Natural Resource Management

Tanguar haor has always been subject to “elite capture”.  The community virtually had no right to fish and collect other wetland produces to support their subsistence, resulting in widespread inequity and social deprivation. The project  initiated a change in management of Tanguar Haor by bringing it under a pro-poor co-management regime. The project  facilitated a process of endorsement of benefit sharing agreement by the government. This was the most remarkable achievement of the project. For the first time in the history of Tanguar haor, people participated in fishing in broad day light with dignity and pride as the rightful users and without the fear of persecution. The project has significantly improved people’s own self worth, capacity and social inclusiveness and negotiation capacity with to claim their rightful services from the government agencies. On the ecosystem level, community and government plan together where to harvest and how much to harvest. Conservation zones have been marked using local knowledge on fish breeding and wetland birds’ habitat.  Strict management has been imposed by the local community in these areas. Local community together with government law enforcing agency guard these areas. The ecosystem is showing sign of definite improvement in health.

Awareness and consensus

Under CBSMTHP a number of awareness programmes had been conducted to raise awareness about protection and regeneration of TH resources with participation of the community, project staff, government officials and civil society members. The programme is organized by the union level co-management committee and facilitated by respective implementing PNGO with the view of community mobilization and raising awareness regarding RAMSAR Site and importance of TH in both, local and global context. All sorts of technical supports for the programme is provided by IUCN. The participants are sensitized to the adverse effect of indiscriminate fish harvesting in TH, necessity of habitat restoration and protection for fishes, reeds and plants, significance of TH as a staging ground of birds. Till the half yearly reporting period, five (5) awareness raising sessions have been  organized on conservation of natural resources of TH with the participation of 3111 civil society and community members in the programme, in which 9% (280) are female participants. During reporting period 1466 civil society and community members have participated in the programme, in which 11% (146) are female. As a result of the awareness programme the community has been mobilized and organized against fish poaching and protecting all sorts of resources in Tanguar Haor.

Habitat restoration

The TH water bodies have been demarcated into 2 broader division,(a) the core zone and (b) the buffer zone taking into account the ecosystem protection, habitat restoration and biodiversity conservation. As part of the habitat restoration and protection 5 beels have been conserved as fish sanctuaries. A total of 4,759 bamboo/katha has been pilled in 5 beels/fish sanctuaries till to the half yearly reporting period. During the reporting period 572 Hizal tree branches have also been set up in 4 fisheries sanctuaries. 62,504 Nos. of natural fingerlings of carp fish species has been released in haor till to the reporting period. A few of critically endangered fish species-Chitla chitla, Tor tor, Rita has been restocked also. Besides, two (2) beels have been conserved as bird’s sanctuary. Two artificial nests  for Pallas’s fish eagle been constructed for habitat creation.The state of other major targeted species like peacock soft shell turtle, fishing cat, Indian spot-billed duck, Baer’s pochard birds is also being monitored. The community are getting more aware and mobilised to provide the support for habitats restoration, biodiversity conservation and sustaining the ecosystem of Tanguar haor. A sense of ownership is being initiated among the community people through their active participation in management of natural resources which signify the sustainability of TH ecosystem.

Adoption of wise-use principle

Bangladesh government’s commitment on the part of authorities to co-management and the pro-poor option in the management of Tanguar Haor has been repeatedly affirmed. In the 6th Five month Plan, it has been quoted like, “Considering the importance of wetlands, the Government of Bangladesh ratified the Ramsar Convention in 1992. As a signatory to the Convention, government is committed for wise use and sustainable management of wetlands according to ‘Ramsar Wise Use Guidelines’.

Sustainable resource harvesting

The current management practice allows community to harvest fish from this wetland to a sustainable level under some conditions on biodiversity conservation issues. The community provide support for creating new swamp forests and protection of existing forests and reed lands on profit sharing basis. They are given responsibility of protection of TH resources with the help of law enforcement body deployed by the district administration. They are also given responsibility for monitoring of Tanguar Haor ecosystem by prescribed tools. With the consultation of community members a total of 2 guidelines for fish harvesting is developed that contribute to maintaining sustainable limit of fish harvesting, its habitat protection and restoration. Community led monitoring system is designed and plasticized by the community leaders for ensuring the ban period of fish catch and sustainable yield level of other resources.

Community participation in resources management plan

The project has  developed a tool called Participatory Resource Management Plans (PRMP) that helped community organizations to plan for resource management and accumulate financial capital to support different IGAs. Through negotiation with the state member the community people were given rights for fishing and harvesting other wetland resources which resulted in direct financial benefits to users and establishment of a community common fund.  PRMP has permitted a launching of discussions and awareness promotion with the communities of resource use and management aspects and community structures have been put in place in the form of 76 Village Coordination Committees (VCC), 4 Union Coordination Committees (UCC) and a Central Coordination Committee (CCC). Community participation in resources management plan makes the community more responsible in resource use which ultimately ensure sustainable use of resources.

Protocol for Biodiversity Monitoring

Biodiversity monitoring systems contribute to the improved conservation and sustainable use of forests and wetlands. Monitoring can show whether the biodiversity of an area is being maintained in accordance with the existing acts and provisions and if management interventions in the area are effective in addressing biodiversity conservation issues. The project has contributed to develop a biodiversity monitoring protocol for the conservation and improvement of biodiversity in the haor ecosystem. It has shown a successful intervention for conserving biodiversity of the TH ecosystem which was implanted through community participation. The protocol has assisted the community people to learn the process to identify the indicator species, their habitats, impact on the wetland ecosystem and finally to make decisions about further intervention in respect of biodiversity conservation and its management. For any protected area community based participatory monitoring of biodivesitycould be an effective tool for improving the conservation effort as well as sustainable use of resources.