Forests and trees generate a range of ecosystem services that are direct sources of food, energy and income to hundreds of millions of rural people, and indirectly supporting agriculture food production by stabilising soils and climate, and regulating water flows. Despite these benefits and services, sustainable uses of forests and trees remain a significant challenge. Agricultural land uses for commercial and subsistence purposes pose a threat to forests. But to secure the food demand elsewhere, the use of forest resources and agricultural production is essential. So a greater understanding of these lands uses will be important for improving food security and human well-being.
Bangladesh is one of the most land-scarce, lightly forested and highly populated agrarian countries within Southern Asia. Millions of people in the rural Chittagong Hill Tracts region rely on forests, trees and agriculture for their social, economic and cultural needs. However, during the last half century, natural forest areas have declined dramatically by almost 50 percent. Excessive resource extraction, land use by the swidden farming and monoculture plantation has reduced natural forest cover significantly which has affected local food security situation in this region. But, there is a lack of understanding about the changes in forest and land use benefits regarding ecosystem service provisions to sustain rural livelihoods in the landscape.
Within this context, my PhD research will examine the benefits of forest and land uses with a particular focus on trend and impacts of forest and agriculture land use changes on food productions at a landscape scale.