Insect diversity in Chittagong Hill Tracts' village common forests: Implications for conservation and community livelihoods

Abstract : The Village Common Forests (VCFs), commonly known as mauza forests, are essential for biodiversity conservation and maintaining natural environments in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs). Managed directly by indigenous village communities, led by mauza karbaris and headmen, these forests contribute significantly to the livelihoods of forest-adjacent communities, especially the twelve ethnic groups in the CHTs, whose economies are greatly influenced by insects. Despite the importance of these forests, only a few reports have been published on their flora and fauna. In our study, conducted between August to October 2016 and January to March 2017, we investigated insect diversity in twenty VCFs, identifying 171 species across 13 orders and 63 families. Lepidoptera dominated with 42.70% of the identified species, followed by Hymenoptera (19.88%) and Odonata (15.20%). While other orders had lower representation, a significant number of unidentified species indicate the need for further research on their ecological and economic value. Improved identification methods will enhance our understanding. Discussions with local people from various professions revealed a lack of awareness regarding the ecological and economic importance of forests and insect conservation. Therefore, there is a pressing need for more in-depth research on the significant number of VCFs in the CHTs, focusing on beneficial insects and their impact on both the forest ecosystem and local communities.
Keyword : Village Common Forests (VCFs), insect diversity, biodiversity conservation, indigenous communities, Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs), Bangladesh
Author(s) : Mazumdar, S., Miah, M. I.
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Published Issue : 2024 Vol. 19 Number 2

2024 Vol. 19 Number 2