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Research Article, J Biodivers Manage Forestry Vol: 4 Issue: 1

Identify Appropriate Conservation Strategies for Rural People in Bangladesh

Sakera Syeda Rahman and Harald Vacik*
Institute of Silviculture, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
Corresponding author : Vacik Harald
Institute of Silviculture, Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria
Tel: (+43) 1 / 47654-4052; Fax: (+43)1/47654-4092
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: September 04, 2014 Accepted: December 23, 2014 Published: December 27, 2014
Citation: Rahman SS, Vacik H (2015) Identify Appropriate Conservation Strategies for Rural People in Bangladesh. J Biodivers Manage Forestry 4:1. doi:10.4172/2327-4417.1000137

Abstract

Identify Appropriate Conservation Strategies for Rural People in Bangladesh

This study analyzes biodiversity, related socio?economic effects and the perception of rural people about conservation strategies at three conservation areas (Chunati wildlife sanctuary, Sitakunda eco?park, Dulahazara safari park) in Bangladesh. 75 sample plots were used to collect data on mature tree species and regeneration. By means of questionnaires the demands and perceptions of rural people living close to the conservation areas have been observed. In total 46 tree families have been identified with 159 varieties of tree species in all three study areas. Chunati wildlife sanctuary had the highest mean basal area with 53.9 m2/ha, and species diversity was highest in Sitakunda eco?park with a diversity index of 5.84. Although small scale farming was the main income source for all people in the past, the implemented in?situ conservation strategies increased employment opportunities and turnover/ capita. 61% of all respondents were strongly satisfied about the socio?economic effects caused by the conservation strategies.

Keywords: Biodiversity; Co‑management; Income generation; Livelihood; Tourism; Tree species richness

Keywords

Biodiversity; Co‑management; Income generation; Livelihood; Tourism; Tree species richness

Introduction

Bangladesh, located in the humid tropical region is rich in species diversity. It contains about 5700 species of angiosperms and four species of gymnosperms [1,2] of which about 2260 species are reported from the Chittagong region [3,4] reported about 86 tree species for timber production, 130 tree species of yielding fiber and 29 medicinal plant species available in the country. The Bangladesh National Herbarium (BNH) prepared a list of 500 medicinal plants. Bamboo resources of 18 taxa, both wild and planted can be found [5]. There are at least ten species of rattans, along with 12 other palm species [4]. Conservation efforts have therefore been implemented comprising in‑situ conservation and ex‑situ conservation as well as conservation of provenances within species. The declaration of new in-situ conservation areas in Bangladesh is definitely a light of hope against forest destruction. Currently 17 wildlife sanctuaries in total 270,479 ha and game reserves with a total area of 11,651 ha and 17 national parks in total 45,746 ha are declared [6].
Many rural people in developing countries are dependent on the availability of natural resources. The conservation rules put into place in many protected areas ban all uses as well as extraction of timber and in many cases all entries except for tourism or research [7]. Most of the conservation areas are adjacent to densely populated areas where people are apparently more dependent on forest or natural resources for their livelihood. People use forests mostly for fire wood, fodder and litter collection. They also depend on the forest for cattle grazing, agricultural activities, timber and NWFPs. Conservation strategies would allow people to develop additional income generation activities. Natural assets, social relationships, and the utilization of human capital through alternative livelihood strategies have provided security and improved livelihood assets of participants [8]. But the increasing population causes several disturbances by encroachment for habitation, illegal cutting/thinning, litter collection, shifting cultivation and tourism (garbage, fire, trampling, broken branches). Threats to species at risk have been identified, but little is being done to reduce threats [7]. Protected areas are the cornerstones of most conservation strategies around the world; they conserve biodiversity, safeguard ecosystem health and provide an array of many ecosystem services [9]. However, there are several factors described in scientific literature that affect the success of such in-situ conservation measures [10]. Appropriate development projects and site-specific measures are often proposed to ameliorate park‑people conflicts through interdisciplinary analysis [11-13]. It is important to raise awareness about the importance of the conservation activities and support the managers and rural people in fulfilling their daily needs. Decentralization is often proposed to achieve sustainable forest management of these [14] and coordination among the related institutions and stakeholders, as well as willingness and enthusiasm of the authorities to accept and implement the concept is needed [15]. Nature oriented tourism could provide economic incentives to rural communities for proper management and conservation while protecting the world heritage site [16]. In such a complex environment selecting the best conservation strategy facing people’s interests and nature conservation is hard to determine, but would give the chance for highest success in conservation effort as well as in striking peoples’ demands. So, the present contribution aims are to compare different conservation strategies in the context of maintaining biodiversity and sustaining the livelihood of rural people in three study areas: Chunati wildlife sanctuary, Dulahazara safari park and Sitakunda eco‑park. The experiences gained and the biodiversity status achieved will allow proposing recommendations for future policy.

Materials and Methods

Study sites
Three case studies have been selected, because of their well-known good natural forest condition, the implemented biodiversity conservation activities, and the different options for income generation to mitigate rural people’s poverty by tourism and the utilization of non wood forest products (NWFPs). The study was planned to be carried out in the three conservation areas in 2010 (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Maps showing the study areas (Chunati wildlife sanctuary, Dulahazara safari park and Sitakunda eco park).
The Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary (Chittagong, 7761 ha, est. yr.1986) is located at 21°40´ north latitude and 92°07´ west longitude, located about 70 km in the south of Chittagong city on the west side of Chittagong. The soils on the alluvial plains and valleys in the Chunati wildlife sanctuary are silty loam to silty clay loam, moderately to strongly structured and neutral to medium acidic subsoil [17]. The area is generally hilly with shallow to deep gullies and sometimes with steep slopes. Mean rainfall is about 3082 mm, the temperatures range from average 14.2° C to 32.5° C, the humidity ranges from average 28.6 % minimum to 100 % maximum.
The Dulahazara Safari Parks (Cox’s Bazar, 600 ha, est. Yr. 1999) is located between 20°50´ and 21o50´ north latitude and between 92°0´ and 92°15´ east longitude, located on the most southeast region of Bangladesh. The area covered with small hills. Mean rainfall is about 741 mm during the month of June. Mean annual temperature of this area is average 14.70° C minimum and 32° C maximum and relative humidity is 70%‑85%.
The Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Eco-park (Chittagong, 808 ha, est. yr. 1998) is situated at the northwestern part of Chittagong district, between 22°36´ and 22°39´ north latitude and 91°40´and 91°42´ east longitudes. Top soils are dark grayish brown to dark brown, consisting of sandy loam to loam, are moderately granular on crumbly neutral to strongly acidic layers if moist and medium to very strongly acidic when dry. It is constituted with medium high to low hill ranges with altitude of 352 meters above sea level. These hills are made of sandstone and shale. Normally, rainfall occurs during the month of May to September for five months. Maximum rainfall is in the month of July and the amount is 597 mm on an average. The mean annual temperature of the study area is 26.6° C. The humidity remains less in the month of February (72.2 %) and maximum in the months between July and August (85.5 %) [18].
Field data collection procedures
A systematic sampling was carried out to represent the areas with a total of 75 sample plots. Twenty five main plots comprising 20 m × 20 m in size and several subplots were investigated in each study site to observe the current tree species and their regeneration. For the regeneration survey a subsample on 2 m × 2 m was taken within each of the main plots laid out for tree species measurement. Seedlings and shoots from sprouting were identified, counted and recorded. All timber and medicinal trees ≥ 10 cm in diameter at breast height (DBH) and > 1.6 m in height were identified and measured (mature trees). Several diversity indices have been calculated to compare species richness and evenness between the sites (Table 1). On each plot, disturbance levels (natural and human disturbance) were estimated based on a qualitative assessment of the intensity of logging, cutting of regeneration, cutting of non wood forest products, bark peeling, litter collection, agro forestation, firing and tourism (detailed information about the assessed attributes can be found in the table of appendix 1). A disturbance index was calculated on the basis on the qualitative assessment done in the field following the approach of Rahman et al. [19]. Twenty five semi‑structured questionnaire surveys of the rural people living at each study site were conducted. The respondents have been selected on their dependence on forest resources available for sustaining their daily livelihood in the study area and their living place. Three main goals of sustainable development were observed by the socio‑economic survey of the rural people including the aspects of I) economic well‑being II) social and human development and III) environmental sustainability and regeneration. Table 2 provides an overview about the demographic data and the average income of the respondents.
Table 1: Characterization of the biodiversity indices.
appendix 1: Appendix 1: Characterisation of disturbance levels (very high, high, low, very low) for natural and human disturbances.
Table 2: Socio-economic information regarding the three case study areas.

Results

Biodiversity status
The number of tree species at the three study sites varies. The results show that in Chunati wildlife sanctuary 78 different mature tree species were found. Dulahazara safari park had 55 and Sitakunda eco‑park had the highest number of different mature tree species with 146. In Chunati wildlife sanctuary 33 different tree species were found in the regeneration, while Dulahazara safari park had 36 and Sitakunda eco‑park the highest number with 54 different tree species. Figure 2 shows, that Chunati wildlife sanctuary and Dulahazara safari park is dominated by Dipterocarpus turbinatus Gaertn. F. whereas Acacia auricoliformis Willd. is the most dominant species in Chunati wildlife sanctuary and Sitakunda eco‑park. In total 46 tree families were identified, 30 tree families were found at the Chunati wildlife sanctuary, 26 families at the Dulahazara safari park and the highest number (45) was observed at the Sitakunda eco‑park. A full record of all tree species identified in the three study regions including the family status, local and scientific name as well as the calculated N/ha is made available in appendix 2.
Figure 2: Most dominant mature tree species (height > 160 cm) at the three different study areas.
appendix 2: Appendix 2: Tree species found in three different study areas.
According to the natural regeneration 25900 n/ha of tree seedlings were counted during the regeneration survey in Chunati wildlife sanctuary, which is the highest amount of regeneration in all three areas. Dulahazara safari park had 23400 n/ha of tree seedlings and Sitakunda eco‑park the lowest numbers (18900 n/ha) of tree seedlings. On the other hand 466 n/ha of mature trees were found on average in Chunati wildlife sanctuary, 399 n/ha at Dulahazara safari park and 634 n/ha of mature trees at Sitakunda eco‑park.
The basal area (m2/ha), diversity index, dominance index, evenness index and similarity index were calculated for all trees > 10 cm DBH. Table 3 shows that Chunati wildlife sanctuary had the highest basal area with 53.93 m2/ha, but species diversity was highest in Sitakunda eco‑park with 5.85. At Sitakunda eco‑park the dominance index was higher than the Dulahazara safari park and Chunati wildlife sanctuary. The similarity index of all three study areas was 0.398, which means that almost 40% of all species observed at the study areas are similar. However, when comparing the similarity between the study areas it becomes evident, that only Chunati wildlife sanctuary and Sitakunda eco‑park show a higher similarity according to the common tree species (similarity CS: 0.295).
Table 3: Ecological information and diversity indices of the three different study areas for all trees > 160 cm height and > 10 cm DBH, regeneration and vegetation cover.
Socio-economic conditions
The rural people of Chunati wildlife sanctuary and Sitakunda eco‑park utilize different forest resources like fire wood, fodder, litter, wild animals and NWFPs. Additionally, in Chunati wildlife sanctuary interested people are involved in the co‑management system. They are able to utilize the forest in a sustainable way and get income from selling wood. In Dulahazara safari park people have no option to utilize forest resources, because it is a reserved area. But as it is a very famous tourist location rural people can earn money by offering different kinds of tourist and recreation activities (e.g. overnight stays, food in restaurants, parking lots, supplying animals with food, taking care of the sick animals, cosmetic, toy and traditional clothes shops, or different kinds of foods and drinks shops, flower and card shops). This becomes also evident when comparing the average income of the respondents included in the survey (Table 2).
The rural people prefer special tree species for increasing their personal benefit and plant them in forest areas depending on the options within the different conservation strategies. Figure 3 shows that people from Chunati wildlife sanctuary preferred timber trees like D. turbinatus and A. auriculiformis. The people from Sitakunda eco‑park are interested in Mangifera indica Linn., Phyllanthus embelica Linn., Terminalia arjuna Bedd W&A, Terminalia belerica Roxb., Protium serratum Engl., Terminalia chebula Retz., Elaeocarpus floribundas Bl., Bijdr. or Garcinia cowa Roxb. The people from Dulahazara safari park area have no option to select tree species due to the current management rules.
Figure 3:Preferred tree species of the rural people at three different study sites.
Figure 4 shows that the occupation options are different at the study sites according to the differences in the socio‑economic situation. In Chunati wildlife sanctuary area farmer and service holder (36 %) and farmer and daily labor (24 %) were most abundant. In Dulahazara safari park area farmer and businessman (52 %) and farmer and daily labor (24 %) were the most prominent occupation options. In Sitakunda eco‑park area farmer and businessman (40 %) and farmer and daily labor (32 %) were the most relevant. Beside these possibilities tourist vehicle driver was a very specific employment opportunity for those living inside of the forest area in Sitakunda eco‑park.
Figure 4: Percentages of different kinds of occupation of the rural people.
15 years ago small scale farming was the main employment opportunity for all studied areas, but now‑a‑days tourist activity has increased and the rural people find at least six different types of income sources in each area. Usually October to January is the peak time for tourism and the rest of the year is dedicated to agriculture. The people from the Dulahazara safari park area earn more money by tourism (parking lots, selling tickets, food shops, restaurants, hotels, motels, clothes/toys shops, car washing etc.) than in the other two regions. In general they had the highest average turnover about 27,160 Taka per month. The income of the people from Chunati wildlife sanctuary is earned by co‑management work, tree planting, tree caring and other forestry services and was on average turnover 15,180 Taka per month. The average turnover of the people from Sitakunda eco‑park was about 12,240 Taka per month. Figure 5 shows that some people had often two different income options and the average turnover of combinations of farmer and businessman were higher than of the other employment options. Here, the turnover for every occupation is shown as an average turnover.
Figure 5: Different income sources and average turnover of the rural people.
The rural people of the two forest sites Chunati wildlife sanctuary and Sitakunda eco‑park utilize different forest resources like fire wood, fodder, litter, wild animals, timber and NWFPs. In Chunati wildlife sanctuary interested people are involved in the co‑management system. They are able to gain income from selling the wood and utilize the forest in a sustainable way. In Dulahazara safari park people have no right to use natural resources from the forest, because it is a reserved area. But it is a very famous tourist location. So, the rural people earn money by different kinds of tourist recreation activities.
People involvement in the conservation areas caused some disturbances (Figure 6). Among all the disturbances illegal cutting or illegal thinning is highest. Dulahazara safari park has the highest score for illegal cutting followed by Chunati wildlife sanctuary and Sitakunda eco‑park. Tourism disturbance was found at a higher rate at Sitakunda eco‑park than in Dulahazara safari park followed by Chunati wildlife sanctuary.
Figure 6: The average disturbance intensities of the three study areas.
The survey allowed discovering the activity of rural people in forest protection measures. In Chunati wildlife sanctuary 44 % of all people were found to have an active role in creating general awareness about forests, 64 % of the people protect forests as forest guards, 96 % were involved in tree planting programs as plantation worker. In the area of Dulahazara safari park 4 % created general awareness about the importance of forests, 28 % were involved in tree planting programs and took care of seedlings as a daily labor, 8 % of the surveyed people took care of wild animals inside the forest area , but 60 % were not active at all. In Sitakunda eco‑park, 52 % of all people were active in creating general awareness about forests and their importance, 48 % were involved in tree planting programs as plantation worker.
Evaluation of conservation strategies
The survey wanted to find out the level of satisfaction about the conservation strategies and the positive impacts on the forest ecosystems at the three study sites. Table 4 and Figure 7 show the opinion of the respondents about the changes after the declaration as conservation area. In general the improvement of infrastructures, the number of occupation facilities and the income options increased in all three study areas. Besides the increased forest area and improved biodiversity status shown before, peoples’ life style, awareness about the forest, the level of literacy, as well as the sources for occupation and income increased (Table 4). In detail the respondents at Chunati wildlife sanctuary indicated that the number of tree planting programs increased by the opinion of 84 % of all people, occupation facilities increased for 64 %, infra‑structure and awareness for 48 %. In Dulahazara safari park area occupation facilities and infra‑structure increased for 96 % compared to the other two study areas, literacy increased for 80 %, land price, animals and birds and awareness increased for 60 %. In Sitakunda eco‑park occupation facilities increased for 92 % of the people, land price and infra‑structure increased for 84 %, respectively 88 %, tree diversity and income increased for 64 %. At the same time in the perception of the rural people on the intensity of communication and cultural exchange, the level of income and the quantity of natural animals and birds’ in the forest area have increased in comparison to the time before the declaration as conservation area. This shows that most of the daily life aspects have achieved an uplift of socio‑economical conditions.
Table 4: Comparison of the perception of the local people before and after the declaration as conservation area in the three study areas.
Figure 7: Peoples’ opinion about the magnitude of changes in the three study sites after declaration as conservation area.
The satisfaction level indicated that, in Chunati wildlife sanctuary 88 % of all people were strongly satisfied about the protection procedures in that area and 12 % were satisfied, but still there is the need for more intensive governmental care. In Dulahazara safari park 92 % of the interviewed people were strongly satisfied, 4 % were not satisfied with protection actions. In Sitakunda eco‑park only 4 % were strongly satisfied, 84 % were satisfied. 16 % were not satisfied. Accordingly all people at the Chunati wildlife sanctuary felt that the conservation area changed their social status. 52 % experienced a good and 48 % poor social status. In Dulahazara safari park 28 % of all people had a very good, 32 % a good, 36 % a poor and 4 % a very poor social status. In Sitakunda eco‑park 12 % of all people had a good, for 57 % the social status changed from very poor to poor, 4 % indicated a very poor status and 8 % still no change in their social status.

Discussion

Biodiversity status
Chunati wildlife sanctuary, Dulahazara safari park and Sitakunda eco-park were rich in species, respectively 30, 26 and 45 tree families and 33, 36 and 54 tree species were found in regeneration whereas 100 m2 were sampled in total at each study site. The number of the mature tree species (> 10 cm DBH) in Chunati wildlife sanctuary, Dulahazara safari park and Sitakunda eco-park were 78, 55 and 146 for the total sampled area of 1 ha at each study site. Most dominant tree species and preferred tree species are D. turbinatus, P. serratum and A. auricoliformis. Comparing these findings with other studies it becomes evident, that the species richness in general is high. About 102 tree species (on 2 ha sample area) were found in Baraitali forest of Chittagong forest division and 18 tree species (on 0.14 ha sampled area) were found in regeneration by Rahman [20]. About 91 species were found in the Kassalong Reserve Forest, Chittagong which belongs to 35 families on the total sample area of 1.3 ha [21]. 41 tree species were recorded from the reserve forest of Khagrachari district in a sample area with around 600 m2 [22]. In total 134 plant species were identified in the Madhupur National Park and 43 plant species were enumerated in the core area of the Bhawal National Park [23]. Nath et al. [24] found 85 species (2 ha sampled area) in Sitapahar Forest Reserve of Chittagong Hill Tracts. About 66 species (2 ha sampled area) were identified in the Idgaon Reserve of the Cox’s bazar North Forest Division by Hossain [25]. Rahman et al. [26] reported that in Chunati wildlife sanctuary 86 tree species (stems of > 5 cm DBH) were found under 35 families. The Diversity index of the mature trees in the present study ranged between 2.99 and 5.85. Dewan and Vacik [21] found a diversity index for the mature trees from 2.18 to 4.08 and a Shannon index of 2.98 was found in the Sitapahar Reserve Forest in Bangladesh [27]. Therefore it can be stated, that the conservation status of all study sites allows maintaining the tree species richness at least.
In the present study the basal area of Chunati wildlife sanctuary, Dulahazara safari park and Sitakunda eco-park varied strongly with 53.9, 39.1 and 16.6 m2/ha (trees > 10 cm DBH). The density of mature tree species with 466 n/ha, 399 n/ha and 634 n/ha was respectively high. Comparing the results with the observed basal area of the Sitapahar Reserve Forest (55.23 m2/ha and with > 10 cm DBH 53.1 m2/ ha) [24,27] it becomes evident that the forests were intensively more thinned. In the study by Dewan and Vacik [21] the Kassalong Reserve Forest had the highest median value of the basal area with 37.2 m2 and the median stand density varied from 533 (highly disturbed forest type) to 233 stems/ha (moderately disturbed forest type) according to human interference. So it becomes evident, that the basal area is strongly related to the intensity of human interventions. Although the number of families and tree species at the three study areas are comparable to other studies on species richness in Bangladesh, the observed basal area values indicate the high pressure by humans.
The results are also in line with studies in the neighboring countries like India or Nepal. Webb and Sah [29] enlisted 49 trees from the central Terai, whereas Timilsina et al. [28] counted 28 tree species from the western Terai of Nepal. Pandey and Shukla [30] found 93 tree species in the eastern Terai and Shankar [31] examined 87 tree species in the Darjiling Terai of India. In the reserve Arunachal Pradesh Nath et al. [32] reported 94, whereas Kadavul (1999) and Parthasarathy [33,34] estimated 80 species in Eastern Ghats and 122 in Western Ghats. Swampy et al. [35] listed 48 tree species from moist deciduous forest in the Western Ghat of India.
Dependence on forest resources and livelihood’s impacts
In Chunati wildlife sanctuary people depend on the forest resources for collecting fire wood and fodder, using the forests for cattle grazing and agricultural production as well as timber and NWFPs production. By the co-management system the people of Chunati wildlife sanctuary can share benefits gained from utilizing timber species. They choose therefore mostly multi-purpose tree species like M. indica, P. embelica, T. arjuna, P. serratum, T. chebula and G. cowa. In Dulahazara safari park people earn money by different kinds of tourist recreation activities. They have no choice about selecting tree species, because they don’t have the right to collect forest products from the forest. In Sitakunda eco‑park people use forest resources mostly for fire wood, fodder and litter collection, and to a much lesser extent for cattle grazing. They are also allowed to collect NWFPs. They don’t show interest in planting timber trees, because they don’t get benefits from timber production, but just from NWFPs. So they are interested much more about fruit trees and medicinal trees like M. indica, P. embelica, T. arjuna, T. belerica, P. serratum, T. chebula, E. floribundas or G. cowa. The need of indigenous people for planting native and medicinal tree species in degraded and denuded forested areas has become therefore a major aspect of any participatory management approach [7].
In the present study, farmer, business, daily labor as well as service activities were the most common occupations in all three study sites. Conservation strategies create different kinds of employment opportunities including tourist business and plantation work which might change the social status of the rural people. In this study it was found that the employment opportunity for rural people and the turnover/capita (TK. /month) has increased. However, the average monthly disposable salary after tax is still comparably higher than the average income found in this study [36]. In a study by Bajracharya et al. [37] it was show that the rural people are more satisfied and are willing to support the idea of conservation management when they had opportunities to improve their livelihood. Also Uddin and Mukul [38] explored the role of NWFPs in improving the livelihoods of people depending on forest resources in and around the protected area of the Satchari National Park. They found that for one third of the households the income from the collection, processing and selling of NWFPs constitutes 18% of the family income of these households.
In this study illegal cutting was found to be a major threat for the conservation areas. Rural people are too poor to survive in their life without the utilization of the forest resources. Therefore forests have suffered due to the constant need of the rural population for timber, fuel wood, honey and other NWFPs. Litter collection and pruning are also disturbances caused by the need for fire wood. Negative effects of tourist activities (e.g. garbage, fire, trampling, broken branches) happen, because of the lack of garbage facilities and the low awareness about the future consequences of these illegal activities. The same declining trends along a disturbance gradient were observed in different studies of Eastern Himalayas, wet evergreen forests of India and the moist deciduous forest of Bangladesh [19,23,29,39]. The study by Yadav and Gupta [39] indicated that the original species composition of the undisturbed natural forest may not be restored once changed by human disturbance.
Various strategic plans have been formulated to maintain the forest in a sustainable way but have never been implemented [7]. In order to protect forests from destruction and to conserve their diversity, parts of the Kassalong forests should be managed in a participatory way therefore [21,40]. The participation of rural people will allow reducing illegal occupation of forestlands, illegal tree felling and hunting of wild animals [41]. Muzaffar et al. [7] mentioned that the shift in forest management from a top-down to a partial bottom-up approach including the sharing of benefits with indigenous communities have large potential in future forest management practices.
Conservation strategies and co‑management
In this study it was found that the employment opportunities and the turnover/capita for rural people has increased. Bajracharya et al. [37] examined the socio‑economic impacts of communitybased conservation within the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA), Nepal. Their results indicated that rural communities have received a number of benefits from conservation, including improvements in access to forest resources, improved basic infrastructure such as drinking water, trails and bridges, and improvements in health, sanitation and social services. However, relatively few people (14.9 %) receive direct financial incomes from tourism in their study. So it becomes evident, that the income generation activities that have been started in the observed conservation areas of this study are promising for a successful implementation. People are in general aware about the need to restore and sustain forest resources for covering their daily needs. They protect forests as guards, are involved in tree planting programs and take part in seedling production. A good cooperation between forest departments and forest communities can effectively protect and successfully regenerate the forests and thus restoring dense natural forests [42].
Also Hoque [43] revealed that the socio‑economic conditions of forest user group members improved after participation in co‑management which made them socially empowered. Mukul and Quazi [44] analysed the effect of co‑management in protected areas and found out that highly motivated people recognize the need for a healthy forest ecosystem and will contribute to future economic stability. Subhani [45] reported that a majority of the female members involved in fuel wood collection in co‑management activities in Satchari National Park felt that their participation helps to increase their skills, decision-making power and respect in the eyes of the members of family and society.
The results of this study indicate that the existing forests are rich in species diversity and co‑management is important for the conservation efforts. Most of the people are satisfied about the conservation strategies applied at the Chunati wildlife sanctuary, Dulahazara safari park and Sitakunda eco‑park respectively as their social status is getting better. It became evident that the level of satisfaction among the rural people is much higher while maintaining a good biodiversity status.
A conceptual framework including an ecosystem-based multiple‑use forest management should therefore focus on participation to support biodiversity conservation [15]. Effective participation is evident only with the involvement of enthusiastic and skillful stakeholders. Therefore such frameworks could be seen as a promising example for implementing conservation activities in Bangladesh in the future.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Forests are key suppliers of renewable resources. The provision of non‑marketable goods and services, such as recreation, biodiversity and nature conservation becomes more and more important. However, the provision of fire wood is worldwide still of highest importance and has led to overexploitation and destruction of natural forests. Most of the people live surrounding forest areas are poor and the problem of unemployment is acute. The existing protection and conservation principles in managing natural resources follow mostly conventional strategies that do not consider participation of rural communities in planning and management. In order to maintain the forest resources and its’ species diversity, a multiple-use management plan focusing on participation is desirable to minimize disturbances to the forest ecosystem. Proper silvicultural measures need to be followed to maintain a balanced diameter and height distribution. Reforestation measures should be undertaken with the help of rural people in plantation areas by planting native trees. Rehabilitation of degraded and encroached land is urgently needed in these areas. For all these measures active community participation is a critical factor for the long term success; the focus must be on participatory forest management in the implementation of in‑situ conservation strategies.
The Nishorgo Support Project (NSP) of the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) was initiated in 2002 at the Chunati wildlife sanctuary to demonstrate viable approaches to manage and conserve protected areas in Bangladesh. The activities helped to establish partnerships to develop collaborative management approaches of forest resources, facilitate alternative income generating activities, highlight shortages of existing policies dealing with Protected Areas and developing ecotourism keeping ecological function of ecosystems in mind [46-48]. Consequently the Chunati wildlife sanctuary was selected for the UN equator prize at Brazil “Rio +20” for the conservation of forest resources and its diversity applying co‑management with rural people in June 2012.
The ongoing efforts in participatory forest management by the forest departments should therefore be revised to provide adequate funding to the partners and provide provisions for off farm employment activities. The coordination and collaboration between the rural people, forest departments and NGOs should be strengthened in order to support the in‑situ conservation of forests. The long term effects of conservation strategies on different levels of biodiversity should be monitored to learn about the efficiency and effectiveness of the implemented programs and support its revision. Knowledge exchange from the findings of different case studies should be considered in order to improve in‑situ conservation management on the long run.

Acknowledgments

Funding for this work was provided by Afro Asiatisches Institute (AAI) and partly BOKU. Thanks to the colleagues and staff of the Institute of Silviculture, BOKU, Vienna for assistance in data handling and all kinds of technical support. The authors also show gratitude to Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences (IFESCU), University of Chittagong, Bangladesh, Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI), Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) for their valuable guidance in identifying the species, maps and data collections. Special thanks to Forest Instructor Md. Delowar Hossain, Forestry Science and Technology Institute, Chittagong, Bangladesh for his valuable time, support, information and guidance.

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