The forests of southeast Bangladesh are confined to the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), bordering India and Myanmar. Herein remains the last intact tropical mixed-evergreen forest of Bangladesh. The area is largely inhabited by 11 indigenous tribes of Tibeto-Burmese and Sino-Tibeto linguistic origin. These people primarily practice traditional slash-and burn shifting agriculture and subsistence hunting to support their livelihoods.
The CHT forms the western-most part of the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot, one of the most imperiled of all Hotspots. Due to its remote nature and complex political ecology, this area has been given very limited attention from government agencies or conservation and community development groups since the colonial era, despite its critical need for successful conservation and sustainable development measures for the area’s rich bio- and cultural-diversity. These factors have left the landscape with 34 globally threatened species native to the area vulnerable to extinction, and local tribal forest-dependent communities heavily marginalized.
Currently we are developing a program through our local partner, Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA), based upon community-based conservation of endangered species such as Giant Asian Forest Tortoise, Chinese Pangolin, and Western Hoolock Gibbons in community-managed forests. This program promotes transitioning from shifting cultivation towards agroforestry, restoration of connectivity among forest patches, communal forest management, and overall community development and welfare of the tribal stakeholder villages.
To learn more about the work of CCA, you can visit their website here: