Mountains in the Chaning World, Mountains in the Chaning World

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Role of Hill farming practices of Khasia tribes of Bangladesh in Forest and biodiversity conservation
Md. Alamgir Kabir

Last modified: 2017-08-25


An exploratory survey on the Hill farming practices of the Khasia tribe in Sylhet district of Bangladesh was carried out to investigate the impacts of betel leaf based hill farming practices on livelihoods of Khasia tribes and conservation of forest, biodiversity and hills against mal practice of shifting cultivation. Farmers were classified into three categories based on their mean monthly income. Five households were selected at random from each category in each village. Field data were collected using semi-structured questionnaire interviewing 60 farmers from four villages and visiting their farms. Farmers were asked about their land holding, occupation, family size, education level, housing, income and income sources, hill farming practices and division of labour in farming activities. Officials of the forest department were interviewed to explore the impacts of the farming system on forest and biodiversity conservation. The economy of khasia tribes was found forest and hill based, using simple traditional technology. Their hill farming for betel leaf production not only providing income and employment opportunities but also playing vital role in conservation of the forest and its floral diversity. For generations, they are using plant resources not only to fulfill various basic needs but also for treatment of various diseases. The study recorded 29 plant species which are used by Khasia people in various ailments. A buoyant market for betel leaf, utility of trees as support for betel leaf creeping and fascination for herbal medicinal systems made the hill farming system protective for hills and their vegetation.

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