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Yousuf Mahid - 2020 Spring Graduate
Deforestation is a common phenomenon in Bangladesh, leaving the country under a great threat of losing its natural habitat. The increasing rate of natural habitat loss has raised questions regarding the country’s forest resource management practices. These practices were originally adopted to protect the forest ecosystem and secure the livelihood of the people dependent on forest resources. Despite the support from development partners like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the country is still struggling to protect its forest resources from human encroachment. One of the major problems is the lack of inconclusiveness in current approaches. Most initiatives are not evidence-based and are project-based for only a certain period of time. This has failed to ensure sustainable outcomes. This study looks at Bangladesh’s Himchari National Park forest management system to generate evidence regarding deforestation from 1991-2018 and highlight existing gaps. To identify and analyze the gaps, the study uses a social-ecological system (SES) lens. Results reveal deforestation across different time periods, articulates the overall governance structure regarding forest resource management and provides an overview of the major gaps within the system. The study also offers a set of recommendations for improving the existing management system and policy implications.