toona (Toon), Duabanga grandiflora (Ban-
darhola), Trewia polycarpa (Pitali), Anogeissus acuminate
(Fuljhumuri), Mesua nagassarium (Nagesswar), Stereospermum
spp. (Dharmara), Hydnocarpus kurzii (Chal mugra), Castanop-
sis tribuloides (Batna), Aphanamixis polystachya (Pitraj), La-
gerstroemia speciosa (Jarul), Terminalia belerica (Bohera),
Terminalia chebula (Haritaki), Phyllanthus emblica (Amloki),
Mangifera sylvatica (Uriam), Syzygium cumini (Kalo Jam),
Melocanna baccifera (Muli bans), Bambusa tulda (Mitinga
bans), Bambusa teres (Pharua bans), Dendrocalamus longis-
pathus (Ora bans), Calamus latifolius (Kerak bet), Calamus
tenuis (Jali bet) and Calamus guruba (sundi bet), Thysanola-
cana maxima (Fuljaru), Imperata arundinaceae (Shan grass),
Pteris cretica (Dheki shak), Paederia foetida (Gandha vaduli),
The forests are also rich in wildlife biodiversity including
Macaca mulatta (Rhesus Macaque), Sus scrofa (Wild Pig),
Muntiacus muntiak (Barking deer), Panthera pardus (Indian
Leopard), Felis chaus (Jungle cat), Hystrix indica (Porcupine),
Ophiophagus hannah (King Cobra), Python reticulata (Python),
Caloted versicolor (Monitor Lizard), Varanus begalansis (Ben-
gal Monitor Lizard), Suncus murinus (Grey Musk Shrew), He-
logale parvula (Common Mongoose), Viverra zibetha (Civet),
Lutra lutra (Common otter), Vulpes bengalensis (Bengal fox),
Vulpes vulpes (Red fox) Pteropus giganteus (Indian flying fox),
Gallus gallus (Red jungle fowl), Elanus caeruleus (Black-
winged Kite), Lophura leucomelanos (Mathura), Bubo spp.
(Owl), Lonchura spp. (Munia), and other common birds, mam-
mals and reptiles. According to the community people, even 40
years ago, the whole area was one of the deepest forests famous
for diversified flora and wildlife species. The area was once
home of Elephas maximus (Elephant), Panthera spp. (Tiger),
Rhinoceros unicornis (Great one-horned rhinoceros), Rhinoc-
eros sondiacus (Javan rhinoceros), Didermocerus sumatrensis
(Asiatic two-horned rhinoceros), Ursus thibetanus (Asian black
bear), Boselaphus tragocamelus (Nilgai), Bubalus bubalis
(Wild buffalo), Bos frontalis (Gayal), Bos gaurus (Gaur), Bos
banteng (Banteng), Cervus unicolor (Sambhar), Axis porcinus
(Hog deer), Canis lupus (Marbled cat), Rhodonessa caryophyl-
lacea (Pink headed duck), Pavo cristatus (Common peafowl),
Polyplectron bicalcaratum (Peacock-pheasant), Accipiter spp.
(Hawk), Aquila spp. (Eagle), etc.
We found that VCF still are the source of fuel wood, herbs,
roots, bamboo shoots, wild fruits, vines or leaves for cooking or
medicinal use necessary to sustain the lives of the indigenous
communities in the CHT. VCF are also very rich in biodiversity
harboring rare plant and animal species which are not usually
found in the reserve forests (administered by the Forest De-
partment) and the un-classed state forests (also known as swid-
den commons, administered by the Deputy Commissioner) due
to continued deforestation and land degradation. The indige-
nous communities are the important stakes of this rich bio-
cultural system that have survived many centuries as model
system of natural resource management and socio-cultural har-
mony with nature. This was possible by their traditional institu-
tions governing the natural resources as common property sys-
tem based on social, cultural and religious beliefs. Traditionally
the indigenous communities are smaller in size (generally less
than 100 families) having strong social, cultural or religious
kinship and are organized by the village elders or leaders, used
to be selected democratically from the community, who hold a
strong position upon the community members with their know-
ledge, experiences, leadership quality and indigenous customs
to guide and support their fellow members in their socioeco-
nomic, cultural and religious activities. Ciriacy-Wantrup &
Bishop (1975) also mentioned that institutions based on the con-
cept of common property have played socially beneficial roles
in natural resources management from economic prehistory up
to the present. So the role of institutions is very important for
the sustenance of these VCF in the CHT. But unfortunately
these traditional institutions have been weakened without giving
much consideration on traditional resource management sys-
tems or their socio-cultural life enforcing several polices aimed
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 129
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Table 2.
List of plant species found in the village common forests of Bandarban hill district with their family name, scientific name, nature and status
(VC = Very common (observed everywhere in greater numbers); CO = Common (observed everywhere); VU = Vulnerable (observed only in
2 - 3 occasions); EN = Endangered (observed only once or confirmed by the community people to be present in the forest); PL = Planted).
Sl. No. Family No. of Species Scientific N am e Nature Status
1 Achariaceae 1 Hydnocarpus kurzii Tree EN
Anacardium occidentale Tree CO
Mangifera indica Tree PL
Mangifera sylvatica Tree VU
Spondias indica Tree EN
2 Anacardiaceae 5
Swintonia floribunda Tree EN
3 Annonaceae 1 Artabotrys uncinatus Climber CO
Alstonia macr ophylla Tree EN
Holarrhena floribunda Shrub CO
Odontodenia speciosa Climber VU
Roupelia grata Climber EN
4 Apocynaceae 5
Wrightia tomentosa Shrub VC
Aglaonema crispum Herb VU
Anthurium pedato-radiatum Herb VU 5 Araceae 3
Colocasia nymphaefolia Herb CO
Aiphanes c a ryotaefolia Shrub VU
Areca catechu Tree VU
Attalea cohune Shrub VU
Calamus guruba Rattan CO
Calamus latifoliu s Rattan VU
Calamus tenuis Rattan VU
Licuala grandis Shrub VU
6 Arecaceae 8
Livistonia rotundifolia Tree CO
7 Aristolochiaceae 1 Aristolochia grandiflora Climber CO
Ageratum conyzoides Shrub CO
Artemisia absi nthium Herb CO
Eupatorium odoratum Shrub VC
Eupatorium odoratum Climber VC
Eupatorium ayapana Herb CO
8 Asteraceae 6
Mikania cordata Shrub VU
9 Begoniaceae 1 Dolichandrone spathacea Tree VU
Heterophr agma adenop hyllum Tree CO
Oroxylum indic um Tree CO
Stereospermum chelonioides Tree VU
10 Bignoniaceae 4
Stereospe rmum personatum Tree VU
11 Bixaceae 1 Bixa orellana Tree CO
12 Boraginaceae 1 Cordia myxa Tree VU
13 Bromeliaceae 1 Ananus c o mosus Herb PL
Garuga pin nata Tree VU
14 Burseraceae 2
Protium serratum Tree VU
15 Calophyllaceae 1 Mesua nagassari um Tree EN
16 Cannabaceae 1 Trema orientalis Tree EN
Garcinia cowa Tree VU
17 Clusiaceae 2
Garcinia paniculata Tree VU
Anogeissus acuminata Tree CO
Calycopteris f l oribunda Climber VC
Terminalia chebula Tree VU
18 Combretaceae 4
Terminalia bele ric a Tree VU
Argyreia ne rvosa Climber CO
19 Convolvulaceae 2
Argyreia populifolia Climber CO
20 Costaceae 1 Costus speciosus Herb VU
21 Cyclanthaceae 1 Cyclanthu s bipartitus Herb EN
Dillenia indica Tree VU
22 Dilleniaceae 2
Tetracera sarmentosa Climber CO
23 Dioscoreaceae 1 Dioscorea bulbife r a Herb VC
Anisoptera sc ap hul a Tree EN
24 Diptercarpaceae 2
Dipterocarp us turbinatus Tree EN
Drynaria roxburghii Fern CO
25 Dryopteridaceae 2
Polystichum setosum Fern CO
Diospyros peregrina Tree VU
26 Ebenaceae 2
Diospyros ramiflora Tree VU
27 Elaeocarpaceae 1 Elaeocarpus robusta Tree CO
Bridelia scandens Shrub VC
Croton oblongifolius Tree VU
Drypetes roxburghii Tree CO
Euphorbia leucocephala Climber CO
Mallotus repen dus Shrub VC
Mallotus roxburghianus Shrub EN
Phyllanthus reticulatus Shrub VC
28 Euphorbiaceae 8
Trewia polycarpa Tree VU
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 131
Acacia nilotica Tree EN
Albizia falc a taria Tree VU
Albizia procera Tree CO
Bauhinia vahlii Climber VC
Brownea coccinea Tree CO
Caesalpinia insigna Climber VC
Cajanus cajan Shrub PL
Cassia auriculata Shrub VU
Derris robusta Tree CO
Erythrina variegata Tree CO
Indigofera tasmania Shrub CO
Indigofera tinctoria Shrub VU
Meliotus alba Herb CO
Mimosa pudica Herb VC
Mucuna monospe rma Climber VC
Mucuna utilis Climber VC
Tamarindus indica Tree CO
29 Fabaceae 18
Uraria logopoides Climber CO
30 Fagaceae 1 Castanopsis tribuloides Tree EN
31 Hypoxidaceae 1 Curculigo capitulata Shrub VU
Callicarpa arbore a Shrub CO
Callicarpa macrophylla Shrub VC
Clerodend rum squamatum Shrub CO
Clerodend rum viscosum Shrub VC
Gmelina ar borea Tree PL
Gmelina hystr i x Tree VU
Hyptis suaveole n s Shrub CO
Tectona grand is Tree PL
32 Lamiaceae 9
Vitex glabrata Tree CO
33 Leeaceae 1 Leea macr ophylla Shrub CO
34 Lythraceae 1 Lagerstroemia speciosa Tree CO
35 Magnoliaceae 1 Michelia champaca Tree CO
Abroma augusta Shrub VU
Bombax ceiba Tree CO
Ceiba penta ndra Tree VU
Gossypium barbadense Shrub VC
Hibiscus furcatus Shrub VC
Microcos paniculata Tree CO
Pterospermum acerifolium Tree CO
Pterospermum suberifolium Tree VU
Sterculia v illosa Tree VU
36 Malvaceae 10
Urena lobata Shrub VC
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
37 Melastomataceae 1 Melastoma malabathricum Shrub VC
Aphanamixis polys tac hy a Tree CO
Cedrela macrocarpa Tree VU
Cedrela toona Tree VU
38 Meliaceae 4
Chickrassia tabularis Tree VU
Artocarpus chaplasha Tree CO
Artocarpus heterop hyllus Tree PL
Artocarpus lacucha Tree VU
Ficus benghale nsis Tree CO
Ficus clavata Tree CO
Ficus hispida Tree VC
Ficus lepidosa Tree CO
Ficus pyrifomis Tree CO
Ficus racemosa Tree CO
Ficus radican s Climber CO
Ficus religiosa Tree VU
Ficus semicordata Tree VC
39 Moraceae 13
Streblus asper Tree VC
40 Musaceae 1 Musa sapientum Herb VC
41 Myristicaceae 1 Myristica longifolia Tree EN
Psidium gu aj ava Tree VU
Syzygium cumini Tree VU
Syzygium fruticosum Tree VC
42 Myrtaceae 4
Syzygium grande Tree VU
43 Pandanaceae 1 Pandanus kaida Tree CO
Bischofia javanica Tree VU
44 Phyllanthaceae 2 Phylla nthus emblica Tree CO
Bambusa teres Bam-
boo CO
Bambusa tuld a Bam-
boo VC
Dendrocal amus longispathus Bam-
boo VU
Imperata arundinaceae Grass VC
Melocanna baccifera Bam-
boo VC
45 Poaceae 6
Thysanolacana maxima Shrub CO
46 Podocarpaceae 1 Podocarpus nerif olia Tree EN
47 Pteridaceae 1 Pteris cretica Fern VC
48 Rhamnaceae 1 Zizyphus mauritiana Tree PL
Hymenodictylon excelsum Tree EN
49 Rubiaceae 2 Paederia foetida Climber CO
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 133
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Citrus grandis Tree CO
50 Rutaceae 2
Murray koen gii Shrub VU
51 Salicaceae 1 Flacourtia jangomas Tree VU
52 Sapindaceae 1 Erioglossum edulis Tree VU
53 Simaroubaceae 1 Ailanthus excelsa Tree VU
54 Smilacaceae 1 Smilax rox burghiana Climber VC
Solanum indicum Shrub CO
55 Solanaceae 2
Solanum nigrum Shrub CO
56 Sonneratiaceae 1 Duabanga gra nd ifl ora Tree VU
57 Sterculiaceae 1 Pterygota a l ata Tree EN
58 Theaceae 1 Schima wall icii Tree VU
59 Verbenaceae 1 Lantana camara Shrub VC
60 Zingiberaceae 1 Amomum subulatum Shrub CO
Total - 163 - - -
at increasing government revenue or extracting important natu-
ral resources combined with nationalization of forests, encour-
aging sedentary agriculture, privatization for long term horti-
culture or tree plantation, government sponsored population
migration program or other development programs. Prior to the
nationalization of forests, tribal people used to manage and use
forest resources based on mutually agreed rules and regulations
that had prevented forest encroachment by outsiders (Thapa &
Rasul, 2006). Experiences from CHT shows that privatization
and government regulation envisioned by Hardin (1968) to
solve the tragedy of commons problems have failed to reduce
the problem of widespread deforestation and degradation of
common lands, and to ensure effective management and con-
serve those resources customarily owned and maintained by the
tribal communities (Rasul & Thapa, 2005). However, common
property systems that have survived through considerable peri-
ods of change identify small size, internal homogeneity, func-
tioning local leadership and isolation from markets as important
determinants of their endurance (Arnold, 1998). Due to popula-
tion pressure and socio-political reasons VCF in the CHT are in
stake of extinction. It is believed that a crucial factor towards
long-term sustenance of common village forests is formal rec-
ognition of these areas, to secure use, access and tenure regimes
(Tiwari, 2003). Existing norms, social capital, extent of de-
pendence on forest, effective leadership are some other factors
that influence collective action in resource management (Tal-
war & Ghate, 2003).
It is clear that VCF are the only remaining forests in some
parts of the CHT (Roy, 2000) that are enriched with more bio-
diversity than that of government forests and indigenous man-
agement of resources were sustaining a balance between ex-
ploitation and conservation (Baten et al., 2010; Adnan & Das-
tidar, 2011). We found that VCF still contain dense forests
containing rich biodiversity including rare plant and animal
species. So, there is an urgent need to protect and manage these
VCF from being degraded for the sake of indigenous people
and the ecosystem as a whole. This is also important for Bang-
ladesh being the party to the Convention on Biological Diver-
sity (which is ratified on 5 June, 1992). Population pressure
coupled with widespread resource destruction, livelihood inse-
curity, better market facilities, socio-political conditions, gov-
ernment policies and consistent disregard from the part of gov-
ernment regarding protection and management are placing ma-
jor threats to the sustenance of VCF in the CHT. Sometimes it
is also important to guard against internal inequities within the
community based on gender, kinship, social status or otherwise
that disrupt social cohesion leading to the abandonment of
community efforts to manage the forests (Halim & Roy, 2006)
which may arise due to local elites laying claim to a dispropor-
tionate share of resources (Sunderlin, Hatcher, & Liddle, 2008).
Dependence of the community people on forests can also be
considered as a factor of forest destruction particularly the VCF.
At the same time the community people should be aware of the
possible losses for the destruction of VCF. Realizing the facts
some NGOs have initiated programs to protect and develop
VCF and at the same time improving the livelihood of the
community people to reduce their dependency on forests,
namely, DANIDA and Arranyak Foundation involving some
local NGOs like, Taungya, Biram, Humanitarian Foundation,
Tah Zing Dong (Halim & Roy, 2006; AF, 2010) as there is no
government initiative in safeguarding these common forests.
Several authors have highlighted the role of NGOs in main-
taining and safeguarding common forests in CHT and else-
where (Nath & Inoue, 2008; Nath, Inoue, & Pretty, 2010;
Duthy & Bolo-Duthy, 2003; Halim & Roy, 2006). NGOs have
added a new dimension in the forest management, which has
ensured participation of the community people and protection
of the vegetation (Zaman, et al., 2011). However, it is important
for the government to come forward with policies and some
rules and regulations in giving the tenure security to the in-
digenous community who are maintaining the VCF for long
and also encourage other communities to maintain VCF around
or near their homesteads with some financial and legal incen-
tives. One option could be to devolve property rights and man-
agement authority to the community people specifying the
number of families and size of the VCF with a community ini-
tiated management plan regulating management of forest re-
sources, access to the forests and equitable distribution of bene-
fits among the community members as practiced in the Com-
munity Forestry program in Nepal (Wakiyama, 2004; Gautam
et al., 2004; DoF, 2011; Adhikari et al., 2007; Acharya, 2002)
and Joint Forest Management in India (Panigrahi, 2006; Behera
& Engel, 2006; Vemuri, 2008). Although, the government has
adopted participatory forest management but due to bureau-
cratic attitude easy access of the poor habitants are restricted in
many cases. It is observed that forest management in CHT is a
classic example of the alienation of land and forests from in-
digenous people and the transfer of resources from poor to rich,
local to outsider, periphery to centre (Rasul, 2007). As the in-
digenous people are very much dependent on the forests so the
creation of alternative income generation opportunities is also
very important to reduce their dependency on forests and
thereby conserving the forests and biodiversity. To overcome
these situations, the existing government forest policy, espe-
cially for CHT, needs major modification including legal devo-
lution of power to the community people and allowing them
freely manage small tracts of forests (around 100 ha) in or near
their villages involving NGOs and other stakeholders as facili-
tators with acceptable benefit sharing agreements. Zaman et al.
(2011) also suggested accommodating the NGOs, grass root
organizations and general people in policy formulation, execu-
tion and evaluation of the program.
Conclusion and Policy Recommendation
VCF in the CHT undoubtedly play an important role in bio-
diversity conservation and as well as supporting daily necessi-
ties of the community people. However, population pressure
combined with improved marketing facilities, ignorance, over
exploitation, personal greed, tenure insecurity, faulty govern-
ment policies regarding settlement of land and breakdown of
the traditional systems exerting pressures on these VCF and the
overall condition of these important biodiversity rich areas are
degrading or shrinking in size and number gradually. In this
situation there is an urgency to initiate efforts to manage these
sustainably both from government and non-government (NGOs)
initiatives. In general, government forest authority has no con-
trol over these forests and they failed to show their efficiency to
manage forests sustainably in CHT or other parts of the country.
However, the government can come up with new policies and
legal instruments especially recognizing the traditional and
customary resource rights of the indigenous communities in the
CHT, acknowledging resource management system, providing
tenure security, strictly banning the transfer of VCF land to
individual or for settlement purposes that will ease the protect-
tion of VCF and will earn the thrust of the tribal communities,
encouraging communities through legal and financial incentives
in protecting these VCF or any other state owned forest areas
solely for the conservation of biodiversity (only the indigenous
species) with intensive management plan, resolving long lasting
land related conflicts among indigenous communities, settlers
and government authorities, and at the same time upholding the
spirit of CHT Peace Accord 1997. NGOs showed their effi-
ciency in maintaining biodiversity and safeguarding livelihood
over the years, so they can be utilized to protect VCF in CHT.
It is still not too late to initiate a coordinated effort for these
VCF that will conserve the important biodiversity resources
and provide essential supports to the community people and
help reduce environmental degradation which is now an impor-
tant global concern from both social and economic point of
view. Lessons learned from this study will be useful for poli-
cymakers, planners, management and development officials for
formulating effective community initiated forest management
projects in Bangladesh and other developing countries.
We thank the Arranyak Foundation, Dhaka for largely fi-
nancing the research. The authors also express their deep grati-
tude to the management of Humanitarian Foundation and Tah
Zing Dong, two local NGOs implementing community based
co-management projects to protect VCF in Bandarban Hill
District, financed by Arranyak Foundation, for their kind help
and co-operation during the field survey.
Acharya, K. P. (2002). Twenty-four years of community forestry in Ne-
pal. International F orest ry Review, 4, 149-156.
Adhikari, B., Williams, F., & Lovett, J. C. (2007). Local benefits from
community forests in the middle hills of Nepal. Forest Policy &
Economics, 9, 464-478. doi:10.1016/j.forpol.2005.11.002
Adnan, S., & Dastidar, R. (2011). Alienation of the lands of indigenous
peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Dhaka/Copen-
hagen: Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission/International Work Group
for Indigenous Affairs.
AF (2010). Conserving forests for the future: Annual report 2009. Dha-
ka: Arannayk Foundation. URL.
Ali, M. E., & Tsuchiya, T. (2002). Land rights of the indigenous people
of the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh: A historical analysis of
policy issues. Fourth World Journal, 5, 63-79.
Arnold, J. E. M. (1998). Managing forests as common property: FAO
Forestry Paper 136. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations.
Azam, M., & Sarker, T. (2011). Green tourism in the context of climate
change towards sustainable economic development in the South
Asian Region. Journal of Environmental Management and Tourism,
1, 6-15.
Banerjee, A. K. (2000). Devolving forest management in Asia-Pacific
countries. In T. Enters, P. B. Durst, & M. Victor (Eds.), Decentrali-
zation and devolution of forest management in Asia and the Pacific.
RECOFTC Report 18, RAP Publication 2000/1, Bangkok.
Barkat, A., Halim, S., Poddar, A., Badiuzzaman, M., Osman, A., Khan,
M. S., Rahman, M., Majid, M., Mahiyuddin, G., Chakma, S., & Ba-
shir, S. (2009). Socio-economic baseline survey of Chittagong Hill
Tracts. Dhaka: Human Development Research Centre (HDRC)/Chit-
tagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF)/UNDP. URL.
RC_ %2008April09.pdf
Baten, M. A., Khan, N. A., Ahammad, R., & Misbahuzzaman, K. (2010).
Village common forests in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: Bal-
ance between Conservation and Exploitation. Dhaka: Unnayan On-
neshan—The Innovators, 13.
Baumann, P. (2002). Improving access to natural resources for the
rural poor: A critical analysis of central concepts and emerging
trends from a sustainable livelihoods perspective. LSP Working Pa-
per 1, Access to Natural Resources Sub-Programme, Livelihood Sup-
port Programme (LSP). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations.
Behera, B., & Engel, S. (2006). Institutional analysis of evolution of
joint forest management in India: A new institutional economics ap-
proach. Forest Policy & Economics, 8, 350-362.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 135
Berkes, F., Feeny, D., McCay, B. J., & Acheson, M. J. (1989). The be-
nefits of the commons. Nature, 340, 91-93.
Biswas, A. K. (1992). Forest management, environment and develop-
ment in South Asia. Cont em po r ar y S ou th Asia, 1, 249-258.
Chakma, B., Khisa, B. B., & Chakma, S. (undated). Conflict into op-
portunities: Towards forest governance in Chittagong Hill Tracts (A
case study from Bangladesh). Internal Displacement Monitoring Cen-
tre (IDMC). URL.
Chowdhury, K. (2008). Politics of identities and resources in Chit-
tagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: Ethnonationalism and/or indigenous
identity. Asian Journal of Social Scie nce , 36, 57-78.
Chowdhury, M. S. H., & Miah, M. D. (2003). Housing pattern and food
habit of the Mro-tribe community in Bangladesh: A forest depend-
ence perspective. Journa l of Forestry Research, 14, 253-258.
CIFOR (2011). Community-based forest management key to success of
REDD+. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). URL
(last checked 10 July 2011).
Ciriacy-Wantrup, S. V., & Bishop, R. C. (1975). “Common property”
as a concept in natural resources policy. Natural Resources Journal,
15, 713-727.
DoF. (2011). Community forestry. Department of Forests, Government
of Nepal. URL (last checked 23 October 2011).
Duthy, S., & Bolo-Duthy, B. (2003). Empowering people’s organiza-
tions in community based forest management in the Philippines: The
community organizing role of NGOs. Annals of Tropical Research,
25, 13-27.
FAO (2011). State of the world’s forests. Rome: Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations. URL.
Feeny, D., Berkes, F., McCay, B. J., & Acheson, J. M. (1990). The
tragedy of commons: Twenty-two years later. Human Ecology, 18,
1-19. doi:10.1007/BF00889070
FRA. (2010). Global forest resources assessment 2010: Main report.
FAO Forestry Paper 163. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations. URL.
Gautam, A. P., Shivakoti, G.P., & Webb, E. L. (2004). A review of
forest policies, institutions, and changes in the resource condition in
Nepal. International Forestry R eview , 6, 136-148.
Halim, S., & Roy, R. D. (2006). Lessons learned from the application
of human rights-based approaches in the indigenous forestry sector in
the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: A case study of the village
common forest project implemented by Taungya. URL.
Halim, S., Roy, R. D., Chakma, S., Tanchangya, S.B. (2007). Bangla-
desh: The interface of customary and state laws in the Chittagong
Hill Tracts. In H. Leake (Ed.), Bridging the gap: Policies and prac-
tices on indigenous peoples’ natural resource management in Asia.
Chiang Mai: UNDP-RIPP/AIPP Foundation.
Halim, S., Roy, R. D., Chakma, S., & Tanchangya, S. B. (undated). Na-
tural resource management country studies: Bangladesh report. Re-
gional Indigenous Peoples’ Programme, United Nations Develop-
ment Programme (UNDP-RIPP). URL.
Hardin, G. (1968). The tragedy of the commons. Science, 162, 1243-
1248. doi:10.1126/science.162.3859.1243
Heltberg, R. (2001). Determinants and impact of local institutions for
common resource management. Environment and Development Eco-
nomics, 6, 183-208. doi:10.1017/S1355770X01000110
IPP (2011). BAN: Second Chittagong Hill Tracts Rural Development
Project. Indigenous Peoples Plan (IPP). Dhaka: Ministry of Chitta-
gong Hill Tracts Affairs and Asian Development Bank.
Islam, M. A., Marinova, D., Khan, M. H., Chowdhury, G.W., Chakma,
S., Uddin, M., Jahan, I., Akter, R., Mohsanin, S., & Tennant, E.
(2009). Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) in Bangladesh. Dhaka:
Wildlife Trust of Bangladesh.
Jamaluddin, M., Hassan, M. K., & Miah, M. M. (2010). Identifying
livelihood patterns of ethnic minorities and their coping strategies
different vulnerabilities situation in Chittagong Hill Tracts Region,
Bangladesh. Final Report CF#7/08. Dhaka: National Food Policy
Capacity Strengthening Programme (NFPCSP), USAID.
Khan, N. A., & Khisa, S. K. (2000). Sustainable land management with
rubber based agroforestry: A Bangladeshi example of uplands com-
munity development. Sustainable Development, 8, 1-10.
doi:10.1002/(SICI)10 99-1719(200002 )8:1<1::AID-SD126 >3.0.CO;2 -C
Khisa, S. K. (1998). Ethno-botanical cultural background of ethnic com-
munities in forest resource management in Chittagong Hill Tracts. In
R. L. Banik, M. K. Alam, S. J. Pei, & A. Rastog (Eds.), Applied eth-
nobotany (pp. 56-63). Chittagong: Bangladesh Forest Research In-
Lasimbang, J. (2006). Natural resource management country studies.
Regional Synthesis Paper. Regional Indigenous Peoples’ Programme,
Mahapatra, L. K. (1997). Parameters of forest policy for tribal devel-
opment. In P. M. Mohapatra, & P. C. Mohapatro (Eds.), Forest man-
agement in tribal areas: Forest policy and peoples participation (pp.
26-42). New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company.
McKean, M. A., & Ostrom, E. (1995). Common property regimes in
the forest: Just a relic from the past. Unasylva, 180, 3-15.
Miah, M. D., & Chowdhury, M. S. H. (2004). Traditional forest utilize-
tion practice by the Mro tribe in the Bandarban region, Bangladesh.
Schweiz Z Forstwes, 155, 65-70. doi:10.3188/szf.2004.0065
Mjanger, G. (2008). The land is not ours: Alienation of land rights of
the Jumma in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Master’s The-
sis, Hague: Institute of Social Studies.
Mohiuddin, M., & Alam, M. K. (2011). Opportunities of traditional
knowledge in Natural resource management experience from Chit-
tagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Indian Journal of Traditional Know-
ledge, 10, 474-480.
Muhammed, N., Koike, M., & Haque, F. (2008) Forest policy and
sustainable forest management in Bangladesh: An analysis from na-
tional and international perspectives. New Forests, 36, 201-216.
Nasreen, J., & Togawa, M. (2002). Politics of development: ‘Pahari-
Bengali’ discourse in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Journal of Interna-
tional Development and Cooperation, 9, 97-112.
Nath, T. K., & Inoue, M. (2008). The upland settlement project of
Bangladesh as a means of reducing land degradation and improving
rural livelihoods. Small-Scal e Forestry, 7, 163-182.
Nath, T. K., & Inoue, M. (2009). Forest based settlement project and its
impact on community livelihood in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangla-
desh. International Forestry Review, 11, 394-407.
Nath, T. K., Inoue, M., & Chakma, S. (2005a). Shifting cultivation
(jhum) in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: Examining its sus-
tainability, rural livelihood and policy implications. International
Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 3, 130-142.
Nath, T. K., Inoue, M., & Hla Myant, M. (2005b). Small-scale agrofor-
estry for upland community development: A case study from Chit-
tagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Journal of Forest Research, 10, 443-
452. doi:10.1007/s10310-005-0171-x
Nath, T. K., Inoue, M., & Pretty, J. (2010). Formation and function of
social capital for forest resource management and the improved live-
lihoods of indigenous people in Bangladesh. Journal of Rural and
Community Development, 5, 104-122.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 137
Nayak, P. K. (2002). Community-based Forest Management in India:
the Issue of Tenurial Significance. The 9th Biennial Conference of
the IASCP (International Association for the Study of Common Prop-
erty), Victoria Falls, 17-21 June 2002.
Nishat, A., & Biswas, S. (2005). Community-based restoration of de-
graded tropical hill forests: Experiences from Krykhong Para, Chit-
tagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Bulletin 16: 1-11. Jaipur/New Delhi:
National Institute of Ecology.
Panigrahi, R. (2006). Democratization of Forest governance: Myths and
realities. The Eleventh Biennial Conference of the International As-
sociation for the Study of Common Property, Bali, 19-23 June 2006.
Rahman, M. A. (2005). Chittagong Hill Tracts peace accord in Bangla-
desh: Reconciling the issues of human rights, indigenous rights and
environmental governance. Journal of Bangladesh Studi es, 7, 46-58.
Rahman, S. A., Rahman, M. F., Codilan, A. L., & Farhana, K. M.
(2007). Analysis of the economic benefits from systematic improve-
ments to shifting cultivation and its evolution towards stable con-
tinuous agroforestry in the upland of Eastern Bangladesh. Interna-
tional Forestry Review, 9, 536-547.
Rahman, S. A., Rahman, M. F., & Sunderland, T. (2011). Causes and
consequences of shifting cultivation and its alernative in the hill
tracts of eastern Bangladesh. Agr o forestry Systems, 84, 141-155.
Rasul, G. (2005). State policies and land use in the Chittagong Hill
Tracts of Bangladesh. IIED Gatekeeper Series 119. London: Interna-
tional Institute for Environment and Development.
Rasul, G. (2007). Political ecology of the degradation of forest com-
mons in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Environmental
Conservation, 34, 153-163. doi:10.1017/S0376892907003888
Rasul, G., & Karki, M. (2006). Political ecology of degradation of for-
est common in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. The Elev-
enth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the
Study of Common Property, Bali, 19-23 June 2006.
Rasul, G., & Thapa, G. B. (2003). Shifting cultivation in the mountains
of south and southeast Asia: Regional patterns and factors influence-
ing the change. Land Degradation & Development, 14, 495-508.
Rasul, G., & Thapa, G. B. (2005). State policies, praxies and land-use
in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. IIED Working Paper.
London: International Institute for Environment and Development.
Rasul, G., & Thapa, G. B. (2006). Financial and economic suitability of
agroforestry as an alternative to shifting cultivation: The case of the
Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Agricultural Systems, 91, 29-50.
Rasul, G., Thapa, G. B., & Zoebisch, M. A. (2004). Determinants of
land-use changes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. Ap-
plied Geography, 24, 217-240. doi:10.1016/j.apgeog.2004.03.004
Roy, R. C. K. (2000). Land rights of the indigenous peoples of the
Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Copenhagen: International Work
Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).
Roy, R. D. (1998). Land rights: Land use and indigenous peoples in the
Chittagong Hill Tracts. In P. Gain (Ed.), Bangladesh: Land, Forest
and Forest People (pp. 53-118). Dhaka: Society for Environment and
Human Development (SEHD).
Roy, R. D. (2002). Land and forest rights in the Chittagong Hill Tracts,
Bangladesh. ICIMOD Talking Points 4/02. Kathmandu: International
Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.
Roy, R. D. (2004) Challenges for juridical pluralism and customary
laws of indigenous peoples: The case of the Chittagong Hill Tracts,
Bangladesh. Arizona Journal of International & Comparative Law,
21, 113-182.
Roy, R. D., & Halim, S. (2002). Valuing Village commons in forestry.
Indigenous Perspectives, 5, 9-38.
Roy, R. D., Hossain, S., Guhathakurta, M. (2007). Access to justice for
indigenous peoples in Bangladesh: Case study. Towards Inclusive
Governance Promoting Participation of Disadvantaged Groups in
Asia-Pacific. Bangkok: UNDP Regional Indigenous Peoples’ Pro-
gramme (RIPP)/UNDP.
Ruiz-Pe´rez, M., Almeida, M., Dewi, S., Costa, E. M. L., Pantoja, M.
C., Puntodewo, A., Postigo, A. A., & de Andrade, A. G. (2005). Con-
servation and development in Amazonian extractive reserves: The
case of Alto Jurua. Ambio, 34, 218-223.
Saha, P. S. (2010). Parbattya Chattagramer Mouza Ban: Prachin Prag-
gyar Arek Rup. In P. Gain (Ed.) Dharitri, 11th issue, an occasional
SEHD magazine (Bangla). Dhaka: Society for Environment and Hu-
man Development (SEHD). URL.
Stocks, A., McMahan, B., & Taber, P. (2007). Indigenous, colonist and
government impacts on Nicaragua’s Bosawas Reserve. Conservation
Biology, 21, 1495-1505.
Sunderlin, W. D., Hatcher, J., & Liddle, M. (2008). From exclusion to
ownership? Challenges and opportunities in advancing forest tenure
reform. Washington DC: Rights and Resources Initiative.
Talwar, D. M., & Ghate, R. (2003). Community-initiated forest man-
agement without land tenure: How feeble, how strong? A study of
three villages from central India. The Conference on Politics of the
Commons: Articulating Development and Strengthening Local Prac-
tices, Chiang Mai, 11-14 July 2003. URL.
Thapa, G. B., & Rasul, G. (2006). Implications of changing national
policies on land use in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
Journal of Environmental Management, 81, 441-453.
Tiwari, S. (2003). Chittagong Hill Tracts: A preliminary study on gen-
der and natural resource management. Ottawa: IDRC. URL.
Uddin, M. A. (2008). Displacement and destruction of ethnic people in
Bangladesh. Canadian Social Sc i en ce, 4, 16-24.
van Schendel, W., Mey, W., & Dewan, A. K. (2001). The Chittagong
Hill Tracts: Living in a Boarderland. Dhaka: The University Press
Vemuri, A. (2008). Joint Forest Management in India: An unavoidable
and conflicting common property regime in natural resource man-
agement. Journal of Development and Social Transformation, 5, 81-
Wakiyama, T. (2004). Community forestry in Nepal: A comparison of
management systems between indigenous forestry and modern com-
munity forestry. In: K. Harada, & M. Nanang (Eds.), Policy Trend
Report 2004 (pp. 1-20). Hayama: Institute for Global Environmental
Strategies (IGES).
White, A., & Martin, A. (2002). Who owns the world’s forests? Forest
tenure and public forests in transition. Washington DC: Forest
Zaman, S., Siddiquee, S. U., Faruq, M. A. A., Pramanik, M. R., Katoh,
M. (2011). Reckoning Participatory Forest Management in Bangla-
desh: Study from Its Implementation Perspective. Journal of Agri-
cultural Science, 3, 233-239.