The Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) was set up as a Forest Products Research Laboratory (FRL) in 1955 by the Government of the East Pakistan. In 1965, the Laboratory was named as the East Pakistan Forest Research Laboratory (EPFRL) under the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct research on the management of the Forest Department. The major objective of the FRL was to conduct research on the utilization of wood and wood products. Later, the need for forestry management research was felt by the administrators and Planners of the country due to rapid decline in stock density of trees in forest land.
Consequently, in 1968, the Forest Management Research Branch was created with the assistance of FAO/UNDP, and after the independence of Bangladesh the FRL was reorganized as BFRI. In 1985, the BFRI was separated from the Forest Department, and its administrative control went under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and then in 1988 under the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF). BFRI, headed by a Director (NPS Grade-II), has two research Branches, namely, the Forest Management Branch and the Forest Products Branch each of which is headed by a Chief Research Officer.
The Forest Products Branch has 06 research Divisions and the Forest Management Branch has 11 research Divisions. In addition, there are two other common services Divisions (Administration and Service Engineering) directly under the Director. Research on scientific and efficient utilization of forest produces are the responsibilities of the Forest Products Branch. Major contributions of this Branch are designing of a low cost solar-kiln for seasoning timbers, devising preservative treatment techniques for rural housing materials, development of composite products from wood and bamboo, generation of technology for good quality pulp from inferior quality jute and lesser-used wood, classification of end-uses of the lesser-used and village wood species, etc.
Research in the Forest Management Branch is aimed at increasing the productivity of forest land through improved management, conservation of soil and water, protection of trees from pests and diseases, tree improvement through biotechnology and genetic engineering, etc. Mentionable achievements of the Forest Management Branch are: determination of growth & yield models for preparing volume & biomass tables for forest and village tree species, determination of economic rotations of those species, selection of site-specific tree species, propagation of bamboos from branch cuttings, development of nursery and tissue-culture techniques for raising plantations, soil conservation and water-shed management, etc.
BFRI has pioneering contribution on artificial regeneration of mangrove species and raising man-made mangrove plantations which at present cover about 0.10 million hectare land along the coastal belt of Bangladesh. The Forest Department (FD), Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC), Bangladesh Chemical Industries Development Corporation (BCIC), Bangladesh Tea Board, Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Board (CHTDB), NGOs and private entrepreneurs are the major clienteles of BFRI.
Policy Obligations, Aims and Goals of BFRI:
By policy, BFRI bears the obligation to provide research supports to the FD, BFIDC, end-users and others in performing the forestry activities. BFRI aims at maintaining sustainable productivity of forest land and forest industries without resource depletion. The broad goal is to reduce the demand-supply gap of forest resources.
Major Research Areas:
- Research in the following broad programmed is conducted to achieve national goals in forest productivity, employment generation, environmental conservation and woman’s participation in line with the Forestry Sector Master Plan of the country.
- Optimize productivity in hill, plain, village and coastal forests through the application of technological input to alleviate the poverty.
- Provide research backup to forestry and agro-forestry in waste and marginal land for optimum and sustainable utilization.
- Rational utilization of forest produces through the application of technological input.
- Help in conservation of biodiversity and environmental balance in national and rural forests.
- Increase liaison with regional and global organizations and networks.
BFRI is now conducting research under the following 12 programme areas:
- Production of quality planting materials
- Plantation technique & forest management
- Breeding and tree improvement
- Bamboo and non-timber economic crops
- Biodiversity and conservation
- Forest inventory, growth and yield
- Soil conservation and watershed management
- Social forestry and farming system research (FSR)
- Forest pest and diseases
- Post harvest utilization-physical processing
- Post harvest utilization-chemical processing
- Training and transfer of technology
Demand driven research such as promotion of farm forestry and agro-forestry, sustainable management of the Sundarbans and other coastal forest land.
source: Web portal of Bangladesh Forests Research Institute – BFRI.
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