Bangladesh is a small tropical country in South Asia. It is found between India and Myanmar, along the coast of the bay of Bengal. Bangladesh has a population of 168 million people, It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with 1 200 inhabitants per square kilometre (km). Due to Bangladesh’s geophysical location, fertile alluvial land and warm climate, it is also one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, hosting a wide variety of flora and fauna. Bangladesh's most notable features are the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers which shape the country's physiography. The Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers create the Bengal Delta (also referred to as the Ganges Delta and the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta), the world's largest river delta. The Bengal Delta takes up two-thirds of the country and is an essential part of the livelihoods of many citizens, but it is subject to constant changes due to yearly cyclones and flooding. Due to population dynamics, economic development, agricultural advancements and climate change, Bangladesh is experiencing an increased rate of land use, causing adverse environmental impacts.
The dominant biomes of Bangladesh include mangroves and tropical moist broadleaf forests. The dominant ecoregions include the Sundarbans mangroves, the Sunderbans freshwater swamp forest, the Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forest and the Mizoram–Manipur–Kachin rainforest. 
Mangrove biomes are found in coastal areas in tropical and subtropical regions. Mangrove forests are wetlands, occurring in brackish to saline water, located in sheltered coastlines and river deltas. The mangrove biome is present in Bangladesh, containing the Sundarbans mangrove forest ecoregion.
Mangrove forest biomes are distinguishable by their mangrove trees; these tree species have long, stilt-like prop roots that can be seen above the water. Prop roots allow these trees to grow in such soft, muddy and oxygen-poor soil, they stabilize the tree structure enabling them to withstand the daily tides. Mangrove trees have aerial prop roots that absorb oxygen from the air instead of from the soil. These trees can also excrete the excess salt through their leaves, allowing them to live in brackish and saline conditions. 
Mangrove forest biomes are incredibly beneficial for coastlines; dense patches of mangrove trees stabilize shores, and their root systems slow down incoming tides and storm surges reducing coastal erosion and impacts from natural disasters. These biomes are very carbon-rich areas; they have very high amounts of above-ground and below-ground biomass, allowing for large amounts of carbon storage.
Mangrove forest biomes support many animal species; their dense root system provides habitat and shelter for many fish and other aquatic species, while the tree canopy offers protection and cover for nesting shorebirds. Since These forests have high amounts of nutrients cycling through the waters due to the tides, they host large populations of bacteria, filter feeders and decomposers.
- Sundarbans Mangroves
The Sundarbans mangroves are found on the delta formed by the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna Rivers merging at the bay of Bengal. The Sundarbans mangrove extends from east Bangladesh to west India. This ecoregion is the largest continuous mangrove forest in the world with 10 000 square kilometres, with 60% of the area located in Bangladesh. The Sundarbans mangroves are made up of an intricate network of water channels, mudflats and many small forested islands.
The Sundarbans mangrove forests are dominated by sundri mangrove trees (Heritiera fomes). Other common mangrove species found in this ecoregion include Api-api ludat (Avicennia officinalis), the mangrove apple tree (Sonneratia apetala), mangrove cedar (Xylocarpus molluccensis), Indian mangrove (Ceriops tagal) and tall-stilt mangrove (Rhizophora apiculata).
The Sundarbans mangrove forest ecoregion is an essential habitat for many terrestrial and aquatic species, including the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris), the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus), Indian pangolins (Manis crassicaudata), flying foxes (Pteropus giganteus), Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica), Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris), mudskippers (Apocryptes bato), multiple shark and crocodile species, many crab species and more than 170 bird species.
Tropical moist broadleaf forests
The tropical moist broadleaf forest biome is characterized by its warm climates with little seasonality and high amounts of precipitation, making it a very productive area with long growing seasons. Tropical moist broadleaf forests are known to house extensive biodiversity; they contain more species than any other terrestrial biome. Although this biome only accounts for 14 percent of the earth's terrestrial area, more than half of the world's species are found in these forests. In tropical moist broadleaf forests, over 1000 tree species can be found within one square kilometre; however, the dominant species are evergreen and semi-evergreen deciduous trees.
The tropical moist broadleaf forest biome is the primary biome in Bangladesh. It can be divided into three main ecoregions, the Sundarbans freshwater swamp forest, the Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests and the Mizoram–Manipur–Kachin rainforest.
- Sunderbans Freshwater Swamp Forest
Located on the delta between the Ganges river and the Brahmaputra river, the ecoregion is found south of the Lower Gangetic Plains moist forests surrounding the Sundarbans mangroves. The Sundarbans freshwater swamp forest has brackish water as it is in an area where the salt water from the ocean meets the freshwater from the two rivers.
During the rainy season the Ganges river and the Brahmaputra river deposit alluvial soil along the floodplains making this ecoregion exceptionally productive. This has unfortunately caused much of the Sundarbans Freshwater Swamp Forest ecoregion to be destroyed for agricultural land use, leaving the remaining area fragmented and degraded.
This ecoregion supports a large variety of species. The common tree species found there include the looking glass tree (Heritiera minor), mangrove cedar (Xylocarpus molluccensis), the large-leafed orange mangrove (Bruguiera conjugata), the mangrove apple tree, (Sonneratia apetala), the Api-api ludat (Avicennia officinalis), the screw pine (Pandanus tectorius), the sea hibiscus (Hibiscus tiliaceus) and the mangrove palm (Nipa fruticans). The Sundarbans freshwater swamp forest is home to the Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris), the jungle cat (Felis chaus), the leopard (Panthera pardus) and the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), all of which are endangered species. This ecoregion also houses many important threatened mammals, including the capped langur (Trachypithecus pileatus), two different otter species (Lutrogale perspicillata and Aonyx cinerea), the great Indian civet (Viverra zibetha) and the fishing cat (Prionailurus viverrinus). Large aquatic species can be found in this region as well, including the Ganges river dolphin and three endangered crocodile species: the marsh crocodile (Crocodylus palustris), the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and the gharial (Ghavialis gangeticus).
- Lower Gangetic Plains Moist Deciduous Forests
The Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests also known as the Sal forests make up 4.7% of Bangladesh’s total forest area. This ecoregion has a vast but discontinuous distribution, found across many districts in Bangladesh with the largest area of the Sal forest known as “Modhupur Garh” in the Mymensingh and Tangail districts. 
The sal forests host a diverse variety of species. The sal tree is the dominant tree species in these forests however there are approximately 500 understory plant species that are also found in these forests. This ecoregion has a higher mean annual temperature and higher amount of precipitation than the rest of the country allowing it to support the rich understory plants. This ecoregion is home to many endangered and threatened animals including Bengal tigers (Panthera tigris), Asian elephants (Elephas maximus indicus), gaurs (Bos gaurus), smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata), four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), peacocks (Pavo cristatus), great Indian civets (Viverra zibetha), clouded leopards (Neofelis nebulosa), leopards (Panthera pardus), sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) and capped langurs (Trachypithecus pileatus). 
- Mizoram–Manipur–Kachin Rainforest
The Mizoram–Manipur–Kachin rainforest ecoregion extends from Bangladesh into Myanmar and India. It covers multiple mountain ranges in western and northern Myanmar, along the Myanmar- India border and the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts have an area of 13 000 square kilometres and are found in southeastern Bangladesh at the border where Bangladesh, Myanmar and India meet. The Chittagong Hill Tracts support the largest forest area in Bangladesh and accounts for 43% of the country's total forest area.
This ecoregion falls within the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot; it has exceptional levels of flora and fauna diversity. The Mizoram–Manipur–Kachin rainforest ecoregion supports nearly 600 species of birds. The Chittagong Hill Tracts portion of the ecoregion supports upwards of 26 endangered species alone, including the critically endangered Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris), Asian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus), gaur (Bos gaurus), sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), the Burmese python (Python bivittatus), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), Arakan forest turtle (Heosemys depressa), Asian giant tortoise (Manouria emys) and keeled box turtle (Cuora mouhotii). Additionally, this region harbours globally endangered species, such as the dhole (Cuon alpinus), western hoolock gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) and Phayre's leaf monkey (Trachypithecus phayrei). This ecoregion is also an essential habitat for more common species such as king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus), binturong (Arctictis binturong), golden cat (Felis temminki), multiple deer species, wild boar (Sus scrofa), and red serow (Capricornis rubidus).
The Mizoram–Manipur–Kachin rainforest ecoregion comprises semi-evergreen and evergreen forests. These forests have dense understories of bamboo and small evergreen tree species. The dominant tree species found in the Chittagong Hill Tracts include keruing (Dipterocarpus), gerutu-gerutu (Parashorea), chengal pasir (Hopea), sal (Shorea robusta), and shirish (Albizia lebbeck).
Increased soil and water salinity is a notable biophysical limitation raising concerns for the ecology of southwestern Bangladesh. The districts along the coast of Bangladesh cover 32% of the country, and are home to over 35 million people. Salinity of both soil and water resources reduces the growth of plants and crops, which in turn impact the people living in the region. Between 1973 and 2009, the area affected by salinity in Bangladesh has increased from 8 330 square kilometres to 10 560 square kilometres.
Over 90% of the government's demarcated forested areas fall within the east and southeast regions of the country. The Sal forests are the only ones which are present in the central and northern part of Bangladesh, where a majority of the population lives. Overexploitation by humans has significantly exhausted the tropical moist deciduous Sal forest ecosystem in central Bangladesh.
Bangladesh's climate is classified as subtropical monsoon. There is a large seasonal variation in precipitation, which explains the high humidity of Bangladesh during the monsoon season and the low humidity during winter. Bangladesh has an average annual precipitation of 2 200 mm of rainfall per year, which is driven by the southwest monsoon. Most regions in Bangladesh receive at least 1 500 mm of rainfall per year, however, there are some regions, such as the Northeastern border, where they can receive as much as 5 000 mm of rainfall per year. The average temperature is around 26℃, with a range from 15-34℃.
There is a low regional climate difference and its season can be split into a cold and dry winter (December-February) and a warmer and rainier monsoon season (April-September), with October and November being the transitional season. There are four meteorological seasons recognized, where the monsoon season is split into 2 categories: pre-monsoon (March-May) and monsoon (June-September).
The pre-monsoon season is characterized as hot and humid, with average temperatures ranging from 23-30℃, but some districts, such as the northwestern and southwestern, can reach a maximum temperature of 36-40℃. This season accounts for about 19% of Bangladesh's annual precipitation. Thunderstorms and cyclones are another characteristics of this season and some of it can be very severe.
The monsoon season is characterized as hot, humid and rainy, and it's accountable for more than 71% of Bangladesh's annual rainfall. There is light to moderate wind speed, and wind pattern is more variable compared to other seasons.
The transitional season, or post-monsoon, is characterized as hot and dry, however, the temperatures had decreased compared to the previous season. Precipitation has decreased significantly, with about 8% of the annual rainfall occurring during this season. There are also cyclonic disturbances that take place during this period.
Mangrove forests create some of the most productive and complex regions on earth, they produce very diverse ecosystems that provide ideal habitats for many animals and fish. However, because these biomes are only found in tidal areas where the ocean and forest intersect, the conditions are very harsh for plants and trees. Mangrove forests grow in areas not many other plants and trees can survive in, mangrove trees happen to be some of the only coastal plant species capable of living in saline conditions. Mangrove forests also grow in oxygen limited, salty, muddy soil, so they have many adaptations to live in these areas, such as aerial roots, a root filtration system and are able to excrete salt from their leaves.
Tropical moist broadleaf forest biomes have no significant biogeographic limits. These biomes have the most species and the highest biodiversity of any other terrestrial ecosystem, they are known for having high species richness and many endemic species. The climate is very warm, humid and wet, influencing rapid plant growth. The Lower Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests is a productive region with very fertile soil, contributing to its high biodiversity. Certain biogeographic limits include flooding from monsoons and cyclones and incredibly high amounts of rainfall, with approximately 3500 mm of rain in only four months over the rainy season.
Bangladesh has a vast amount of biodiversity; it is home to 138 species of mammals, 167 species of reptiles, 49 species of amphibians, upwards of 566 species of birds and at least 253 species of fish in inland freshwater systems. Bangladesh also has a large variety of flora, with more than 6000 plant species; over 2 000 alone are found in the Chittagong Hills Tracts. The Chittagong Hill Tracts harbour a significant amount of the country's biodiversity; these hills are situated in a global biodiversity hotspot known as the Indo-Burma region. The Indo-Burma hotspot is one of the most biologically rich places on earth, with high numbers of endemic species. The Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Indo-Burma region make up a tiny area in the southeastern part of Bangladesh. A significant amount of biodiversity in Bangladesh is in the northeastern part of the country, where freshwater swamp forests are found. Another area of high biodiversity is the Sundarbans mangrove forests located in the southwest part of the country. This area is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It houses vital endangered megafaunas in Bangladesh, including Bengal tigers, saltwater crocodiles, and two species of freshwater dolphins. This mangrove forest also has many floral species, including 334 different species of plants. Out of 50 true mangrove tree species, the Sundarbans mangrove contains 35.
Bangladesh falls within a biogeographic region referred to as the Indo-Malayan Realm by the World Wildlife Fund. This particular biogeographical realm is almost entirely tropical forest. Since large physical features bound the entire region, remarkable consistency has remained within this realm. The mammalian faunas of the Indo-Malayan Realm can be traced back to the middle Miocene epoch.
In Bangladesh, there has been rapid biodiversity loss due to natural hazards and mostly human influences. During the period when the country was colonized, the British introduced many exotic and non-native plants into Bangladesh's ecosystems. The invasive species led to the loss of several native flora and fauna. It is difficult for local plant species to adapt to the fast growth of invasive species, replacing the local diversity.
Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Climate change is disrupting the food chain for various species in Bangladesh. Its influence on local diversity has led to numerous changes in the distribution of many species, including migratory birds, amphibians, butterflies, and grasses. Microorganisms and soils are degraded in many regions due to increased rainfall. Heavy rain has expedited soil erosion in Bangladesh, causing the leaching of nutrients and adverse effects on the food chain. Salinity increases in the Sundarbans from rising sea levels have caused non-woody shrubs and bushes to replace plant species that provide dense canopy cover; this further degrades the forests’ productivity and quality of species’ habitat.
2.47 million hectares, or around 18% of Bangladesh's total land area, are covered by forests, making up 0.15% of all tropical forests worldwide. However, industrialization and deforestation have directly and severely affected the most important ecosystem in Bangladesh - the Sundarbans mangrove ecosystem. The share of agriculture in Bangladesh's economy fell from 60% in 1970 to 13%, while industry rose to 13.14%. With the increase of industry, the survival of the mangroves in Sundarbans becomes more and more challenging. About half of all revenue connected to forestry comes from the Sundarbans, which make up 45% of Bangladesh's total productive woods. With an area of around 6 029 square kilometers, the Sundarbans in Bangladesh is the world's largest mangrove forest; however, the area of the Sundarbans nowadays is only nearly half the size in 1765. Thousand of trees died due to top-dying. This is caused by the increased use of water from the upper Sundarbans for industry and irrigation has led to a reduction in freshwater flow, causing a significant increase in salinity and other chemical concentrations (heavy metal and exchangeable K account for the major) in the soil and water.
According to measurements, six hazardous chemical elements (Cr, Ni, Cu, As, Cd and Pb) exceeded the Dutch safety target concentrations in 12 existing urban soils in Bangladesh. These hazardous elements may originate from coal, vehicle emissions, industrial emissions pollution and fuel combustion. In addition to urban soils, soils in forests are also affected by emissions from cities. Animals, plants and even humans themselves are threatened.
In the southwestern coastal area of Bangladesh, rice fields were converted to shrimp farms in the 1980s, due to rising salinity that favoured shrimp farming. This led to an increase in soil and surface water salinity, which played a factor in deteriorating water availability and quality, and land stability. In the 1960s, 9 500 ha of Sundarbans mangrove forest was destroyed after flood control projects to create polders had caused a salinity increase, making the environment favourable for the cultivation of shrimps. A positive feedback loop helped maintain areas fit for shrimp cultivation. As shrimp farming increases salinity, which reduces the diversity of the mangrove ecosystem, which also increases salinity and thus creates an environment suitable for shrimp farming. Over the last two decades, shrimp farms had nullified the positive effects dams in the Ganges river, dykes and polders in the south-west coastal area had on water quality; As they were constructed to change the flow of the freshwater river to the mangroves.
There are about 20 estuaries, some dominated by mangroves, along the coast of Bangladesh, with the Meghna River estuary being the largest. The Meghna river estuary holds an abundance of natural resources that is being diminished and overexploited since humans settled near there. Waste from residents, cargo ships, and factories has been dumped along the riverbanks polluting the river. The government has placed policies prohibiting the dumping of waste into bodies of water, however many industries don’t have effective treatment plants for untreated industrial wastes. Runoffs of herbicides, pesticides, and inorganic fertilizers, into rivers, can increase diseases in the fish populations, and harm the aquatic ecosystem.
Bangladesh is endowed with a rich variety of biodiversity due to its geographic location and suitable climate. However, over the last few decades, biodiversity in Bangladesh has been impacted due to anthropogenic pressures. A large number of plants and animal species have gone extinct, and the remaining vegetation and animals are under severe threats. The major causes of biodiversity loss in Bangladesh include high population density, climate change, land use, pollution and introduction of invasive species.
High Population density
Bangladesh is a densely populated country with high rates of poverty and unemployment. Over 85% of its population lives in rural areas, that rely on natural resources. This leads to continuous depletion of plant and animal species for human consumption and economic gains, declining biodiversity and causing destruction to natural forest areas in Bangladesh. In Chalan Beel, the largest wetland in Bangladesh, approximately 10 000 families rely on fishing in dry seasons, and in rainy seasons, it rises to 30 000. The amount of fish available in the area satisfies both the demand of the local and exports to other parts of the Bangladesh. This further leads to the decrease in the fish population and makes it less accessible.
Bangladesh is a deltaic country, with annual rainfall ranging from 1 400 mm to 45 00 mm, and it is expected to increase further by 2050. Climate change contributes to severe environmental degradation in Bangladesh through cyclones, floods, droughts, sea level rise and desertification, affecting the country’s biodiversity. In the near future, it can cause the extinction of a quarter of land animals and plant species.
In the Sundarbans, the rising sea level has caused the loss of dense canopy cover, which has been replaced with bushes and non-woody plants. Increased rainfall accelerates soil erosion, decreasing the productivity of plants and eventually destroying the food chain for various organisms present in Bangladesh’s ecosystem. Recurring and prolonged floods increase the moisture stress of lands, triggering the mortality of multiple species. Droughts lead to desertification, causing soils to dry and adversely affecting crop output.
Land use in Bangladesh has caused habitat fragmentation, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. The expansion of agricultural land in Bangladesh is leading to the loss of native species, particularly frogs, birds, plants and insects, as they are replaced by invasive or exotic species for monoculture farming. The increased fertilizer use due to agricultural expansion is causing the loss of aquatic biodiversity. The toxic chemicals in fertilizers and pesticides pollute the water and degrade marine habitats. Increased shrimp cultivation is another threat to biodiversity and habitat loss. As mentioned in the human influences section, shrimp cultivation is increasing the salinity of the soil, which is negatively impacting the biodiversity of the Sundarbans mangrove forest. 
Infrastructure development continues to devastate biodiversity and natural landscapes across Bangladesh. Infrastructure, including roads, highways, factories, and other buildings, are causing increased environmental degradation and ecosystem fragmentation, which seriously impact animal migration. The USAID Bangladesh Tropical Forests and Biodiversity Assessment team found that a recently built telecommunication building was blocking a vital elephant migration route, which was built despite multiple attempts to inform the Bangladesh government before the construction.  The railroad and roads through Lawachara National park have caused increased pollution, invasion of alien species, wildlife mortality and habitat loss.
Anthropogenic activities across Bangladesh are causing increased pollution resulting in serious effects on biodiversity and the physical environment.
Approximately 400 000 tons of crude oil is spilled into the bay of Bengal annually; this directly affects the Sundarbans mangrove wetlands as it is found in the region where the water from the Ganges river meets the water from the Bay of Bengal. Oil pollution damages the cellular membranes of mangrove roots below the water's surface and causes the mortality of grasses, fish species, shrimp and many other aquatic species. Oil spillage decreases water quality, impacting the reproduction of phytoplankton, zooplankton, shrimp and prawns and damaging nursing grounds for many marine animals. Oil pollution causes negative responses by mangrove trees; it causes reduced foliage, necrosis, changes in leaf maturation, changes to flowering, deformed seeds, abnormal growth of young seedlings, top dying, reduced canopy height, and more.
Heavy metals including mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium and iron can impact mangrove growth and respiratory rates. Contamination of heavy metals in the mangrove wetlands causes changes in mangrove physiology, increases mangrove mortality, contaminates all species in the ecosystem as the heavy metals travel through the food chain.
Exotic species has been introduced into Bangladesh for years, and some of those species are highly invasive and a threat to Bangladesh's biodiversity and ecosystem. Obstruction of Bangladesh's inland bodies of water caused by invasive species, Eichhoria crassipes and Salvinia molesta, would negatively affect the production of fish. Invasive alien species compete with native species for nutrients and habitat, sometimes outcompeting them. There are some invasive alien carps that affect their ecosystem by eroding pond banks, thus increasing turbidity and nutrient concentration, and this leads to changes in the physical and chemical component of water in that ecosystem.
Bangladesh’s biodiversity has drastically decreased over the past decades as a result of the various human influences and the impacts of climate change. In compliance with numerous regional and international conservation agreements, the Bangladesh government has taken initiatives to improve the declining biodiversity and preserve the remaining ecosystems across the country.
Convention on Biological Diversity
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Bangladesh was generated by the growing dedication to sustainable development with three objectives: conserving the biological diversity, sustainable use of its elements, and an equal distribution of the benefits provided by ecosystem services. Bangladesh signed the CBD in 1992 and ratified it in 1994. To enhance the implementation of the convention in Bangladesh, National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) are used as the basic mechanism and attain the commitment of Bangladesh towards the three objectives of CBD. NBSAPs were developed in 2004, with 2010 Biodiversity targets and has 16 strategies addressing: valuation of biodiversity; ecosystem, species and genetic resource conservation; restoration and rehabilitation of endangered species; adoption of invasive alien species and genetically modified organisms; access and benefit-sharing to promote equitability among the society; raise awareness and building capacity of biodiversity conservation; traditional knowledge for conservation; institutional development and cooperation; protected areas management; ensuring wise use of wetlands; participatory mechanisms (including private sector, civil society, local communities) leading to the three objectives; legislation and policy for maintaining biodiversity and environmental issues; monitoring and reporting of the principles of CBD; innovative and sustainable financing; issues of synergies with other environmental agreements; and mainstreaming biodiversity conservation in national development planning and process.
To date there have been some notable progresses made through the implementation of NBSAP. It has led to the integration of the issues of environment and biodiversity into the constitution, acts, rules and planning documents, suggesting that all citizens in Bangladesh are responsible for protecting ecosystem and biodiversity. Several Acts such as the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act 1995 and Bangladesh Wildlife Act 2012, have been enacted. The government has also enhanced areas under conservation through the declaration of Protected Areas, Ecological Critical Areas, Fish Sanctuaries, etc. Furthermore, there has been constant updates regarding threatened species, such as Red-lists of animals, flora and faunas. Through the implementation of NBSAP, Bangladesh has great possibilities to stop the loss of biodiversity and maintain its abundance of fresh water and air, and staple foods (e.g fish, fruits, and grains).
Fisheries stock assessment
Fisheries stock assessment project is based on perception of stakeholders and opinions of experts in Bangladesh, in order to achieve Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs geared toward helping achieve a wide variety of sustainable development goals, such as eradicating poverty and hunger, enhancing health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and conserving forests and seas. Among them, Goal 14 is specially for management and conservation of protecting marine and coastal environment. The marine and coastal ecosystem are facing multiple challenges in Bangladesh, and the exploratory survey on the evaluation of fisheries stocks has been inactive for a very long time. As a result, the values of the standing stock and maximum sustainable yield are uncertain. Understanding these values is a prerequisite for sustainable development and management.
The strategies include: (1) determine both Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and Maximum Economic Yield (MEY) of all key species of economic relevance by evaluating their stocks; (2) develop effective legal framework in order to protect the marine ecosystem from overexploitation; (3) investigate stocks of underexploited fish to determine if they can be caught to ensure sustainability; (4) establish specialized institutions and systems dedicated to monitoring and assessing the condition and data of resources and the environment.
So far, Bangladesh still lacks adequate legal frameworks. However, it is worth noting that the government issued the Fishermen's Act in 2020 to restrict fishing operations to protect endangered aquatic plants and animals. Although no more formal legal frameworks have been introduced, the government and different organizations across the country are restricting the development and destruction of marine ecosystems, such as the Indian ocean tuna commission (IOTC) which has initiated several resolutions of which six are compliant and three are yet to be implemented.
Bangladesh Dolphin Conservation Action Plan
One of the major conservation projects in Bangladesh is the Bangladesh Dolphin Conservation Action Plan. This conservation project is a part of the broader project implemented in Bangladesh called Expanding the Protected Area System to Incorporate Important Aquatic Ecosystems Project. The Bangladesh Forest Department initiated this project with support from the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Development Programme. The Bangladesh Dolphin conservation Action Plan has been implemented with the goal to reduce dolphin killing and to protect dolphin habitats across the country. This project specifically aims to protect the Irrawaddy dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) and the Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangetica) species. The Irrawaddy dolphin is found in coastal waters, in the Sundarbans and the estuary regions of the Baleshwar, Bishkhali and Payra Rivers. The Ganges river dolphin is found in the Padma, Jamuna, Meghna, Brahmaputra and Karnaphuli rivers and their tributaries and is also found in the Sundarbans. These two species were chosen in particular because they occupy different regions, with different water systems that have different levels of salinity, so the action plan should be applicable to all other cetacean species living in and between these regions.
To address both the dolphin killing and dolphin habitat loss the Bangladesh Dolphin Conservation Action Plan has created a list of objectives for both threats.
Threat: Dolphin killings
Objectives to mitigate this threat:
- Gain knowledge and understanding of the dolphins ecology, distribution, habitats, behaviours and movements.
- Reduce killing of dolphins including accidental and intentional incidents
- Develop governance and regulations to improve protection efforts
- Gain knowledge about the socio-economic importance of dolphins and understand local communities perceptions and attitudes about the dolphins
Threat: degradation of dolphin habitat
Objectives to mitigate this threat:
- Gain knowledge of the different dolphin habitats and the threats affecting them
- Increase protected areas particularly in regions with larger dolphin populations
- Implement regulations in the protected areas
- Engage governing bodies, neighbouring countries and development project teams to help with protection of critical dolphin habitats
- Gain knowledge on patterns of aquatic resource harvest in dolphin habitats to implement regulations to reduce dependency on these areas
So far, the Bangladesh Dolphin Conservation Action Plan has been successful in many areas concerning the protection of dolphins. Current dolphin Protected Areas and hotspots are being effectively managed and protected. They are working to implement 24-hour surveillance of these Protected Areas. Additionally, the Bangladesh government is announcing 22 square kilometres of dolphin hotspots as Protected Area with 12 square kilometres of buffer area marked by floating buoys. This conservation project is also successfully training and educating more Forest Department staff about dolphin conservation and rescue techniques and strategies.
The Protection and Conservation Fish Act of 1950
Bangladesh is one of the leading fish-producing countries, with the fishery sector contributing about 3.5% to the national GDP, and support at about 12% of the population’s livelihoods. The Protection and Conservation Fish Act of 1950 was implemented to ensure that fishery resources are not exploited and to ensure the sustainability of the fish population. The Fish Act prohibited fishing between April and mid-August so fish can breed safely during their peak season. It also implemented restrictions on the size of the fish that can be caught, and the roaming grounds for fishing. Law enforcement agencies prevent and stop the illegal marketing of fish, obstruct illegal fishing during the banned period, and thwart the usage of destructive equipment. There are six fishing sites that were designated as hilsa sanctuaries to provide a protected spawning ground for the fish.
A study was done in Kaptai Lake, the largest artificial freshwater reservoir in Bangladesh, and one of the largest in Southeast Asia which showed a decline in high-quality fish produced because of the insufficient enforcement of the Fish Act of 1950. A decline in biodiversity in Kaptai Lake was also discovered in the study, mainly due to human activity, such as pollution by dumping of waste and ineffective fishing regulations. There was a lot of noncompliance that occurred with the policies, such as the use of prohibited fishing practices, catching undersized fish, and fishing either during the peak spawning season or in restricted sanctuary areas. There seems to be a disconnect between the fishers and officials, as many fishers believe that they are following the laws and regulations when they are not, therefore there hasn’t been a briefing or campaign that informed the fishers. In addition, many fishers have low socioeconomic status and rely solely on fishing. Thus, during the banned period, fishers don’t have any other revenue besides the insufficient compensation that was provided by the government, and that leads the fishers to resort to illegal fishing to provide for their livelihood.
Establishment of Ecologically Critical Areas (ECAs)
Ecologically Critical Areas (ECAs) are regions designated by the government of Bangladesh. ECAs are established over regions which were historically impacted by adverse anthropogenic activities. The government of Bangladesh considers these to be national properties which play an important role in the preservation of the environment and biodiversity.
Freshwater ecosystems are often described as most vulnerable due to over exploitation, water pollution, habitat degradation, flow modification and biological invasion. From the wetland ecosystems of Bangladesh, the rivers are described as the most important. Shrinkage, habitat degradation, and the proximity of rivers to industrial sites has resulted in increased pollution. A study in 2015 noted that due to overfishing, sand quarrying, release of industrial/agriculture wastes and related factors the resources in the Halda River were beginning to deplete. Exacerbating this further were improperly planned river management projects.
Starting from 2018, conservation efforts have been taken up by the government and local communities to protect the breeding area of the pure Indian carp along the Halda River. Two major industrial facilities were shut down near the river as a part of the conservation efforts. Efforts have also aimed to reduce overfishing and minimize the pollutants discharged from activities such as tobacco farming, and industrial land use. The government initiated the process to declare the Halda River as an ECA. The result seems to be positive, and in 2020, approximately 935 lbs of fish eggs were located in the Halda river. The river has also been declared as a fish heritage site by the government in 2020.
Please use the Wikipedia reference style. Provide a citation for every sentence, statement, thought, or bit of data not your own, giving the author, year, AND page. For dictionary references for English-language terms, I strongly recommend you use the Oxford English Dictionary. You can reference foreign-language sources but please also provide translations into English in the reference list.
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