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Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Eco-park, Chittagong, Bangladesh: Its impacts on a rural community

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The Sitakunda Botanical Garden and Eco-park was established, under a five-year (2000–2004) development project, as a means to enrich and conserve biodiversity, and develop ecotourism facilities in the region. This study explores to what extent the authority achieves these objectives and the impacts of the park on adjacent villagers. More specifically, it highlights park-people relationships and people dependency on park resources. Findings indicate that, as the project was implemented, the area was enriched, with natural regeneration, new plantations and infrastructure development. It has become a new destination for visitors, and nature-based tourism. Tourism provides revenue to the park authority and income to local people. Even though the park is a good instrument for biodiversity conservation, ignoring the dependence of local people on park resources created conflicts between local communities and the park authority. Prohibition on the extraction of forest products from the park, and restriction on use of park roads to enter adjacent forests make the livelihoods of surrounding villagers vulnerable. The park establishment has created some job opportunities, but local people feel that these are inadequate. Suggestions are made to overcome the existing conflicts and to develop an eco-friendly park which would conserve biodiversity and, at the same time, benefit local communities.
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Keywords: BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION; BUFFER ZONE; ECOTOURISM; SITAKUNDA BOTANICAL GARDEN AND ECO-PARK

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2006

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