Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Impacts of Drought on Homestead Plant Diversity in Barind Tract of Bangladesh

Written By

Md. Shafiqul Islam and Md. Nazrul Islam Mukul

Submitted: 10 November 2021 Reviewed: 05 December 2021 Published: 21 June 2022

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.101885

From the Edited Volume

Drought - Impacts and Management

Edited by Murat Eyvaz, Ahmed Albahnasawi, Mesut Tekbaş and Ercan Gürbulak

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Homestead is a great place for household food access, diet, and nutrition. Drought affects homestead plant diversity and reduces production, availability, and diversity that lead toward less supply and consumption. Drought detains moisture and degrades the soil that supports plant growth. Homestead provides regular bread and income in the rural areas with an effective means for both economic and environmental well-being. People are getting a good amount of subsidiary income without any extra care and effort. In managing homestead land and drought, the household needs necessary technical and managerial training. In reducing drought effects to the homestead, action research needs to be carried out on available knowledge, effective practices, water management, and the adoption of local varieties and knowledge to develop effective homestead integration. Government initiatives, community engagement and not harming the environment, and efficient uses of water could be great solutions for the adverse effects of drought on the homestead plant diversity.


  • barind tract
  • biodiversity
  • drought
  • environment
  • homesteads
  • plant diversity

1. Introduction

The most complex and uncertain natural disaster is drought, even it is difficult to predict and mitigate due to numerous factors, magnitude as well as difficulties in defining a drought. Drought causes impacts on agro biodiversity in many ways [1]. Agro biodiversity is the part of biodiversity includes both genetic diversity and crop and animal diversity in diverse agro ecosystem and different agriculture [2, 3]. It was mentioned that agro biodiversity is essentially important for sustainable development both for natural and anthropogenic as well as livelihood [4, 5]. Homestead is the traditional place and promising option for plant species conservation [6]. These efforts may help mitigate ecosystem degradation and drought impacts while providing food and economic opportunities to rural people. In the homestead, members share responsibilities and distribute gardening tasks among themselves. Women like to use homestead products for household consumption and gifting and men for sale and cash income [7]. Numerous studies in the world showed that homesteads are the place of the highest plant diversity for crops and non-crops [8]. A study mentioned that agro biodiversity support sustainable agriculture [9]. Food and Agricultural Organization-FAO [10, 11] estimated that there are 2, 50,000 to 5, 00,000 plant species in the world. According to a study, in agriculture only 1,500 plant species are being used. Another study mentioned that agrobiodiversity exists at the varietal level though number of crop species is low [12]. Agrobiodiversity provide three types of value such as use value, option value, and existence value [13]. Ecosystems that maintain naturally are considered as the major support for sustainable production and enhance food and livelihood security at local to global scale [2, 5, 14]. Agro biodiversity is contributing to agricultural production, maintaining ecosystems and human food security [12, 15, 16, 17]. Ecosystem provides four major categories of services include provisioning services, supporting services, regulating services and cultural services. Benefit may get through intrinsic values (cultural and social) and supported by biological diverse system [15].

Agro biodiversity provides diverse benefits including nutritious diets (fruits and vegetables) for human health; longer productivity; adaptation to changing conditions; and conservation methods for enabling future use. Biological diversity reduces the general risk of economic and ecological failure at individual (farmer) level as well as on global scale while making those systems more sustainable and less susceptible facing the future challenges [17, 18, 19]. Diverse agricultural production system may be less threatening to biological diversity compared to highly intensified and uniform systems, such practices still do enhance pest damage, competition for water, soil, nutrition and pollinators, result in habitat and nutrient loss and have a negative effect on non-target species [20]. The reduction of agro biodiversity is closely linked to the loss of productivity, while threatening ecological stability, the security of food supply and livelihood worldwide [15]. Strategies for identification and conservation of agro biodiversity are lacking and hence, there is need to develop indices for identification of important component of agro biodiversity, food and nutritional security. Agro biodiversity has been disturbed due to switching from rain-fed agriculture to irrigated agriculture. Increasing frequency of extreme weather patterns and droughts are going to be the most important climatic factors affecting agro biodiversity [21, 22]. Diversity has been accounted at three levels such as alpha, gamma and beta [23]. Diversity at alpha level could be measured at community level, beta for composition (change from farmers to farmers) and gamma at the larger units [2, 24]. The assessment of drought impacts on homestead plant diversity in the Barind Tract is essentially important. The study was conducted with the view to assess and compare drought impacts on homestead plant diversity in high drought and low drought areas of Bangladesh. The study is also focused on following objectives:

  • Find out comparative plant diversity between drought and low drought prone areas at the homestead level in relation to season

  • Establish the relationship with the homestead plant diversity with the variables

  • Estimate plant species (Timber, spices, fruits, ornamental and vegetables) diversity in the homestead

The research elicited following research questions:

Research Questions:

  • How they perceived drought and plant diversity?

  • Are there any significant changes in homestead plant biodiversity between drought and non-drought prone areas?

  • Is there any relationship between drought and plant biodiversity?

  • How drought impacted on species (plants) at the homesteads?

Research Hypotheses:

H1: There is a trend of greater homestead plant diversity in the low drought prone area than high drought prone area


2. Methodology

The study was conducted over the period of twelve months starting from July 2018 and ended by May 2019. Two sites were selected for this study one from high drought prone site and another from low drought prone site of Barind Tract with the view to see the impacts of drought on the homestead plant diversity. Homestead agro biodiversity (plants) was calculated using Shannon’s Index. Homestead agro biodiversity (only plant species) was measured using similar size of homestead from different group (small, medium and large) as the quadrant. Plant species was studied using quadrat method covering random quadrat of 10 m × 10 m size was laid for trees, vegetables and other plants (shrubs and herbs) were laid in each homestead. Total 300 respondents (150 respondents from each site) considering equal numbers of respondents from small, medium and large category of the homestead. The farm owners were asked to know about the plant species and dietary diversity. Eight Focus Group Discussion (four from each site: two with elderly people and two with the ethnic people) have been carried out to know the insights of plant diversity at the homesteads. Semi-structured questionnaire, guided checklist, expert consultation and field observation has been carried out for this study. Quadrant method has been followed in collecting data from sample unit in the study areas. Nine quadrates from high drought prone areas and nine quadrates from low drought prone areas (3 from each farm size) have been laid for the measurement agro biodiversity. Survey on crops (species) has been carried out in the sampled quadrant. Secondary relevant information has been used to enrich the study. The agro biodiversity has been calculated using Shannon’s diversity Index.


H = Shannon’s diversity index.

S = Total number of species in the community (richness).

pi = The proportion of species i relative to the total number of species (pi).

ln pi = The natural logarithm of this proportion.


3. Results

3.1 Perception of drought impacts on homestead plant diversity

An assessment on perception of drought impacts to the homestead plant diversity was carried out using Rating Percentage Index (RPI). The higher rate of respondents (RPI 30) from high drought areas perceived that plant diversity is decreasing in the homestead due to drought and low rate of respondents (RPI 42.5) from low drought areas assumed that homestead plant diversity is decreasing due to drought (Table 1). The participants from Focus Group Discussions opined that low diversity reduces production, consumption, dietary diversity and household nutrition.

Homestead diversityHigh drought prone areasLow drought prone areas
Perception of acceptancePerception of rejectionRPIPerception on acceptancePerception on rejectionRPI

Table 1.

Perception of drought impacts on homestead plant diversity (field data, 2019).

3.2 Homestead plant species diversity in different seasons

3.2.1 Homestead agro biodiversity in the Rabi season

There is a negative impact of drought in the study areas. Results showed that low species diversity in the high drought prone areas during Rabi season (Table 2). The low diversity is the spiraling issues of drought. The occurrence of rainfall in the high drought prone areas is low and erratic that give birth low soil moisture resulting low yields or harvests. Farmers are trying to grow several crops for better yield and managing drought. Total 38 plant species were recorded in the homesteads from high drought prone areas and 34 plant species in the low drought homestead areas. Several causes such as water and moisture scarcity, land degradation, soil infertility, lack of awareness, less rainfall, high temperature and climate change issues have been identified by the respondents for low species diversity in the homesteads.

Name of SpeciesHigh Drought Prone areaLow Drought Prone area
TotalPIlnpi-(−pi*lnpi)Name of SpeciesTotalPIlnpi-(−pi*lnpi)
Mangifera indica1540.25581−0.592080.151M. indica940.2117−0.67430.14275
Artocarpus heterophyllus90.01495−1.825350.027A. heterophyllus80.018−1.74430.03143
Psidium guava170.02824−1.549150.044Psidium guava190.0428−1.36860.05857
Lagenaria siceraria160.02658−1.575480.042L. siceraria220.0495−1.3050.06466
Azadirachta indica460.07641−1.116840.085Spondias mombin70.0158−1.80230.02841
S. mombin120.01993−1.700420.034Ziziphus mauritiana150.0338−1.47130.04971
Z. mauritiana140.02326−1.633470.038Moringa oleifera110.0248−1.6060.03979
M. oleifera100.01661−1.77960.03Cucurbita90.0203−1.69310.03432
Aegle marmelos80.01329−1.876510.025Citrus Limonium140.0315−1.50130.04734
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius70.01163−1.93450.022Musa paradisicum190.0428−1.36860.05857
Colocasia esculenta410.06811−1.166810.079Annona reticulate40.009−2.04530.01843
Bambusa spp40.00664−2.177540.014Tamarindus indica20.0045−2.34640.01057
Citrus limonium680.11296−0.947090.107Rubus70.0158−1.80230.02841
Musa paradisicum140.02326−1.633470.038Litchi chinensis40.009−2.04530.01843
Annona reticulate670.1113−0.953520.106Citrus maxima40.009−2.04530.01843
Saccharum officinarum20.00332−2.478570.008Syzygium jambos30.0068−2.17030.01466
Punica granatum250.04153−1.381660.057Swietenia mahagoni260.0586−1.23240.07217
Momordica charantia30.00498−2.302480.011Tagetes340.0766−1.11590.08545
Capsicum frutescens20.00332−2.478570.008Phaseolus vulgaris130.0293−1.53340.0449
Dioscorea150.02492−1.603510.04Areca palm70.0158−1.80230.02841
C. frutescens70.01163−1.93450.022Rosa sinensis190.0428−1.36860.05857
Jiga50.00831−2.080630.017Carissa carandas20.0045−2.34640.01057
T. indica20.00332−2.478570.008Syzygium aqueum60.0135−1.86920.02526
Rubus30.00498−2.302480.011Carica papaya160.036−1.44330.05201
Phoenix dactylifera130.02159−1.665650.036Basella alba140.0315−1.50130.04734
L. chinensis10.00166−2.77960.005Ocimum tenuifloru70.0158−1.80230.02841
Citrus × paradise10.00166−2.77960.005Jasminum50.0113−1.94840.02194
S. jambos50.00831−2.080630.017Cocos nucifera260.0586−1.23240.07217
S. mahagoni120.01993−1.700420.034Dillenia indica10.0023−2.64740.00596
Tagetes30.00498−2.302480.011Cestrum nocturnum10.0023−2.64740.00596
P. vulgaris20.00332−2.478570.008Ficus racemosa20.0045−2.34640.01057
Arecacpalm30.00498−2.302480.011Manilkara zapota20.0045−2.34640.01057
Rosa sinensis30.00498−2.302480.011Ghasful80.018−1.74430.03143
Dalbergia sissoo20.00332−2.478570.008Cascabela thevetia20.0045−2.34640.01057
C. carandas20.00332−2.478570.0084440.97521.28672
S. mombin20.00332−2.478570.008
C. papaya10.00166−2.77960.005
Bombax cieba10.00166−2.77960.005
Shanon Index (H)1.201Shanon Index (H)1.286
Diversity (D)9.239Diversity (D)12.7659

Table 2.

Plant species diversity in the homestead in Rabi season (field data, 2019).

3.2.2 Homestead agro biodiversity in the Kharif-1 season

Results showed that the plant species diversity is more in low drought homesteads and low in the high drought homesteads (Table 3).

High drought prone areaLow drought prone area
SpeciesNiPiIn Pi-(Pi*ln Pi)SpeciesNiPiln Pi-(Pi*ln Pi)
Mangifera indica1710.299−0.5240.157M. indica1040.219−0.6590.145
Artocarpus heterophyllus130.023−1.6430.037A. heterophyllus80.017−1.7730.030
Psidium guava170.030−1.5260.045Psidium guava190.040−1.3970.056
Lagenaria siceraria120.021−1.6770.035L. siceraria220.046−1.3330.062
Azadirachta indica520.091−1.0410.095Spondias mombin70.015−1.8310.027
S. mombin120.021−1.6770.035Ziziphus150.032−1.5000.047
Ziziphus140.025−1.6110.039Moringa oleifera110.023−1.6340.038
M. oleifera100.018−1.7570.031Bel(Aegle marmelos)20.004−2.3750.010
Bel(A. marmelos)80.014−1.8540.026(Bambusoideae460.097−1.0130.098
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius410.072−1.1440.082Citrus limonium140.030−1.5300.045
Bamboo(Bambusoideae)680.119−0.9240.110Musa paradisicum190.040−1.3970.056
Lemon(Citrus Limonium)140.025−1.6110.039amarindus indica20.004−2.3750.010
Musa paradisicum670.117−0.9310.109Blackberry(Rubus)70.015−1.8310.027
Punica granatum30.005−2.2800.012Phoenix dactylifera50.011−1.9770.021
Momordica charantia10.002−2.7570.005Litchi(Litchi chinensis)40.008−2.0740.017
Yam(Dioscorea)150.026−1.5810.042Citrus maxima40.008−2.0740.017
Capsicum frutescen70.012−1.9120.023Syzygium jambos30.006−2.1990.014
Luffa acutangula50.009−2.0580.018Swietenia species260.055−1.2610.069
Tamarindus indica20.004−2.4560.009Tagetes340.072−1.1440.082
P. dactylifera130.023−1.6430.037Rose(Rosa)190.040−1.3970.056
Litchi(L. chinensis)10.002−2.7570.005Carissa carandas20.004−2.3750.010
Mahagoni(Swietenia)120.021−1.6770.035Carica papaya160.034−1.472−0.050
Palm(Arecaceae)30.005−2.2800.012Annona reticulate40.008−2.0740.017
Dalbergia sissoo20.004−2.4560.009Syzygium aqueum60.013−1.8980.024
C. papaya10.002−2.7570.005Basellla alba140.030−1.5300.045
Bombax cieba10.002−2.7570.005Ocimum sanctum70.015−1.8310.027
Cocos nucifera260.055−1.2610.069
Chalta(Dillenia indica)10.002−2.6760.006
Ficus racemosa20.004−2.3750.010
Manilkara zapota20.004−2.3750.010
Cascabela thevetia20.004−2.3750.010
Shanon Index (H)1.082Shanon Index (H)1.287
Diversity (D)7.294Diversity (D)12.14

Table 3.

Plant species diversity in the homestead in Kharif-1 season (field data, 2019).

3.2.3 Homestead plant species diversity in the Kharif-2 season

It was found that homesteads of low drought areas show greater diversity than high drought area (1.287 ‹ 7.294) during Khari-2 season (Table 4). Respondents mentioned that it happened due to low rainfall and low soil moisture retention during the period.

High drought prone areaLow drought prone area
SpeciesNiPiIn Pi-(Pi*ln Pi)SpeciesNiPiln Pi-(Pi*ln Pi)
Mangifera indica1250.22−0.650.145028M. indica670.218−0.660.14
Artocarpus heterophyllus90.02−1.800.028676A. heterophyllus70.023−1.640.04
Psidium guava150.03−1.570.041893Psidium guava160.052−1.280.07
Lagenaria siceraria160.03−1.540.043891L. siceraria150.049−1.310.07
Azadirachta indica460.08−1.090.088780Spondias mombin50.016−1.790.03
S. mombin120.02−1.670.035576Ziziphus80.026−1.590.04
Ziziphus130.02−1.640.037740Moringa oleifera70.023−1.640.04
M. oleifera100.02−1.750.031051sweet gourd(Cucurbita)60.019−1.710.03
Bel(Aegle marmelos)80.01−1.850.026215Citrus Limonium90.029−1.530.04
sweet gourd(Cucurbita)60.01−1.970.020990Musa paradisicum70.023−1.640.04
Amorphophallus paeoniifolius470.08−1.080.089931Ata(Annona reticulate)30.01−2.010.02
Colocasia esculenta50.01−2.050.018194Tamarindus indica20.006−2.190.01
Lemon(Citrus Limonium)140.02−1.610.039844Litchi(Litchi chinensis)40.013−1.890.025
Banana(Musa paradisicum)590.10−0.980.102562Jambura(Citrus maxima)40.013−1.890.02
Ata(Annona reticulate)20.01−2.450.008688Syzygium jambos10.003−2.490.01
Saccharum officinarum250.04−1.350.059988Mahagoni(Swietenia)140.045−1.340.06
Bedena (Punica granatum)30.01−2.270.012096Marigold(Tagetes)290.094−1.030.10
Momordica charantia20.03−2.450.008688Phaseolus vulgaris90.029−1.530.04
Chili (Capsicum frutescens)70.01−1.910.023658Rose(Rosa)110.036−1.450.05
Jhinga (Luffa acutangula)50.01−2.050.018194Carissa carandas10.003−2.490.01
Tamarind(T. indica)20.00−2.450.008688(Syzygium aqueum)60.019−1.710.03
Blackberry(Rubus)30.01−2.270.012096Papaya(Carica papaya)130.042−1.370.06
Phoenix dactylifera140.02−1.610.039844Basella alba70.023−1.640.04
Litchi(L. chinensis)20.00−2.450.008688Ocimum tenuifloru70.023−1.640.04
Jambura(C. maxima)10.00−2.750.004878Jasminum40.013−1.890.02
Golap jam(S. jambos)50.01−2.050.018194Coconut(Cocos nucifera)220.071−1.150.09
Mahagoni(Swietenia)130.02−1.640.037740Chalta(Dillenia indica)10.003−2.490.01
Marigold(Tagetes)30.01−2.270.012096Cestrum nocturnum10.003−2.490.01
P. vulgaris20.00−2.450.008688Ficus racemosa20.006−2.190.01
Palm(Arecaceae)40.01−2.150.015242Manilkara zapota20.006−2.190.01
Sissoo(Dalbergia sissoo)20.00−2.450.008688Cascabela thevetia10.003−2.490.01
C. carandas20.00−2.450.008688Total3081−59.581.31
Shanon Index (H)1.082Shanon Index (H)1.287
Diversity (D)7.294Diversity (D)12.14

Table 4.

Homestead diversity inKhari-2 (field data, 2019).

3.3 Relationship of plant species diversity with the seasons and variables

The respondents believe that it is happening due to drought (causal effects of low soil moisture, low water holding capacity of the soil, low soil fertility and low rainfall over the season). It also affects agro ecology for the production. The numbers of family member has the effect on homestead agro biodiversity followed by age, income, education, land size and farm category. According to the hypothesis there is significant difference of homestead agro biodiversity between high and low drought prone areas. The family member has the large effect on homestead agro biodiversity followed by age, income, education and farm category (Table 5).

Diversity valueAgeIncomeEducationFarm categoryTenanat typeLocationmember

Table 5.

Correlation of homestead plant diversity among the variables.

3.4 Homestead plant species diversity changing over times

As per Focus Group Discussions, the participants mentioned that plant diversity is decreasing in the high drought prone areas due to drought effects. Seventy seven percent household respondents from high drought prone areas reported that homestead plant diversity is decreasing with the increased frequency of drought (Figure 1). Only 10 percent household respondents from low drought prone areas believe that homestead plant diversity is decreasing with the influence of drought.

Figure 1.

status of homestead plant diversity in relation to farm category.

3.5 Drought impacts on the homestead production

It was found that 30 percent respondents perceived reduced plant species diversity in the high drought area. People in the low drought area are confused about the changing of agro biodiversity. About 53% people of low drought area observed extinction of some species (Figure 2).

Figure 2.

Drought impacts on homestead diversity.

3.6 Testing of hypothesis

Low drought prone area tends to a greater homestead agro bio-diversity than high drought prone area. Calculated t value 0.004555 and table value with the df (2–1) (9–1) = 8 at 99% level is 2.896, i.e. the calculated t value is less than critical t value (0.004555 ‹ 2.896). The hypothesis is accepted and there is significant greater homestead agro biodiversity in low drought prone area (Table 6).

Homestead numberHigh drought prone areaLow drought prone area

Table 6.

Species diversity (Ds) value of high drought and low drought prone area.


4. Discussion

It was found that homestead number five (medium farm) showed greater plant diversity in the high drought prone areas and homestead number seven (large farm) showed greater diversity in the low drought prone areas. A study reported that the small farm holders utilized their homesteads more efficiently [25]. The study found that the homesteads contained tree species, fruit tree species, vegetable species, spices, ornamental species, medicinal species and wild species for different uses (timber, fuel, food, medicine and esthetic). Total 43 plant species (trees, fruit, vegetables, spices, ornamental, fuel and medicinal) were found in the study areas. Similarly 43 plant species were reported in the homesteads from the central parts of Bangladesh [26]. Timber tree got more preferences followed by fruits, vegetables, spices and ornamental. The researcher reported that timber tree species have been found as the preferred species due to future capital as the wood [25]. The results showed that the homestead in the low drought prone areas represent greater plant diversity in the homesteads. Household use their homestead produces mostly for foods, fuel, medicinal purpose and cash income. One study concluded that home gardens can be a tool for conservation of biodiversity [27]. Homestead plant diversity is essentially important to cope with the climate change issues and drought. Similarly a study reported that homestead biodiversity enhance the resilience capacity of the community [28]. Another study found that diverse variety increases production especially in environmental extreme (drought, flood) situations, they maintain diversity to reduce the risks [29]. In our existence, more plant species biodiversity can secure food for the farming community. A study is also reported that it is hard in surviving severe drought frequently cause famine in farming communities [30].


5. Conclusion

Homestead is the great place for household food access, diet and nutrition. Drought affects homestead plant diversity and reduces production, availability and diversity that lead toward less supply and consumption. Drought arrest moisture and degrade the soil that support plant growth. Actually homestead provides regular bread and income in the rural areas with an effective mean for both economic and environmental well-being. People are getting good amount of subsidiary income without any extra care and effort. In managing homestead land and drought, household needs necessary technical and managerial training. In reducing drought impacts to the homestead, action research needs to be carried out on available knowledge, effective practices, water management and adoption of local varieties and knowledge in order to develop effective homestead integration. Government initiatives, community engagement and doing no harm to the environment and efficient uses of water could be great solutions for adverse effects of drought to the homestead plant diversity.


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Written By

Md. Shafiqul Islam and Md. Nazrul Islam Mukul

Submitted: 10 November 2021 Reviewed: 05 December 2021 Published: 21 June 2022