Bangladesh National Herbarium

Bangladesh National Herbarium a scientific organisation where plant specimens collected from different parts of the country are documented and preserved as reference material. The issue of establishing a herbarium at Dhaka was raised by the Department of Botany, university of dhaka during the UNESCO symposium on Scientific Problems of Humid Tropical Deltas held in Dhaka in March 1964. FR Fosberg, the chairman of the visiting committee for tropical herbaria, held a discussion with the head of the Department of Botany, University of Dhaka on the issue and submitted a report to the government of East Pakistan emphasizing the immediate need for establishing a herbarium.

A proposal with a similar objective was submitted by the Department of Botany, University of Dhaka to the Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Pakistan (ARCP) and resubmitted in 1966 incorporating certain additional items as desired by the Council. The proposal named the 'Botanical Survey of East Pakistan' was finally sanctioned by ARCP with a budget of Tk 2,25,400 for a period of five years. Initially it was manned by only two full-time botanists, one plant illustrator and a typist-clerk.

After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 it was renamed as the Botanical Survey of Bangladesh. The Ministry provided funds for the salaries of the staff until the end of the financial year 1971-72. Subsequently it was funded by the Ministry of Forests, fisheries and livestock for the year 1972-73. However, the funding was discontinued after one year as no budgetary provision was made for this project for the fiscal year 1973-74.

By this time, the newly formed bangladesh agricultural research council (BARC) had started functioning. The project was resubmitted for consideration to BARC, and it was financed for one year (1973-74).

In July 1975, the project started functioning as a control project of BARC under the name Bangladesh National Herbarium, initially for a period of three years.

In 1994, under a notification of the Cabinet Division, the Bangladesh National Herbarium was transferred to the care of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. On the recommendation of the Natural Resources Division of the British High Commission in Bangladesh, the British Oversees Development Agency (ODA, at present called DFID) committed to act as a donor for the construction of a permanent herbarium in the Mirpur botanical garden, to provide training facilities to scientists and to equip the herbarium with laboratories and library. [Md Salar Khan]