Farmers’ Perceptions and Attitudes Toward Aquasilviculture in the Periphery of the Sundarbans Forest of Bangladesh
Category:- Journal; Year:- 2021
Discipline:- Forestry & Wood Technology Discipline
School:- Life Science School
The Sundarbans is a protected forest ecosystem in Bangladesh. A large number of people depend on this forest for their livelihoods and income. Many farmers in the region are now adopting fish farming—specifically, aquasilviculture (multi-purpose production system that allows production of fish and perennial plants mostly trees), one of the most profitable agroforestry systems in many countries. The present study aimed to study the status, benefits, and farmers’ perceptions of and attitudes towards the practice of aquasilviculture in the periphery of the Sundarbans. It was conducted in the Shyamnagar upazilla (administrative district) in the southwestern part of Bangladesh, which is recognized as the most vulnerable upazilla on the coast. About 10% of the area’s shrimp farms were randomly selected and their farmers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Most farmers (87%) had a positive attitude toward and clear perception of aquasilviculture practices. Farmers also perceived that trees helped increase their income and provide sources of fuelwood, timber, and fodder for their livestock. The respondents mainly preferred to plant Albizia procera, Acacia nilotica, Azadirachta indica, Psidium guajava, Excoecaria agallocha, and Avicennia officinalis on the dikes of fishponds. Farmers considered increased levels of salinity in water and soils, lack of access to capital, and inadequate technical assistance the main barriers to the practice of aquasilviculture in the region. Aquasilviculture could be an environmentally friendly and climate-smart aquaculture practice in the area, one that increases green coverage on fishponds’ dikes while also improving the livelihoods of local farmers.