Use and perceived importance of forest ecosystem services in rural livelihoods of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

Ahammad, Ronju, Stacey, Natasha, and Sunderland, Terry C.H. (2019) Use and perceived importance of forest ecosystem services in rural livelihoods of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Ecosystem Services, 35. pp. 87-98.

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Abstract

This study examines the relative benefits (provisioning) and importance (regulating and cultural) of forest ecosystem services to households in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region of Bangladesh. Our results from 300 household interviews in three rural locations stratified by wealth shows that wealth levels of the respondents play a key role in explaining variations in the perceptions and use of forest ecosystem services. Considering the direct benefits, the importance of provisioning ecosystem services (i.e. fuel wood, food, timber, bamboo, thatch grass and fodder) varies according to their relative use (i.e. subsistence and cash income) among households of different wealth groups. No significant difference was found in perceptions of indirect benefits of forest ecosystem services of water purification, regulating air quality, crop pollination, soil fertility, aesthetic and spiritual services. But the higher wealth groups perceived soil protection, soil fertility, pest and disease control as important for crop production as they have large landholdings for agricultural uses and tree cover. This study suggests local wealth conditions of the rural households characterise the demand of the use and perceived importance of forest ecosystem services. Differences in levels of wealth and ecosystem service provision imply careful consideration of social and economic factors in decision-making and making appropriate interventions for forest and tree management. The ecosystem services approach appears to be useful in capturing the broader diversity of benefits of forests and trees (i.e. material and non-material) as well as in supporting their integrated management at the landscape scale.

Item ID: 57168
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2212-0416
Keywords: forest and trees, ecosystem services, wealth categories, household income, landscape management
Copyright Information: © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Funders: Charles Darwin University (CDU), Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Asian Centre for Development, Bangladesh (ACD), United States Agency for International Development, Department for International Development, UK
Projects and Grants: CDU International postgraduate research scholarship, ACD South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, CIFOR Agrian Change Project
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2019 07:42
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 70%
07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development @ 30%
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