The largely undisturbed Sundarbans mangrove forests in Bangladesh remains one of the last habitats of a healthy population of the endangered Bengal Tigers, 315 different bird species and endangered river dolphins. This area encompasses about 6,000 square kilometers of primary forest, which, together with the smaller Indian part, is the largest closed canopy mangrove forest in the world. This “Sundarbans Reserved Forest” is largely declared a UNESCO world heritage site and RAMSAR site. The direct resource users are little involved in the management of the forests. Although there are no permanent settlements within the forests, human activities continue to affect the Sundarbans. Unsustainable fishing and wildlife poaching are threatening the ecosystem. Pollution by harmful agricultural practices and increasing industrial developments in the nearby hinterland are putting further pressure on the forest reserve. For world heritage sites UNESCO requires systematic ecological monitoring in order to assess and predict possible impacts of direct human activities and natural changes in the reserves. There is a need for an upgraded monitoring system in place. The project aims to involve the local communities in protecting this vast area of mangrove forests.
MTS took part in the project in data analysis and data base remodeling which aims at analyzing and interpreting the data gathered and remodeling the database for easy handling. The main SMP has conducted a comprehensive household census covering all 38 VCF-associated villages with 16,823 households in Chandpai Range in order to better understand the dependency of households on SMF resources and the involvement of resource users in co-management.