The definition of social forestry provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is any situation involving people directly involved in afforestation activities. Social afforestation includes activities based on forestry and government efforts to encourage and support group-based afforestation, rather than industrial afforestation and other forms of afforestation that support employment and wage-based development.

The history of social forestry in Bangladesh is closely linked with the introduction of institutional forest extension activities. Forest Extension Departments were formed in Rajshahi and Dhaka in 1962-63 and June 1 was declared as Tree Planting Day. Since the creation of the Forest Extension Department for the production and distribution of saplings, afforestation activities have been expanding. These afforestation activities, however, are limited to the establishment of nurseries and formal tree planting in the district headquarters and some important places. The tree planting campaign initially started for one day but later increased to one week, one month and last three months. The program was very limited at the beginning and did not have much impact on the people. It fails to change the attitudes of extension workers or the mood of the people. As a result, landless people are kept away from engaging in afforestation activities.

Mahbubul Alam Chashi, Prof. Yunus and Prof. Alim and some other entrepreneurs took up social forestry project in Bangladesh. They took up the project in two remote hills called Betagi and Pamora in the remote area of ​​Rangunia upazila of Chittagong district. For this, 101 families were selected and given land there. This program was kind of self-contained. These farmers do not get any outside grant. Krishi Bank used to disburse loans through Grameen Bank employees and disburse loans on condition of recovery. These activities are evaluated in the second and third year and satisfactory results are obtained. However, the number of selected 101 families decreased to 83. The experience gained from this project helps a lot in formulating more programs.

The social forestry program started from the group forestry project funded by the Asian Development Bank. For this, the Asian Development Bank sanctioned a loan of 11 million US dollars. In addition, the United Nations Development Program allocates  2 million in technical assistance through the Food and Agriculture Organization. The project lasted from 1982 to 1987 in Dinajpur, Rangpur, Pabna, Rajshahi, Bogra, Kushtia and Jessore in the seven larger districts of the North-West. The objective of this project was to increase the supply of fuel wood, cattle feed, small timber, fruits and other manufactured goods.

The main component of the project was 1. Planting about 4,800 km of trees along roads, railways and embankments; 2. Establishment of afforestation on 4,800 hectares of land and establishment of agro-forestry demonstration farms on 120 hectares of barren forest land through initiatives to supply fuel wood; 3. Establishment of a Social Forestry Training Institute at Rajshahi; 4. Provide training and equipment to employees as institutional support; 5. Training arrangements aimed at creating awareness among different classes of people; And 6. Establishment of regional and divisional offices in the project area. The project has been an overall success in involving the people in afforestation activities. The project involves women in a group-based afforestation program for the first time.

Following the success of the group-based afforestation project, the Asian Development Bank approved the 'Thana afforestation and nursery development' project. The project was spread all over the country except the Sundarbans and the hill districts of greater Chittagong. The material goal of the project was to create forest by involving the local people in the 16,194 hectares of deforested Shalban; Establishment of agro-forestry farms on the basis of partnership in 3289 hectares of uncovered evicted Shalban; Forestry on 810 hectares of land outside the Water Development Board area; Development of 6 of the former group-based deforestation centers, upgrading of 32 and maintenance of 51 and renaming of them as 'Forest Extension Nursery and Training Centers'; Production and distribution of 4.80-4.00 crore saplings during the project period; Training of 75,000 village leaders-local persons, block-supervisors, thana agricultural officers and forest department planting assistants, gardeners, staff and officers; Establishment of 345 more nurseries in police station complex; Creation of 17.60 km of slum forest along roads, railways and canal embankments; Production and distribution of 1.096 crore saplings in newly formed thana nurseries; And setting up of 100 private nurseries through training and financial assistance to entrepreneurs

Agroforestry is mainly related to social forestry and home forestry, the purpose of which is to use land for the purpose of combining agriculture and forestry. Its main purpose is to grow a tree or any similar fast-growing plant with the crop. Simultaneous use of the same land for different types of agricultural activities including agro-forestry, forest and animal husbandry activities is an important sustainable land management strategy. Although it is a traditional practice, it can be turned into a more realistic and dynamic model depending on the location of the land, region and environment. Apart from providing basic necessities to the people, agroforestry also plays an important role in maintaining the balance in the environment of a place. Agribusiness is essential for solving food problems, preventing desertification, rural and urban development, as a socio-economic initiative to solve national problems related to forest conservation and employment, and for optimal use of different land levels. Agroforestry helps in maintaining natural balance by providing opportunities for mutual development between forest trees and crop plants.

Although agro-forestry is relatively widespread in Bangladesh, its management is very poor. Tree selection and planting techniques are mostly done on a case-by-case basis, while the country is largely dependent on the vegetation grown around the homestead. As a result of population growth, rapid urbanization and other development activities, the agro-forestry system is rapidly declining. In many cases, about 10% of the home plants are cut down every year without planting new trees. Recently, more and more varieties of trees are being planted in the vicinity of agricultural lands. Several species have been considered suitable as a result of various experiments. These include acacia, coconut, date palm, jackfruit, palm, and mango main and shimul, white shimul, coconut, betel nut, litchi and some types of bamboo are the major trees that are grown on the plains for some cash items like fruits, expensive wood, fuel, housing tools. It can also be planted next to the land. It is recommended to plant neem, mango, khayer, shishu, jackfruit and a few species of bamboo in the flood plains of Teesta. The concept of agro-forestry is currently gaining popularity in Bangladesh.

Social forestry is a forestry program that involves the local poor as beneficiaries, of which they are the direct beneficiaries and beneficiaries. The local poor are actively involved in the adoption and implementation of social forestry plans, tree planting and maintenance, control and management of forest resources, distribution of dividends and reforestation. The main goal of social forestry is to ensure the social and economic benefits of landless, poor, widows and destitute rural people. The main objective of social forestry is to create employment opportunities for the poor to help them become self-reliant and to meet their food, fodder, fuel, furniture and capital needs. Social forestry plays an important role in the creation of nurseries, creation of forest resources by planting trees in marginal and fallow lands, deforestation, protection of degraded forests and increase in production, development of environment and conservation of biodiversity, empowerment and leadership of women and above all employment and poverty alleviation.

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