Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Wild Fodder Yielding Plants in the Protected Areas of Bangladesh

Written By

Md Akhter Hossain, Rajib Mahmud, Nikhil Chakma and Mohammed Kamal Hossain

Submitted: October 8th, 2018 Reviewed: February 14th, 2019 Published: October 15th, 2019

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.85205

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Abstract

Wildlife habitat is degrading worldwide due to myriads of biotic and abiotic reasons. The governments across the world countries are trying to halt the degradation through declaring protected areas (PAs) with potential wildlife habitats and strengthening conservation initiatives. These measures are expected to uphold the richness and diversity of the fodder yielding plants. But there is a dire necessity of information on composition and overall status of the fodder yielding plants for continuous monitoring of these habitats. Moreover, the potentiality of the protected areas can also be judged based on the composition and richness of fodder yielding plants. Having all these in mind, we assessed the composition and conservation status of the fodder yielding plants of all habit forms from three recognized protected areas named Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary, Dudhpukuria-Dhopachari Wildlife Sanctuary, and Madhupur National Park. The study indicated the presence of 306 fodder yielding plant species of all habit forms in the three studied protected areas. This chapter describes the composition, status, habit forms, and nature of occurrences of the wild fodder yielding plants which is expected to be highly helpful in wildlife habitat monitoring and undertaking specific measures for multiplication and conservation of fodder yielding plants.

Keywords

  • wildlife habitat
  • national park
  • forests
  • habitat monitoring
  • wildlife sanctuary

1. Introduction

Grasses, shrubs, and different palatable parts of trees, i.e., leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds, that have nutritive values constitute fodder of wild herbivores [1]. The wildlife population greatly depends on the habitat richness with food, nesting, and breeding environment. The wild fruit and fodder-producing plants play a great role in maintaining ecosystem food supply. The plants are from different habit forms and taxonomic families. Plants from Poaceae, Cyperaceae, Fabaceae, Moraceae, Myrtaceae, and Zingiberaceae families particularly the leguminous plants dominate the fodder-producing plants [2]. There are significant seasonal variation of fodder availability and composition to which the wild animals’ nutrition needs are naturally adapted [3]. Insects, birds, chordates, and reptiles have different nesting and breeding natures which varies widely from each other. The habitat resources and overall conditions including food, water, shade, nesting, etc. are needed by a species for survival and reproductive success [4]. Moreover, habitat is organism-specific; the appropriate combination of necessary abiotic and biotic components for successful reproduction and survival varies by species [5].

The global forests are drastically shrinking day by day due to a huge pressure on forests for conversion to other land use, human settlement, excessive resource extraction, etc. All these are affecting biodiversity negatively particularly the wildlife habitat which is degrading in an alarming way which leads to rapid shrinking of wildlife population and making them threatened. Declaring protected area (PA) is a worldwide strategy accepted for wildlife habitat conservation and ensuring undisturbed breeding ground by halting further fragmentation and degradation of habitat. This chapter presents the status of the protected areas from different corners of Bangladesh in terms of fodder yielding plant composition as well as the importance of fodder plant management for maintaining a healthy wildlife habitat. We identified three protected areas of characteristic features for studying the wild fodder yielding plants so that these represent all the PA of Bangladesh. This chapter also presents a brief account on the protected area management in Bangladesh as well as potentiality of those areas as wildlife habitats.

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2. Rationale of the study

Quality of the wildlife habitat largely depends on the nature and composition of vegetation as it determines the nesting, breeding, and feeding potentiality of the habitats. The habitat degradation is causing loss of regeneration of many of the fodder plants. Moreover, overexploitation is also responsible for sharp reduction of the population size of the fodder plants [6]. It is important to detect the food habit of the herbivores and identify the fodder plants and their interactions with animals for sustainable management of the protected areas through wildlife conservation and undisturbed breeding ground [7]. But, in Bangladesh, there is a great dearth of information and research on the wild fodder-bearing trees. Information on the status and availability of plants will be helpful for better planning and management interventions of the PAs as wildlife habitats. The plants used as fodder by the animals are rich in necessary nutrition, i.e., protein, carbohydrate, fiber, etc. The ability of fodder plants to provide this range of nutrients is considered to evaluate potentiality of their nutritive values. Considering the mentioned situations, the study was undertaken to assess the overall composition of fodder plants as well as highlight their contributions for better maintaining a wildlife habitat. However, there is still a need for investigation of the nutritive values as many of the species were not explored yet [6]. We believe this study will fill up the knowledge gap on fodder yielding plant composition in the PA of Bangladesh as well as it will show the way for further research and interventions to habitat conservation and sustainable management.

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3. Status of wildlife in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the home of more than 3883 species of lower faunal groups along with 653 fish species, 49 amphibians, 154 reptiles, 706 birds, and 128 mammals. The fish communities including both freshwater and marine species are so diverse that they account an astonishing 3% of the world’s total fish species. In addition to the 383 resident birds, there are 323 migratory birds which visit our country especially during the winter. Both of these represent an amazing 7.2% of the world’s total bird species. Mammals constitute 2.28% of the world’s mammal species among which seven are marine in nature [8]. Though our wildlife diversity is very rich, but over the last century unfortunately 13 species have become extinct from Bangladesh. Due to continuity of habitat degradation, many more are on the brink of extinction. Different reports indicated that 23% of vertebrates of Bangladesh are facing different levels of threats which are increasing exponentially with rapid habitat destruction. The situation is even more grim for the 57% of reptiles and 36% of mammals which are facing different levels of threats in our country [9]. Recently, the IUCN listed 40 species of mammals, 41 aves, 58 reptiles, and 8 amphibians that are struggling under various degrees of threat of extinction. It is obvious that the present wildlife population is confined and distributed irregularly in limited forest patches of Bangladesh (Table 1).

Vertebrate groups No. of species References
Fish 653 [9]
Amphibians 64 [8]
Reptiles 174 [8]
Birds 711 [8]
Mammals 133 [8]

Table 1.

Number of recorded fauna of Bangladesh.

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4. Wildlife habitats in Bangladesh

Among the 5 global ecological domains and 20 global ecological zones of the world, 33% of Bangladesh belongs to tropical rain forest GEZ and 67% to tropical moist deciduous forest GEZ of the tropical domains of global ecological domains [10]. The variation in climatic features, i.e., temperature, rainfall, soil, and hydrology, led to the development of 25 bioecological zones with distinct characteristics. Bangladesh has 1.45 million ha of forest land (9.8% of total area) of which 1.21 million ha (84% of forest) is natural forest and 0.24 million ha (16% of forest) is plantations [10].

Vegetation characteristics divided the natural forests of Bangladesh into evergreen/semievergreen, deciduous, and mangrove forest. Noncontinuous freshwater swamp is distributed in the northeast basin. Tropical evergreen and semievergreen forests constituting 44% of natural forest are extended over Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Cox’s Bazar, and Sylhet covering an area of 6700 km2 which is about 4.54% of total landmass of Bangladesh. Dominant native plant species include species of Dipterocarpus spp., Artocarpus spp., Ficus spp., Syzygium spp., Mangifera spp., Tectona grandis, etc. The moist deciduous Sal forest of Bangladesh is mainly consisted of Madhupur tract which is located in the central part covering an area of 340 km2 [10]. Dominant trees of this forest are Shorea robusta, Lagerstroemia speciosa, Dillenia pentagyna, Adina cordifolia, Terminalia spp., Albizia spp., etc. The Sundarbans, the largest single patch of mangrove forest, is located at the southern extremity of the Padma (Ganges) and Jamuna (Brahmaputra) delta which covers about 5770 km2 area [11]. Fairly dense evergreen plant species of 10–15 m height is the main feature of this forest. These species are adapted for living under saline condition and regular inundation by the tides. Succulent leaves, stilt roots, pneumatophores, and viviparous germination are the key features of these plants. Heritiera fomes, Excoecaria agallocha, Nypa fruticans, Sonneratia apetala, Rhizophora spp., Ceriops decandra, Phoenix paludosa, and Acrostichum aureum are the common plants of the Sundarbans. Wetlands of Bangladesh also support a large number of plants and wild animals of the country. Nearly 50% (8 million ha) of the total land surface of the country including river, natural lakes, tanks, reservoir, mangrove forests, estuarine, and seasonally inundated floodplains are considered as wetland.

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5. Protected areas of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is situated in the northeastern part of the South Asia region, lying between 20°25′ and 26°38′ north latitude and 88°01′ and 92°40′ east longitude. The country is bordered by India to the north, northeast, and west, Myanmar to the southeast, and the Bay of Bengal covering the southern part with a coastline of 710 km. The climate of Bangladesh is tropical, with maximum summer temperature rising between 32 and 38°C. Annual rainfall ranges between 200 and 400 cm. Biogeographically the country lies at the junction of the Indian and Malayan subregions of the Indo-Malayan Realm and is located very near to the western side of Sino-Japanese region.

5.1. Protected area management strategies

Protected areas are “areas especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity and associated cultural resources, which are managed through legal or other effective means, designated or regulated and managed to achieve specific conservation objectives” [12, 13]. PAs have long been considered as the cornerstone of all national and regional conservation strategies. While it is often argued that they are the most effective and widespread measure for conserving forests and biodiversity [13, 14], the importance of complementary off-reserve management has also been acknowledged [15, 16, 17]. Globally, the number of PAs has increased significantly over the last few decades in recognition of their importance for conservation. At present, there are more than 100,000 protected area sites worldwide, covering nearly 12% of the world’s land surface [18, 19, 20]. Currently there are 34 forest PAs in Bangladesh which represent about 17.5% of the total forest land of the country and 1.8% of country’s total land [21].

Bangladesh Forest Department shifts its paradigm of conventional forest management to community-led management for ensuring effective governance of natural resources. A total of 34 reserved forests have been declared as protected area where 23 PAs are managed through active participation of community people which is known as co-management. Community people come forward along with the forest department regarding conservation through ensuring sustainable natural resource management.

5.2. Legal frameworks of the protected areas of Bangladesh

The forestry sector of Bangladesh plays an important role in combating poverty for the people living in and around the forest. The history of forest management in Bangladesh is quite old and was shaped and influenced by colonial forest policy. The Forest Policy, 1979, was the first of its kind and was very much influenced by the colonial policy of forest management [22]. Over time this policy proved ineffective due to various socioeconomic factors such as population growth, poverty, overexploitation of resources, and top-down, centralized management approaches. It was felt by experts, communities, and policy makers that a new dimension to the existing forest policy was needed. The Forest Policy, 1994, specifically recognized the importance of peoples’ participation in forest management [23]. Another notable achievement of the 1994 policy was that it has succeeded in bringing tree plantation activities outside the forest area [24].

Most importantly, significant developments in Bangladesh forest legal and policy frameworks took place after the formulation of the 1994 policy [25]. Community participation in the forestry sector of Bangladesh has a long history that can be traced back as early as 1871, to teak plantations of Chittagong Hill Tracts managed by the tribal farmers. However, participation of community people in the forestry sector officially began in the 1980s. Donor-assisted community forestry project was the first attempt of its kind in the northwestern districts of Bangladesh. It gradually spread to other parts of the country through various projects and forms such as the Thana Afforestation and Nursery Development Project (TANDP), the Coastal Greenbelt Project (CGP), and the Forestry Sector Project (FSP). Despite the initial success in achieving physical targets, i.e., increase of plantation coverage, these projects failed to develop a mechanism to attract and engage local communities. They lacked institutional, personal, and community capacity building, legitimacy on usufruct rights, active community participation, and devolution of the decision-making power under the continued influence of “command and control” strategies. The introduction of co-management in the forest PAs is an effort to overcome these limitations to incorporate active community participation as a core aspect of PA governance [23]. The government of Bangladesh started introducing and implementing co-management in five forest PAs under a pilot project titled Nishorgo Support Project (hereafter referred to as NSP) for a period of 5 years (2004–2009) [26]. Many countries have already developed enabling legal and policy frameworks to support community rights and access and have thereby offered better incentives in the governance of the PAs and the resources sustained by them.

5.3. Protected areas as a potential wildlife habitat

As an effective tool, the protected areas are recognized internationally for the conservation of biodiversity. Currently the PAs of Bangladesh represent most of the ecosystems and thus include all habitats and species that are vital for conservation. The Bangladesh Forest Department under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change manages a network of 17 national parks, 20 wildlife sanctuaries, 2 special biodiversity conservation areas, 1 marine protected area, 2 vulture safe zones, 2 botanical gardens, 2 safari parks, 10 eco-parks, and 1 aviary park. The total area under this protected area status covers 618253.49 ha of forest land and represents 4.19% area of the country [27]. The primary purpose of these sites is to conserve and protect habitat for wildlife, including migratory birds, species at risk, and other species of national interest.

5.4. Fodder plants in the protected areas of Bangladesh

As a sample of protected areas of Bangladesh, we reviewed the floristic studies [28, 29, 30] conducted in three protected areas of Bangladesh with characteristic features. They are “Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary,” Dudhpukuria-Dhopachari Wildlife Sanctuary, and “Madhupur National Park.” We used the plant data collected during the field survey as secondary data for assessing the fodder yielding plants with due permission from the respective authors. The identified plants were then explored with their use and conservation status following the encyclopedia of flora and fauna of Bangladesh [31].

Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary, established in 1986, is familiar as the habitat and breeding ground of the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). It is one of the oldest PAs of Bangladesh rich with 691 plants from all habit forms [28]. In addition to the Asian elephant, Chunati harbors 26 species of amphibians, 54 reptiles, 252 birds, and 40 mammals [32]. Tables 2 and 3 provide a detailed account of the flora and fauna of the selected protected areas. Dudhpukuria-Dhopachari Wildlife Sanctuary is a comparatively new protected area that is declared in 2010. It covers an area of 4716 ha rich in both floral and faunal diversity. The wildlife sanctuary harbors 608 plant species and 385 wildlife [29]. However, the Asian elephant is also the flagship animal of this PA. Madhupur National Park, also one of the oldest protected areas, was declared in 1982. It is situated in the central region of Bangladesh covered with mainly deciduous Shorea robusta. It harbors 385 plant species from all habit forms and 192 wildlife including amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles (Tables 2 and 3).

We identified the wild fodder yielding flora of different habit forms following the encyclopedia of flora and fauna of Bangladesh [31]. The review indicated that each of the protected areas harbors a substantial number of fodder yielding plants from different habit forms (Table 2).

5.4.1. Trees

A total of 112 tree species belonging to 71 genera and 32 families were found to yield part of it (i.e., leaves, branch, fruit, seed, flower, etc.) as fodder. A comparison number of species in the selected PAs indicated that CWS has 87 species, whereas DDWS and MNP showed 69 and 67 species, respectively (Table 4). Density of the fodder yielding tree species varied greatly with PAs. Ficus hispida was having the highest stem density in CWS, whereas in DDWS Grewia nervosa and Artocarpus chama were having the highest density. On the other hand, Mallotus philippensis and Protium serratum were the two mostly dense tree species in MNP. There were 15 fodder yielding exotic tree species in the three protected areas. The studies indicated that density of very few species was good (10 stems/ha); however most of them are having very poor density which apparently seems not indicative of a rich wildlife habitat.

Habit forms Number of species reported from the selected protected areas
Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary Dudhpukuria-Dhopachari Wildlife Sanctuary Madhupur National Park
Total Fodder yielding Total Fodder yielding Total Fodder yielding
Trees 240 81 182 61 139 70
Shrubs 102 17 125 21 48 10
Herbs 211 61 200 70 136 43
Climbers 106 25 71 8 46 22
Ferns 19 4 17 4 9 2
Epiphytes 7 7 7
Parasites 6 6
Total 691 188 608 164 385 147

Table 2.

Flora of the selected protected areas [28, 29, 30].

Groups Number of species in the selected protected areas
Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary Dudhpukuria-Dhopachari Wildlife Sanctuary Madhupur National Park
Amphibians 26 25 17
Birds 252 231 120
Fish 10 23
Mammals 40 50 27
Reptiles 54 56 28

Table 3.

Fauna of the selected protected areas [28, 29, 30].

SN Botanical name Local name Family Conservation status Density in PAs (stem/ha)
CWS DDWS MNP
1 Acacia mangium Willd. Mangium Mimosaceae LC 24.3 0.4 0.4
2 Acronychia pedunculata (L.) Miq. Bonjamir, Jairgola Rutaceae NE 0.2 10.6
3 Aegle marmelos (L.) Corr. Bel Rutaceae LC 0.1 0.4 0.4
4 Alangium chinense (Lour.) Harms Marleza Gachh Alangiaceae NE (rare) 3.6
5 Albizia chinensis (Osb.) Merr. Chakua Koroi Mimosaceae LC 4 4.8 0.9
6 Albizia lebbeck (L.) Benth. & Hook Kala Koroi Mimosaceae LC 1.3
7 Albizia odoratissima (L. f.) Benth. Tetoyakoroi Mimosaceae LC 0.4 4.4
8 Anacardium occidentale L. Kajubadam Anacardiaceae LC 0.8
9 Annona squamosa L. Ata Annonaceae LC 0.4 0.4
10 Antidesma acidum Retz. Elena Euphorbiaceae LC 0.8 0.4
11 Antidesma acuminatum Wall. in Wight. Chokoi Euphorbiaceae LC 0.4
12 Antidesma bunius (L.) Spreng. Wishwar choa, Banshial Boka Euphorbiaceae LC 1.3 0.4
13 Antidesma ghaesembilla Gaertn. Chokoi, Elena Euphorbiaceae LC 0.2 2.6
14 Aphanamixis polystachya (Wall.) R.N. Parker. Ptiraj Mimosaceae LC 0.8 3.8 0.4
15 Aporosa dioica (Roxb.) Mull.Arg. Castoma Euphorbiaceae NE 3.8
16 Aporosa sp. Kharjon Euphorbiaceae NE 23.3
17 Areca catechu L. Supari Arecaceae LC 0.2 0.4
18 Artocarpus chama Buch.-Ham. ex Wall. Chapalish, Chambal Moraceae NE (rare) 3.9 17.6 0.4
19 Artocarpus heterophyllus Lamk. Kanthal Moraceae NE (rare) 4.3 0.2 0.4
20 Artocarpus lacucha Buch.-Ham. Borta Moraceae LC 2.4 4.4 1.3
21 Averrhoa bilimbi L. Belombo Oxalidaceae LC 0.2
22 Averrhoa carambola L. Kamranga Oxalidaceae LC 0.2
23 Baccaurea ramiflora Lour. Lotkon Euphorbiaceae LC 0.1 0.2
24 Borassus flabellifer L. Tal Arecaceae LC 0.2 0.4
25 Bridelia retusa (L.) A. Juss. Kata Kushui, Kata Koi Euphorbiaceae LC 0.6
26 Buchanania lancifolia Roxb. Anacardiaceae NE (rare) 0.2
27 Callicarpa arborea Roxb. Bormala, Khoja Verbenaceae LC 7.4 6.8 0.4
28 Calophyllum polyanthum Wall. ex Choisy Chandua, Kamdeb Clusiaceae NE (rare) 0.6
29 Cassia fistula L. Sonalu Caesalpiniaceae LC 0.5 1 1.7
30 Citrus reticulata Blanco Komla Rutaceae LC 0.1 0.4
31 Clausena heptaphylla (Roxb.) Wight & Arn. ex Steud. Karan phal, Panbahar, sada Moricha Rutaceae LC 1.12 0.2
32 Cleistocalyx nervosum (DC.) Kosterm. var. paniala (Roxb.) J. Parn. & P. Chantaranothai Myrtaceae LC 0.2 2.2
33 Cocos nucifera L. Narikel Arecaceae LC 0.2 0.6 0.4
34 Cordia dichotoma Forst. f. Bolla gota, Bohal, Bhola Boraginaceae LC 0.4
35 Cordia dichotoma Forst. f. Bohal Boraginaceae LC 0.3 0.4
36 Crateva magna (Lour.) DC. Capparaceae LC 0.3
37 Cryptocarya amygdalina Nees. Ojha Lauraceae NE (rare) 2.5 3.4 21.9
38 Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. Sissoo Fabaceae LC 0.1
39 Dillenia indica L. Chalta Dilleniaceae LC 0.2 0.2
40 Dillenia scabrella Roxb. ex Wall. Ajuli, Ajugi Dilleniaceae LC 4.1 5.8 0.4
41 Diospyros blancoi A. DC. Bilati gab Ebenaceae LC 0.2 0.4
42 Diospyros malabarica (Desr.) Kostel. Deshi gab Ebenaceae LC 0.2 1.4
43 Elaeis guineensis Jacq. Palm oil Arecaceae NE 0.3 0.4
44 Elaeocarpus floribundus Blume Titpai Elaeocarpaceae LC 0.2 1.8 1.3
45 Elaeocarpus tectorius (Lour.) Poir. Jalpai Elaeocarpaceae LC 2.5 2.2
46 Ficus auriculata Lour. Lal Dumur Moraceae LC 1.6 0.8
47 Ficus benghalensis L. Bot Moraceae LC 0.6 1.2 1.7
48 Ficus hispida L. f. Dumur Moraceae LC 26.9 4.6 0.9
49 Ficus lanceolata Buch.-Ham. ex Roxb. Moraceae V 0.3
50 Ficus racemosa L. Dumur, Jagyadumur Moraceae LC 0.3 2.4 0.9
51 Ficus religiosa L. Bot Moraceae LC 0.4
52 Ficus rumphii Bl. Bot Moraceae LC 0.4
53 Ficus semicordata Buch.-Ham. ex Smith Chokorgola Moraceae NE 0.9 0.8
54 Ficus tinctoria G. Forst. subsp. gibbosa (Blume) Corner Moraceae NE (rare) 0.1
55 Ficus variegata Blume Moraceae NE 0.4 5.2
56 Ficus virens Ait. Pakur, Pakar, Paikur Moraceae LC 0.1 0.9
57 Firmiana colorata (Roxb.) R. Br. Udal Sterculiaceae LC 0.2
58 Flacourtia jangomas (Lour.) Raeusch. Painnagola Flacourtiaceae LC 1.2 0.2 0.9
59 Garcinia cowa Roxb. ex DC. Cao Clusiaceae NE (rare) 9.3 5.2 2.2
60 Garcinia lanceaefolia Roxb. Clusiaceae NE 0.2
61 Garcinia xanthochymus Hook. f. ex T. Anders. Tamal, Dephal Clusiaceae LC 1
62 Garuga pinnata Roxb. Bhadi, Silbhadi, Jeolbhadi Burseraceae LC 0.2 7 3.9
63 Grewia nervosa (Lour.) Panigr. Datoi Tiliaceae LC 8.5 19.2 22.4
64 Grewia sapida Roxb. ex DC. Naricha Tiliaceae LC 0.2
65 Grewia tiliifolia Vahl. Pholsa, Dhomoni Tiliaceae LC 0.6
66 Grewia serrulata DC. Naricha Tiliaceae LC 0.4
67 Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. ex A. Juss.) Mull.Arg. Rubber Euphorbiaceae LC 0.4
68 Hydnocarpus laurifolius (Dennst.) Sleum. Hiddigach Flacourtiaceae NE (rare) 1.4 5.2
69 Lannea coromandelica (Houtt.) Merr. Jialbhadi Anacardiaceae LC 4 0.2 3.9
70 Lepisanthes rubiginosa (Roxb.) Leenh. Sapindaceae LC 0.2 0.2
71 Lepisanthes senegalensis (Poir.) Leenh. Gotaharina Sapindaceae LC 0.2 0.2
72 Litchi chinensis Sonn. Litchu, Lychee Sapindaceae LC 1.0 0.4
73 Maesa indica (Roxb.) A. DC. Maesa, Moricha, Romjani Myrsinaceae CD 0.1 2.2
74 Mallotus philippensis (Lamk.) Mull.Arg. Sinduri Euphorbiaceae CD 0.6 0.2 60. 8
75 Mangifera indica L. Am Anacardiaceae LC 2.9 0.4 0.9
76 Mangifera sylvatica Roxb. Uriam Anacardiaceae V 0.1 0.2
77 Manilkara zapota (L.) P. van Royen Sofeda Sapotaceae LC 0.4
78 Miliusa velutina (Dunal) Hook. f. Gandhi gajari Annonaceae LC 3.0
79 Moringa oleifera Lamk. Sajna Moringaceae NE 0.9
80 Peltophorum pterocarpum (DC.) K. Heyne Radhachura, Halud Krisnachura Caesalpiniaceae LC 0.4 0.4
81 Phoebe lanceolata (Ness) Ness Chaongri, Dulia Lauraceae NE 0.2
82 Phoenix acaulis Roxb. Bon Khejur, Khudi khejur Arecaceae V 0.4
83 Phoenix sylvestris Roxb. Khejur Arecaceae LC 0.2 0.4 0.4
84 Phyllanthus emblica L. Amloki Euphorbiaceae LC 2.4 2 0.9
85 Protium serratum (Wall. ex Colebr.) Engl. Gotgutia Burseraceae LC 2.1 12.2 32.8
86 Psidium guajava L. Payara Myrtaceae LC 4.2 0.2 0.4
87 Samanea saman (Jacq.) Merr. Raintree Mimosaceae LC 0.4 0.9
88 Sapium baccatum Roxb. Cham phata Euphorbiaceae LC 0.4 3
89 Schleichera oleosa (Lour.) Oken. Joyna, Kusum Sapindaceae NE 14.2
90 Semecarpus anacardium L.f. Bheula, Bhela Anacardiaceae NE 11.2
91 Senna siamea (Lamk.) Irwin & Barneby Minjiri Caesalpiniaceae LC 3.6 1.8 0.4
92 Spondias pinnata (L.f.) Kurz Bon-Amra, Piala Anacardiaceae LC 3.4 0.4
93 Sterculia hamiltonii (O. Kuntze) Adelb. Sterculiaceae LC 0.2
94 Streblus asper Lour. Sheora, Harba Moraceae LC 1.5 2 0.9
95 Syzygium balsameum (Wight) Walp. Buti Jam Myrtaceae LC 1
96 Syzygium claviflorum (Roxb.) A. M. Cowan & J. M. Cowan Myrtaceae LC 3.8 0.4
97 Syzygium cumini (L.) Skeels Kalojam Myrtaceae LC 1.3 0.8 0.9
98 Syzygium cymosum DC. Khudi Jam Myrtaceae NE 0.2
99 Syzygium firmum Thw. Dhaki jam Myrtaceae LC 7.5 1.8 0.4
100 Syzygium fruticosum (Wall.) Masamune Putijam Myrtaceae LC 13.0 1 6.5
101 Syzygium jambos (L.) Alston Gulapjam Myrtaceae LC 0.2
102 Syzygium praecox (Roxb.) Rathakr. & N. C. Nair Myrtaceae NE 0.2
103 Syzygium tetragonum Wall. ex Kurz. Pholda jam, Lal Pholda Myrtaceae NE 3
104 Tamarindus indica L. Tentul Caesalpiniaceae LC 0.1 0.6 0.9
105 Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb. Bohera Combretaceae LC 7.5 10.6 29.3
106 Terminalia catappa L. Katbadam Combretaceae LC 0.2
107 Terminalia chebula Retz. Haritaki Combretaceae V 0.8 0.6 4.7
108 Tetrameles nudiflora R. Br. Chandul, Maina Kat Datiscaceae NE 0.1 1.8
109 Trema orientalis (L.) Blume Jiban, Naricha Ulmaceae LC 5.1 0.2 0.4
110 Vitex glabrata R.Br. Goda arsol, Hakuni gach Verbenaceae LC 1.0 1.4 0.9
111 Vitex peduncularis Wall. ex Schauer Goda Verbenaceae NE (rare) 3.3 11 0.9
112 Ziziphus mauritiana Lamk. Boroi Rhamnaceae LC 0.2 0.4

Table 4.

List of fodder yielding trees in three selected protected areas [here, LC, least concern; NE, not evaluated; NE (rare), not evaluated but seems to be rare].

5.4.2. Shrubs

There were 27 fodder yielding shrubby species recorded from the selected three protected areas. These species taxonomically belong to 23 genera and 15 families (Table 5). Both CWS and DDWS were represented by 17 shrubby fodder yielding species, whereas MNP showed 14 species indicating its comparative inferiority of supporting wildlife. However, Cajanus cajan and Manihot esculenta were the two exotic fodder species recorded from the cultivation sites of MNP and CWS.

SN Botanical name Local name Family Conservation status Occurrence in selected PAs
CWS DDWS MNP
1 Bambusa tulda Roxb. Mitinga, Mitinga, Mirtinga, Taralla, Tolla bansh Poaceae LC
2 Bambusa vulgaris Schrad. ex Wendl. Baijja, Baria, Jowa Bansh, Bangla Bans, Ora Bansh Poaceae LC
3 Bauhinia acuminata L. Caesalpiniaceae LC
4 Bridelia stipularis (L.) Blume Sitki (climbing) Euphorbiaceae LC
5 Caesalpinia hymenocarpa (Prain) Hattink. Caesalpiniaceae NE (rare)
6 Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp. Arhor, Sarata alu, Sortai alu Fabaceae LC
7 Capparis zeylanica L. Capparaceae LC
8 Citrus aurantifolia (Christm. & Panzer) Swingle Lebu Rutaceae LC
9 Clausena suffruticosa (Roxb.) Wight & Arn. Sadamoricha Rutaceae LC
10 Clerodendrum serratum (L.) Moon Verbenaceae NE
11 Crotalaria spectabilis Roth Pipli-jhunjan Fabaceae LC
12 Dendrocalamus longispathus (Kurz) Kurz Ora Poaceae NE
13 Grewia asiatica L. Pholsa Tiliaceae NE (rare)
14 Grewia serrulata DC. Panisara, Pichandi, Khulla damor Tiliaceae LC
15 Helicia erratica Hook. f. Proteaceae NT
16 Maclura cochinchinensis (Lour.) Corner Moraceae LC
17 Manihot esculenta Crantz Cassava, Gach alu Euphorbiaceae LC
18 Melocanna baccifera (Roxb.) Kurz Muli Poaceae LC
19 Murraya koenigii (L.) Spreng. Rutaceae LC
20 Phlogacanthus thyrsiformis Roxb ex D. J. Mabberley Acanthaceae NE
21 Premna esculenta Roxb. Lalana Verbenaceae LC
22 Punica granatum L. Dalim Punicaceae LC
23 Sarcochlamys pulcherrima Gaudich. Jangallya shak, Maricha Urticaceae NE
24 Solanum melongena L. Begun Solanaceae LC
25 Solanum torvum Sw. Tit begun, Gota begun Solanaceae LC
26 Ziziphus oenoplia (L.) Mill. Bonboroi, Toktoki kanta, Tokni boroi Rhamnaceae LC
27 Ziziphus rugosa Lamk. Jangli Boroi, Anoi, Anoi gota, Anari gota Rhamnaceae NE

Table 5.

List of fodder yielding shrubs reported from the selected protected areas [here, LC, least concern; NE, not evaluated; NE (rare), not evaluated but seems to be rare].

5.4.3. Herbs

The review revealed a total of a higher number of fodder yielding herbs occurring in the protected areas. One hundred twenty-one herbaceous species belonging to 82 genera and 29 families were recorded from the protected areas (Table 6). DDWS was represented with the highest number of herb species (70 species) which was followed by CWS and MNP with 60 and 39 herb species, respectively. A substantial number of (15 species) herbs that are reported growing in and around the protected areas were introduced in Bangladesh at different times, and most of these were found to be cultivated in the adjacent forest areas of the protected areas. Wildlife takes advantages of cultivation by raiding them for food especially during the cultivation season. The conservation status of three fodder yielding herbs was vulnerable, i.e., Colocasia oresbia, Homalomena coerulescens, and Polygala furcata.

SN Botanical name Local name Family Conservation status Occurrence in selected PAs
CWS DDWS MNP
1 Acroceras tonkinense (Balansa) C.E. Hubb. ex Bor Poaceae LC
2 Actinoscirpus grossus (L.f.) Goetgh & D. A. Simpson Kasuru, Kasari, Kesar Cyperaceae LC
3 Allium cepa L. Piyaj Liliaceae LC
4 Allium sativum L. Rashun Liliaceae LC
5 Alocasia macrorrhizos (L.) G. Don Mankatchu Araceae LC
6 Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb. Helencha, Malancha shak Amaranthaceae LC
7 Amaranthus spinosus L. Kantashakh, Kata Notay, Khoira kanta Amaranthaceae LC
8 Amaranthus tricolor L. Lalshakh, Danga, Data shak Amaranthaceae LC
9 Amischophacelus axillaris (L.) Rolla Rao & Kamm. Baghanulla Commelinaceae LC
10 Amorphophallus bulbifer (Roxb.) Blume Amla-bela, Jongle Ol. Araceae LC
11 Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (Dennst.) Nicolson Bag katchu, Batema katchu Araceae LC
12 Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. Anarosh Bromeliaceae LC
13 Aponogeton echinatus Roxb. Ghechu Aponogetonaceae CD
14 Aponogeton natans (L.) Engl. & Krause Aponogetonaceae NT
15 Arundo donax L. Poaceae LC
16 Axonopus compressus (Sw.) P. Beauv. Ghora dubo Har, Farak pata Poaceae LC
17 Bothriochloa bladhii (Retz.) S. T. Blake Gandha Gourana Poaceae LC
18 Brachiaria decumbens Stapf Poaceae LC
19 Brachiaria distachya (L.) Stapf Corighas Poaceae LC
20 Brachiaria kurzii (Hook. f.) A. Camus Poaceae LC
21 Brachiaria reptans (L.) Gard. & Hubb. Poaceae LC
22 Brassica oleracea L. var. botrytis L. Phulkopi Brassicaceae LC
23 Bryophyllum pinnatum (Lamk.) Oken Pathorkutchi, Pathorchura Crassulaceae LC
24 Capillipedium assimile (Steud.) A Camus Poaceae DD
25 Capsicum annuum L. Morich Solanaceae LC
26 Capsicum frutescens L. Morich Solanaceae LC
27 Carica papaya L. Papaya, Pape Caricaceae LC
28 Centella asiatica (L.) Urban Thankuni Apiaceae LC
29 Chenopodium album L. Batua Shakh Chenopodiaceae LC
30 Chrysopogon aciculatus (Retz.) Trin Lengra, Premkanta Poaceae LC
31 Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott Katchu Araceae LC
32 Colocasia fallax Schott Araceae LC
33 Colocasia oresbia A. Hay Sadakachu Araceae V
34 Commelina benghalensis L. Dholpata, Kanchira Commelinaceae LC
35 Commelina sikkimensis C.B. Clarke Batbaithia Shag Commelinaceae CD
36 Corchorus capsularis L. Pat shakh Tiliaceae LC
37 Curcuma longa L. Halud Zingiberaceae LC
38 Cyanotis cristata (L.) D. Don Commelinaceae LC
39 Cymbopogon citratus (DC) Stapf Dhan Sabarang, Lemon Ghas Poaceae CD
40 Cynodon arcuatus J. S. Presl ex C. B. Presl Poaceae LC
41 Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. Durba grass Poaceae LC
42 Cyperus corymbosus Rottb. Gola Methi Cyperaceae NE
43 Cyperus cyperoides (L.) O. Ktze. Kucha, Kusha Cyperaceae LC
44 Cyperus difformis L. Behua Cyperaceae LC
45 Cyperus digitatus Roxb. Behua Cyperaceae LC
46 Cyperus distans L. f. Pani Malanga Cyperaceae LC
47 Cyperus laxus Lamk var. laxus Cyperaceae LC
48 Cyperus rotundus L. Mutha Cyperaceae LC
49 Cyperus tuberosus Rottb. Cyperaceae LC
50 Cyrtococcum oxyphyllum (Steud.) Stapf Poaceae LC
51 Cyrtococcum patens (L.) A. Camus Poaceae LC
52 Dactyloctenium aegyptium (L.) P. Beauv. Makra Poaceae LC
53 Desmostachya bipinnata (L.) Stapf Poaceae LC
54 Dichanthium caricosum (L.) A. Camus Detara Poaceae LC
55 Digitaria bicornis (Lamk.) Roem. & Schult. ex Loud Poaceae NE
56 Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop. Poaceae LC
57 Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P. Beauv. Bara Shama-ghas Poaceae LC
58 Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms Pontederiaceae LC
59 Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn. Malankuri Poaceae LC
60 Eragrostis ciliaris (L.) R. Br. Poaceae LC
61 Eragrostis lehmanniana Nees Poaceae NE
62 Eragrostis tenella (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult. Koni Ghas Poaceae LC
63 Eragrostis unioloides (Retz.) Nees ex Steud. Poaceae LC
64 Eriochloa procera (Retz.) C. E. Hubb. Poaceae LC
65 Euphorbia heterophylla L. Euphorbiaceae NE (rare)
66 Fuirena umbellata Rottb. Cyperaceae LC
67 Homalomena coerulescens Jungh. Araceae V
68 Hydrolea zeylanica (L.) Vahl Hydrophyllaceae LC
69 Hymenachne pseudointerrupta C. Muell. Poaceae LC
70 Imperata cylindrica (L.) P. Beauv. Chhan, Chau, Kash Poaceae LC
71 Juncus prismatocarpus R.Br. Juncaceae LC
72 Kyllinga brevifolia Rottb. Cyperaceae LC
73 Kyllinga bulbosa Beauv. Cyperaceae LC
74 Kyllinga nemoralis (J. R. Forst. & G. Forst.) Dandy ex Hutchins. & Dalziel Cyperaceae LC
75 Lasia spinosa (L.) Thw. Araceae LC
76 Lemna perpusilla Torrey Lemnaceae LC
77 Leucas indica (L.) R.Br. ex Vatke Dandakolas, Haldusha, Sweetadrone Lamiaceae LC
78 Lophatherum gracile Brongn. Poaceae LC
79 Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. Tomato Solanaceae LC
80 Mollugo pentaphylla L. Molluginaceae LC
81 Monochoria hastata (L.) Solms Baranukha Pontederiaceae LC
82 Monochoria vaginalis (Burm. f.) Presl Nukha, Sarkachu Pontederiaceae LC
83 Musa ornata Roxb. Ramkola Musaceae CD
84 Musa paradisiaca L. Champa kola Musaceae LC
85 Oplismenus burmannii (Retz.) P. Beauv. Poaceae LC
86 Oryza sativa L. Dhan Poaceae CD
87 Panicum maximum Jacq. Poaceae LC
88 Panicum paludosum Roxb. Barti, Borali, Kalash Nar Poaceae LC
89 Panicum repens L. Poaceae LC
90 Paspalidium flavidum (Retz.) A. Camus Bolai Mandi, Karin Ghas Poaceae LC
91 Paspalum conjugatum Bergius Poaceae LC
92 Paspalum longifolium Roxb. Poaceae NE
93 Paspalum orbiculare G. Forst. Poaceae LC
94 Paspalum scrobiculatum L. Poaceae LC
95 Phragmites karka (Retz.) Trin. ex Steud. Dharma, Nalkhagra Poaceae LC
96 Physalis angulata L. Fotka Solanaceae LC
97 Polygala furcata Royle Polygalaceae V
98 Pueraria peduncularis (Grah. ex Benth.) Benth. Fabaceae LC
99 Raphanus sativus L. Mula Brassicaceae LC
100 Rhynchospora corymbosa (L.) Britton Cyperaceae LC
101 Saccharum officinarum L. Akh Poaceae CD
102 Saccharum ravennae L. Ekor Poaceae DD
103 Saccharum spontaneum L. Kash, Kaichcha, Kagara Poaceae LC
104 Sacciolepis indica (L.) A. Chase Poaceae LC
105 Sagittaria sagittifolia L. Muyamuya, Chhotokut Alismataceae LC
106 Senna hirsuta (L.) Irwin & Barneby Caesalpiniaceae NE
107 Sesbania bispinosa (Jacq.) Wight. Fabaceae LC
108 Setaria sphacelata (Schum.) Stapf. & C.E. Hubb. ex M. B. Moss Poaceae CD
109 Setaria verticillata (L.) P. Beauv. Poaceae LC
110 Solanum americanum Mill. Tit-begun Solanaceae LC
111 Solanum tuberosum L. Golalu Solanaceae LC
112 Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench Jowar Poaceae CD
113 Thysanolaena maxima (Roxb.) Kuntze Jahruful Poaceae LC
114 Typhonium trilobatum (L.) Schott Ghetkul Araceae LC
115 Vernonia cinerea (L.) Less. Shial lata, Dankuni, Kuksim Asteraceae LC
116 Xanthium indicum Koen. ex Roxb. Khagra, Ban-okra Asteraceae LC
117 Xanthosoma sagittifolium (L.) Schott Panchamukhi katchu Araceae LC
118 Xanthosoma violaceum Scott. Dudh katchu, Dastur Araceae LC
119 Zea mays L. Vuttra Poaceae CD
120 Zingiber capitatum Roxb. Jongli Ada Zingiberaceae NE (rare)
121 Zingiber officinale Rosc. Ada Zingiberaceae LC

Table 6.

List of fodder yielding herbs recorded from the selected protected areas [here, DD, data deficient; LC, least concern; NE, not evaluated; NE (rare), not evaluated but seems to be rare; V, vulnerable].

5.4.4. Climbers and other fodder plants

Climbers growing on bushes, trees, and forest floor are important fodder. The leaves and young shoots of the climbers and lianas are mainly eaten by wildlife as food. There were 39 climber plants belonging to 28 genera and 14 families reported as fodder species from the three protected areas. However, review of other reports indicates that the fodder yielding climber composition is almost similar to other forests of southeastern and central regions of Bangladesh. Besides the climber, there were seven fodder yielding pteridophytic species which belong to different genera of seven families. A total of five exotic climbers were recorded to be cultivated by the local people inside the boundary of the protected areas which sometimes raided by wildlife, i.e., monkey, squirrel, etc. The conservation status indicated the presence of one vulnerable plant named Calamus latifolius, the fruit of which is eaten by different birds and wildlife as food (Table 7).

SN Botanical name Local name Family Conservation status Occurrence in the PAs
CWS DDWS MNP
1 Acacia pennata (L.) Willd. Teorakanta Mimosaceae NE (rare)
2 Ampelocissus barbata (Wallich) Planch. Vitaceae CD
3 Ampelocissus latifolia (Roxb.) Planch. Vitaceae NE
4 Basella rubra L. Poi shak Basellaceae LC
5 Benincasa hispida (Thunb.) Cogn. Chalkumra Cucurbitaceae LC
6 Caesalpinia digyna Rottler Kotchoi Kanta, Umulkuchi Caesalpiniaceae LC
7 Calamus latifolius Roxb. Budum bet, Korak bet Arecaceae V
8 Calamus tenuis Roxb. Chiringbet, Sanchi Bet, Bandari Bet, Jali bet Arecaceae LC
9 Cissus elongata Roxb. Vitaceae LC
10 Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsumura & Nakai Tormuj Cucurbitaceae LC
11 Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt Kawa jangi, Telakucha Cucurbitaceae LC
12 Coccinia grandis (L.) Voigt Telakucha Cucurbitaceae LC
13 Cucumis melo L. Khira Cucurbitaceae LC
14 Cucumis sativus L. Khira, Futi Cucurbitaceae LC
15 Cucurbita maxima Duch. ex Lamk. Mistikumra Cucurbitaceae LC
16 Dalbergia pinnata (Lour.) Prain Lalong-chhali, Keti Fabaceae LC
17 Dioscorea belophylla (Prain) Voigt ex Haines Dudh alu Dioscoreaceae LC
18 Dioscorea bulbifera L. Pagla Alu Dioscoreaceae LC
19 Dioscorea esculenta (Lour.) Burkill Maitta Alu Dioscoreaceae NE
20 Dioscorea hamiltonii Hook. f. Thakan Budo Dioscoreaceae NT
21 Dioscorea pentaphylla L. Alu lata Dioscoreaceae LC
22 Ipomoea aquatica Forssk. Kalmi Shakh Convolvulaceae LC
23 Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lamk. Mistialu Convolvulaceae LC
24 Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet Shim Fabaceae LC
25 Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl. Lau Cucurbitaceae LC
26 Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb. Jhinga Cucurbitaceae LC
27 Luffa cylindrica (L.) M. Roem. Purul Cucurbitaceae LC
28 Mikania cordata (Burm. f.) Robinson Assamlata Asteraceae LC
29 Momordica charantia L. var. charantia C. B. Clarke Karolla Cucurbitaceae LC
30 Momordica cochinchinensis (Lour.) Sprengel Kakrol Cucurbitaceae LC
31 Piper betle L. Pan Piperaceae LC
32 Smilax perfoliata Lour. Kumari lata Smilacaceae LC
33 Solena amplexicaulis (Lamk.) Gandhi Cucurbitaceae LC
34 Tapiria hirsuta Hook. f. Anacardiaceae CD
35 Tetrastigma bracteolatum (Wall.) Planch. Golgoli lata Vitaceae CD
36 Trichosanthes anguina L. Chichinga Cucurbitaceae LC
37 Trichosanthes dioica Roxb. Patal Cucurbitaceae LC
38 Uvaria hirsuta Jack Banor kola Annonaceae NE
39 Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. Borboti Fabaceae LC
40 Angiopteris evecta (Forst.) Hoffm Dhekia Shak Angiopteridaceae LC
41 Blechnum orientale L. Blechnaceae LC
42 Christella arida (D. Don) Holtt. Bish Dhekia Thelypteridaceae LC
43 Diplazium esculentum (Retz.) Sw. Dhekia, Dhekia Shak Athyriaceae LC
44 Helminthostachys zeylanica (L.) Hook. Shada Dhekia Helminthostachyaceae LC
45 Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br. Lygodiaceae LC
46 Marsilea quadrifolia L. Marsileaceae LC

Table 7.

List of fodder yielding climbers and ferns recorded from the protected areas [here, CD, conservation dependent; LC, least concern; NE, not evaluated; NE (rare), not evaluated but seems to be rare; NT, near threatened; V, vulnerable].

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6. Threats to the fodder species

Threats to the fodder yielding plant species are similar to that of the protected areas and forests across the different regions of Bangladesh. According to the fifth report on CBD submitted by the Bangladesh government in 2015, direct threats to the PAs are (1) encroachment in protected areas, (2) degradation of forests and wetlands, (3) infrastructure development, (4) unsustainable and/or illegal exploitation of terrestrial resources, (5) unsustainable and/or illegal fishing practices, (6) change in hydrological regime, (7) pollution, and (8) invasive species [33]. On the other hand, the indirect threats are the institutional and environmental conditions that are behind the direct threats visible on the ground [34]. The main indirect threats are (1) poor institutional capacity, (2) lack of coordination among different agencies, (3) policy and information gaps, (4) lack of enforcement, (5) inadequate and poorly managed system of protected areas, (6) corruption, (7) lack of political commitment, (8) lack of awareness, (9) climate and biophysical changes, and (10) lack of alternative livelihoods in sensitive habitats.

An unprecedented threat to the fodder plant diversity of Bangladesh is exerted by the conversion of wildlife habitat into human settlements along with rampant urban development throughout the country’s forested areas [35].

The ecosystem integrity of the PAs of Bangladesh are in very vulnerable situation because they are part of reserved forests which have, in most cases, only been declared after being degraded heavily by various means. It has been assumed that 10% of it is already extinct due to overexploitation. The Bangladesh National Herbarium (BNH) has reported 106 vascular plant species at varying degrees of risk of extinction [33].

The main threats to flora and fauna of protected area conservation emanate from the degradation of forests and wetlands. It is assumed that the anthropogenic pressures on natural resources caused ecosystem depletion. Biotic pressures are exacerbated by dramatic change in climate pattern coupled with sea level rise, increase soil salinity, and increase incidence and severity of cyclones and change in rainfall patterns and temperatures, disturbing the regular seasonality of fruit and flower blooms. This impacts the regeneration of important flora and fauna species and disrupts food chain.

A study revealed that protected areas in the tropical moist evergreen and semievergreen forests of hilly regions were highly subject to illegal wood cutting, while those in tropical moist deciduous forests of plain land area were prone to encroachment for settlement and agriculture, and those in mangrove forests of littoral zones were extremely vulnerable to wildlife poaching [36].

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7. Effect of fodder plants on wildlife population

Plants and animals are two of the main interacting components of an ecosystem. A very close symbiotic relationship exists between flora and fauna including microbes, i.e., fungi, algae, bacteria, etc. Pollination, decomposition of degradable wastage, nutrient cycling, forming food web, and maintaining the food chain are the main fields where contribution of fauna is very significant. On the other hand, supplying nutrients through food production, providing shade and shelter, and maintaining fertility and productivity of an ecosystem are the key contributions of the floral communities to the associated ecosystem. The smaller animals use the cover of plants and dead leaves to hide from the predators. These animals, i.e., moth, katydids, frogs, and grasshoppers, can blend into the surrounding environment at will and become invisible to the predators searching for food. The tropical rain forests like the protected areas of Bangladesh are very much responsive to animal and plant interaction. In adaptive surroundings of tropical forests, a huge diversity of animals, birds, and insects subsist together. An area of 6 square kilometer of typical tropical rain forest can harbor as much as 1500 flowering plants, 400 species of birds, 100 reptiles, and 60 amphibians along with thousands of butterfly species. However, in a complex ecosystem, the biotic interactions can be toward any directions, i.e., plant-plant, plant-animal, plant-microbe, animal-microbe, and animal-animal. All of these interactions employ different biotic services [37].

The richness of a wildlife habitat with fodder very sharply determines the fluctuation of wildlife population. Unavailability of food inside the forests make many of the wildlife to come out toward adjacent localities in search of food. For example, a higher number of human-elephant conflicts (HEC) were reported from the southeastern Bangladesh due to degradation and fragmentation of elephant habitat which caused reduction of Asian elephant’s population from 500 in the middle of the last century to 228–327 [38]. It is worth and interesting to mention that in some protected areas like Nijhum Dweep National Park, the deer population is shrinking gradually due to higher competition with the thousands of buffalos and cows for fodder. Similar to that of the Asian elephant and deer, the population of monkey along with other herbivores is also reducing at alarming rate due to degradation of overall habitat quality in Bangladesh [39, 40].

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8. Protection and enrichment strategies for fodder plants

The process of conserving rare plant species can be divided into three phases: (i) Identification-determining which species are in danger of extinction. (ii) Protection-determining and implementing the short-term measures necessary to halt a species’ slide to extinction. (iii) Recovery-determining and implementing the longer-term measures necessary to rebuild the population of the species to the point at which it is no longer in danger of extinction [41].

People living in and around a forest depend on forest resources for a substantial proportion of their subsistence, including food, fiber, medicines, and other uses [42]. Many others perceive forest exploitation as a means of escaping poverty [43, 44]. Forest conservation is likely to be low on these peoples’ priorities if it limits their possibilities for livelihood support [45]. So, the development of living condition of the surrounding local people of the important wildlife habitats through improving their livelihood security and diversifying income, so as to meet all their basic needs, should be of first priority; otherwise the conservation effort will go in vain. It is important to extend and strengthen the protective measures by local administrative bodies of Bangladesh Forest Department (FD) against the threats like settlement, agricultural expansion, severe grazing, hunting, shooting, illegal cutting, etc. Local administrative units (beat offices) of the Forest Department must be strengthened with necessary manpower, staff quarters, equipment, logistics, and training, so that they become more capable to conduct the protection and conservation measures because they are the only authority to look after forest and wildlife.

Steps should be taken to halt further expansion of any agricultural/horticultural practices toward the forests. Awareness raising and consciousness of local people regarding the importance of habitat integrity, wildlife, environmental conservation, biodiversity, and endangered ecosystems are mandatory. The government may provide some incentives through money, small loan, training, etc. to help local people in managing sustainable alternative income-generating programs. Relocation and permanent allocation of some barren lands to the forest-dwelling people may reduce their dependency and threats induced by them on the existing forest. Cultivation of crops, i.e., pineapple, banana, paddy, taro, and lemon, should be restricted to some marginal areas of the forests or protected areas. Cattle grazing and browsing pressure in many protected areas is significant, and hence control of grazing animals for reducing the direct effects of disturbance is essential. Special conservation measures both ex situ and in situ methods may be initiated to conserve the threatened and rare native plant species. Enrichment plantation with native wildlife (i.e. rhesus macaque, capped langur, etc.) fruit-bearing plant species should be conducted in the gap spaces of the forests. Activities that were identified by the IUCN and different conservation organizations which contribute to forest and species conservation, i.e., area-based protection, area-based management, species-centered management, education and awareness, improved law and policy, livelihoods and incentives, and capacity building, may be considered for conservation of forest resources in all protected areas. Permanent sample plots of adequate size (0.5–1.0 ha) may be established in representative vegetation types of each wildlife habitat to facilitate long-term ecological and biodiversity assessment which may help monitor the success of restoration and conservation of the fodder yielding plants. Community patrolling should be strengthened to reduce illicit felling as well as raise awareness among local people regarding nature conservation. Digging furrow in suitable locations across the forest may be helpful for controlling fire infestation and litter extraction by local people using small vehicles.

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9. Conclusion

Fragmentation and degradation of wildlife habitat quality resulted in reduction of the diversity and population of fodder yielding plants. It is a worldwide trend in which the policy makers and scientists are concerned about. However, Bangladesh having a substantial area declared as protected areas is trying to conserve and restore the wildlife habitat quality. Still now, the protected areas of the country are still harboring a good number of fodder yielding plants from all habit forms. However, many of the fodder species are having very poor density which may reduce further and get extinct if appropriate species-specific multiplication and conservation measures are not taken immediately.

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Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the contribution and supports of the Bangladesh Forest Department, Arannayk Foundation, and University of Chittagong during the studies.

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Written By

Md Akhter Hossain, Rajib Mahmud, Nikhil Chakma and Mohammed Kamal Hossain

Submitted: October 8th, 2018 Reviewed: February 14th, 2019 Published: October 15th, 2019