Proshika: Marginalized Peoples' Participation in Rural Afforestation in Bangladesh

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Montosh Kumar Das

Abstract

In Bangladesh, the rapid depletion of forest biomass has posed a serious threat to livelihoods and ecological harmony. PROSHIKA is a development organization but since its inception it has given top priority to environmental protection and natural regeneration. PROSHIKA believes that people can contribute to natural protection through afforestation when properly motivated and assisted. PROSHIKA’s social forestry activities are directed towards poverty alleviation through a comprehensive approach in implementation strategies. Under these activities, PROSHIKA planted about 2.5 million seedlings with active participation of 2317 organized groups (20 persons on average) with food assistance by the World Food Programme (WFP) between 1991 and 1998, and from 1997 to 2001, planted about 3.4 million seedlings with 1974 groups with financial assistance of the EU food security project. The seedlings are planted on raised roadside like, feeder roads and highways, embankment, railways and private land. PROSHIKA also planted trees in homestead and other privately owned premises. Awareness about the importance of tree resources regeneration increase day after day, and support for PROSHIKA also expands accordingly. As a result, total biomass produced in this process contributes not only to better livelihoods but also to reducing global warming as carbon reservoir.

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