Small-scale agroforestry for upland community development: A case study from Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

Tapan K. Nath*, Makoto Inoue, Hla Myant

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The potentialities of agroforestry are generally investigated through their biophysiological phenomena, cost-benefit analysis, and possible impact upon poverty reduction. There have been inadequate studies on the actual impacts of agroforestry intervention on small landholders and of farmers' attitudes toward these agroforestry programs. Drawing upon the findings of an empirical study, this article explores the effects of small-scale agroforestry on upland community development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. More specifically, the study clarifies the merits and demerits of different agroforestry systems as perceived by farmers, their impacts on the rural economy and the environment, farmers' attitudes toward the adoption of agroforestry, and impacts of various government policies. Field data were collected by administering questions to 90 randomly selected smallholders of the Upland Settlement Project (USP), as well as from project staff. The research tools employed were semistructured interviews, group discussions, and uncontrolled observations. The results indicated that the agroforestry interventions have in fact increased farmers' income through employment and the selling of farm products, as well as by improving the ecological conditions of these areas through reduction of soil erosion, increasing tree coverage, and maintaining soil fertility. The adoption of different agroforestry systems was governed mainly by the farmers' interests in following these techniques, their ability to cultivate the land in the prescribed manner, and the market demand for their products. The major obstacles that prevented increased agroforestry improvements included lack of confidence in new land-use systems, inappropriate project design (e.g., top-down innovation approach), and policy issues regarding land tenure. Recommendations are proposed to strengthen social capital in local organizations to enhance the livelihoods of the upland communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Forest Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Agroforestry
  • Ethnic communities
  • Shifting cultivation
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


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