Traditional utilization of wild date palm (Phoenix sylvestris) in rural Bangladesh: an approach to sustainable biodiversity management
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A study was conducted to explore the traditional utilization pattern and indigenous management practices of wild date palm (Phoenix sylvestris Roxb) in the rural agrarian regions of Bangladesh. A multistage sampling method with 10% intensity and a semi-structured questionnaire were used for the study. The farmers manage the palm mainly for sap production with which sugar based secondary goods are manufactured. The sap is either used fresh as drink or after some sort of processing as molasses and/or alcoholic beverage. Seven diversified sites support the palm as its habitat and most palms (20.40%) occur in orchards. Besides growing naturally, the palm is also established in orchards using the wildings as the staple planting material. Although the medium category farmers own most of the palms (33%), a considerable portion (28.68%) of it is managed by the landless farmers, who earn a substantial livelihood from the palms. The farmers practice their own indigenous wisdom in every stage of the palm’s maintenance from planting through tapping for sap collection to the processing of products. If managed more scientifically on a sustainable basis with the collaboration of farmers’ indigenous knowledge, this familiar palm could be able to support the rural economy of the country to a great extent. Side by side, it would also be able to contribute to the richness of biodiversity in the region.
KeywordsBangladesh indigenous knowledge molasses Khejur palm sap tapping
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