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Knowing Bangladesh

Forest and Forestry (Part-II) Forest type
Banglapedia
Knowing Bangladesh

Based on their ecological characters, the forests of Bangladesh can be divided into tropical wet evergreen, tropical semi-evergreen, tropical moist deciduous, tidal, and planted forests.

Tropical wet evergreen forest Evergreen plants dominate with rich biodiversity; few semi-evergreen and deciduous species also occur but do not change or alter the evergreen nature of the forests. They occur in hilly areas of Chittagong, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Cox’s Bazar in the SE, and Maulvi Bazar in the NE.

The top canopy trees reach a height of 45-62 m. Due to humidity, epiphytic orchids, ferns and fern allies, climbers, terrestrial ferns, mosses, aroids, and rattans are found as undergrowth in moist shady places. The shrubs, herbs and grasses are fewer in number.

About 700 species of flowering plants grow in this type of forest. Trees like kaligarjan, dhaligarjan, civit, dhup, kamdeb, raktan, narkeli, tali, chundul, dhaki jam are the common evergreen species which constitute the uppermost canopy. Champa, banshimul, chapalish, madar are some of the semi-deciduous and deciduous trees that grow sporadically. Pitraj, chalmoogra, dephal, nageswar, kao, jam, goda, dumur, koroi, dharmara, tejbhal, gamar, madanmasta, assar, moose, chatim, toon, bura, ashok, barmala, dakrum occupy the second storey. Sometimes Gnetum species and Podocarpus, two gymnosperms, are met with. Several species of bamboo are also found in these forests.

Tropical semi-evergreen forest Generally evergreen in character but deciduous plants also dominate. These forests range in the hilly regions of Sylhet through Chittagong, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Cox’s Bazar, and also in some parts of Dinajpur district in the NW. Most of them are subjected to jhum (slash and burn) cultivation.

 Over 800 species of flowering plants have been recorded in these forests. They have more undergrowth than evergreen forests. Top canopy trees reach a height of 25-57 m. In the valleys and moist slopes chapalish, telsur, chundul and narkeli constitute the top canopy; gutgutya, toon, pitraj, nageswar, uriam, nalizam, godajam, pitjam, dhakijam form the middle storey; and dephal and kechuan constitute the lower storey. On the hotter and dryer slopes and on ridges different species of garjan, banshimul, shimul, shil koroi, chundul, guja batna, kamdeb, bura gamari, bahera and moose form the upper storey; gab, udal and shibhadi form the middle storey and adalia, barmala, goda, ashoka, jalpai and darrum constitute the lower storey. The common deciduous species are garjan, simul, bansimul, batna, chapalish, toon, koroi and jalpai. The flora of these forests resembles those of eastern Himalayas in the north and Arakan in the south.

Until the beginning of the 20th century, these forests existed as a continuous belt from Comilla to Darjeeling of India. At present, most of the forest area is under occupation and the present remaining stands of sal are of poor stocking and quality, consisting of degraded coppice and plantations. The present notified area of this forest is largely honeycombed with rice fields. The forest forms more or less a uniform canopy of 10-20 m, mostly with deciduous plants. Other than the sal (about 90%), the other common trees are palash, haldu, jarul or shidah (Lagerstroemia parviflora), bazna, hargoja, ajuli (Dillenia pentagyna), bhela, koroi, menda (Litsea monopetala), kushum, udhal, dephajam, bahera, kurchi, haritaki, pitraj, sheora, sonalu, assar, amlaki and adagash (Croton oblongifolius). Climbers (mostly woody) like kanchan lata, anigota, kumari lata, gajpipal, pani lata, Dioscorea species, satamuli, and gila occur in these forests. A good number of undergrowth is also recorded (about 250 species under 50 genera). The common ones are assam lata, bhat, boichi, moina kanta and ashal. The significant grass is sungrass. A few epiphytes are also recorded. Legumes, euphrobias and convolvulous plants also occur.

Tidal forest The most productive forest type in Bangladesh, they are situated in Khulna, Patuakhali, Noakhali and Chittagong regions along the coastal region, and constitute about 520,000 ha. The grounds of these forests are flooded every time at tide with seawater. The plants have pneumatophores, with viviparous germination, and are evergreen in nature. Other than sundari, passur, gewa, keora, kankra, baen, dhundul, amoor, and dakur grow gregariously. Turbidity and salinity of water in the coastal zones regulate the frequency and constituent feature of the species.

In addition to the Sundarbans, many small islands found in the mouth of Gangetic delta are densely covered with tidal forests, although the sundari tree is absent here. The pioneer plant in the forest quickly develops on creeks and mudbanks of streams where deposition of silt is in progress. Near the streams and canals, rhizophores (having stilt roots) are common.

 There are certain forests localized to a particular habitat conditions. These are actually secondary formations. They include: (i) The beach or littoral forest- occurs along the sea beaches of Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Barisal and Patuakhali regions, adjoining to tidal forests.

Jhau, kerung, ponyal, kathbadam, madar, paras and nishinda are occasionally associated and form different shades of thickets. (ii) Fresh water swamp forest- occurs in low-lying haor (large water bodies) areas in Sylhet and Sunamganj and also in depressions within the hill forest area.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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