Hill Forest

Hill Forest Located in hills and hilly areas, hill forests are composed of tropical evergreen and semi-evergreen vegetations. This is one of the main forest types of Bangladesh. These forests are to be found in Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachari Hill Tracts, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Sylhet, Maulvi Bazar and Habiganj districts, covering an area of approximately 1.40 million ha, of which 0.67 million ha is under the control of the Forest Department and the remaining 0.73 million ha are unclassed state forest under the control of the Hill District Councils. A large diversity of tree, bamboo, and shrub species of ecological significance is found in these forests. The existing growing stock in the hill forest is estimated at about 28.57 million cubic metres. In addition to timber and fuelwood, bamboo, sungrass etc are also extracted from these forests to meet local needs as well as industrial demand.

The natural tropical forests of the country in the past have been gradually converted into plantation forests through felling and artificial regeneration. afforestation activities have continued in depleted and barren areas. At present about 12 thousand ha of plantation are raised every year. Fast growing species are raised on a 6 year rotation for the production of fuelwood. Similarly plantation for peeler logs, poles and saw logs are raised on 12, 18 and 40 years rotation respectively. A number of mills, particularly rayon, pulp, paper, plywood, cabinet and furniture making industries get the raw materials from the hill forests.

In hill forest areas, especially in the three hill tract districts, different tribal people have been dwelling. They depend on these forests for most of their livelihood. Hill tribes practice shifting or jhum cultivation to grow some of their crops. [Md Mahfuzur Rahman]

See also jhum; forest and forestry; social forest.