Journal of Forestry Research

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 599–605 | Cite as

A journey towards shared governance: status and prospects for collaborative management in the protected areas of Bangladesh

  • A. Z. M. Manzoor Rashid
  • Donna Craig
  • Sharif Ahmed Mukul
  • Niaz Ahmed Khan
Original Paper


Establishment of Protected Areas (PAs), in the face of rapid deforestation, forest degradation and climate change has been one of the key efforts in conservation of biodiversity worldwide in recent times. While Bangladesh has gained a degree of prominence in the world for its successful social forestry programs, the concept of collaborative protected area management is rather new in the country, initiated in 2004 by the Bangladesh Forest Department in five PAs with financial assistance from USAID. Based on empirical evidence from three of the pilot PAs, we examined the achievements and associated challenges and prospects for co-management. Our fieldwork revealed a number of challenges faced by co-management institutions: (1) institutions were dominated by the elite group, overshadowing the voice of the community people; (2) mutual trust and collective performance are key to good governance but had not taken root in the PAs; (3) encroachment onto forest land and subsequent conversion to agriculture remained a serious problem that discouraged forest-dependent people from participating actively in co-management initiatives; (4) legal provisions (including acts, rules and policies) were not clearly and adequately disseminated and understood at the community level; (5) there remained a degree of ambiguity regarding the roles and responsibilities of forest department (FD) and co-management committees (CMC) in field operations, and this was not enhancing transparency and accountability of the overall initiative; (6) the long-term sustainability of co-management institutions was another major concern, as the local intuitional structure was still in a nascent stage, and provisioning of resources (either internally or externally) remained somewhat uncertain. We offer recommendations for improvement.


protected area co-management Nishorgo IPAC governance 


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Z. M. Manzoor Rashid
    • 1
    • 2
  • Donna Craig
    • 1
  • Sharif Ahmed Mukul
    • 3
  • Niaz Ahmed Khan
    • 4
  1. 1.Environmental Law, School of LawUniversity of Western SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Forestry and Environmental ScienceShahjalal University of Science and TechnologySylhetBangladesh
  3. 3.School of Agriculture and Food SciencesThe University of QueenslandQueenslandAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Development StudiesUniversity of DhakaDhakaBangladesh

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