Ecosystem Management is the Key to Reduce Climate Impacts and Food Security

Ecosystem Management is the Key to Reduce Climate Impacts and Food Security
Mohammed Ataur Rahman
Professor and Director, International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Ecosystems provide food to all organisms living there. To secure energy and nutrients, healthy and functional ecosystems are required. Most of the ecosystems are vulnerable to anthropogenic activities and climate change and have lost their productivity. The hydrological cycle has been obstructed due to deforestation, construction of dams and embankments, unplanned infrastructures, and agricultural expansion, and thus food security is under threat. So, it is urgently needed to restore healthy and functional ecosystems. Some practices are mentioned in this paper for ecosystem-based adaptation, among them traditional flood plain management and rural home-centered aggregated farming are important.

Keywords: Ecosystem, Food security, Landscape management, Water cycle, Global warming, Climate-smart agriculture, Ecosystem-based adaptation

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Ecosystem Management is the Key to Reduce Climate Impacts and Food Security

Ecosystem Management is the Key to Reduce Climate Impacts and Food Security
Mohammed Ataur Rahman
Professor and Director, International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Ecosystems provide food to all organisms living there. To secure energy and nutrients, healthy and functional ecosystems are required. Most of the ecosystems are vulnerable to anthropogenic activities and climate change and have lost their productivity. The hydrological cycle has been obstructed due to deforestation, construction of dams and embankments, unplanned infrastructures, and agricultural expansion, and thus food security is under threat. So, it is urgently needed to restore healthy and functional ecosystems. Some practices are mentioned in this paper for ecosystem-based adaptation, among them traditional flood plain management and rural home-centered aggregated farming are important.

Keywords: Ecosystem, Food security, Landscape management, Water cycle, Global warming, Climate smart agriculture, Ecosystem-based adaptation

Introduction: An ecosystem includes all of the living things viz. plants, animals, and microbes in a given area that interact with each other, as well as the non-living environments like weather, earth, sun, soil, climate, atmosphere that surround the living things. The main function of ecosystem is to transfer of energy into living system and conversion of biomass utilizing nutrients from the soil, water and air. This biomass production, transfer and recycling is the overall food system (Ricard, 2014). The productivity of an ecosystem depends on geographical position, landscape, climatic factors and availability of soil and water along with the biotic components. Different ecosystems transform energy into organic matter; the ecosystems are distinguished from one another by their productivity. The greatest production yielded by forests, savannah, steppe and cultivated land. Primary production on land is about twice than the ocean (Table 1) and there is a regular reduction in ecosystem productivity as one moves from the tropics to the polar regions (Astanin and Blagosklonov, 1978).
Table 1. Net primary production of the biosphere and its ecosystem
Land/Ocean Ecosystems Area million km² World production Billion tons/year
1 Rivers and Lakes 2 1.0
2 Swamps and Marshland 2 4.0
3 Tropical Forests 20 40.0
4 Temperate Forests 18 23.4
5 Northern Forests 12 9.6
6 Arid Forests 7 4.2
7 Savannah 15 10.5
8 Steppe 9 4.5
9 Tundra 8 1.1
10 Semi-desert 18 1.3
11 Desert, Rock, Ice 24 0.07
12 Cultivated Land 14 9.1
All land 149 109.0
13 Oceans 332 41.5
14 The Shelf Zone 27 9.5
15 Estuaries and Algae 2 4.0
World Ocean 361 55.0
The Whole Biosphere 510 164.0
Source: Astanin and Blagosklonov, 1978
During the processes of ecological systems, it provides benefits to humans and is termed as ecosystem services (ODI, 2015). With the advancement of agriculture, urbanization and industrialization human involved in the regulation of the production system to harness the benefits and thus managing the ecosystems. Much progress has been made in reducing hunger and poverty and improving food security and nutrition. But major concerns persist; some 795 million people still suffer from hunger and more than two billion from micronutrient deficiencies or forms of over nourishment. In addition, global food security could be in jeopardy, due to mounting pressures on natural resources and to climate change, both of which threaten the sustainability of food systems at large (FAO, 2017) . Still, there are many ecological systems are beyond the control of human being but many systems are over-explored and highly-intervened. The well-being of people all over the world depends on healthy ecosystems to provide goods, like food and water, and services like climate regulation and protection from natural hazards (WHO, 2019).
Global Population and Food
According to United Nations World Population 2017 estimate, the global population has increased from 2.536 billion to 7.383 billion during the period 1950 to 2019 and it will be 9.314 billion in 2050 and 10.301 billion in 2100. Physical factors that affect population distribution include altitude and latitude, relief, climate, soils, vegetation, water and location of mineral and energy resources. Of all the geographic influences on population distribution, climatic conditions are perhaps the most important. Climate affects population distribution both directly as well as indirectly through its effects on soil, vegetation and agriculture that have direct bearings on the pattern of population distribution (Joshi and Maharjan, 2013). The fertile alluvial and deltaic soils can support dense populations and the major concentrations of populations in the world are located in the river valleys and deltas. Similarly, the chernozems of steppe grasslands and rich volcanic soils can support dense population. Moreover, application of modern technologies during the recent times has greatly enhanced the profitability of cultivation in many areas of the world, which were hitherto not suitable for cultivation (Jones et al., 2017).
In association with climatic conditions, varying soil types give rise to variety of vegetation cover on the earth surface and provide contrasting environment for a variety of agricultural activities, and hence, lead to different population density. Tropical forests, savanna, tundra and taiga provide different media for human occupation and concentration (Clarke, 1972).
Food is the nutritious substance for living organisms like human, animals, plants and microbes which provide energy and nutrients for survival. The ultimate source of energy is the sun; the nutrients get from the soil, water and air (Fernando, 2012; Singh and Schulze, 2015). The nutrients make the body components; conduct metabolisms, interact and transfer energy through food chain and food web. Thus food is the linking composition of energy and nutrients for the population as a whole. Availability of light, air, water, soil and interaction of biotic and abiotic components are essential for ensuring food production and supply.

Food Insecurity in Changing Climate
With the beginning of agriculture human domesticated certain plants and animals mainly for their food. The domesticated plants are the crops, primarily for food production. Climate is the basis for crop production as climate determines crop adaptation; eventually the weather in the locality determines the crop development and productivity. Photosynthesis is the single most important process that is responsible for crop productivity, depends on light, temperature, carbon dioxide and water (Acquaah, 2002). The food systems on which food security depends are subject to risks of various natures. These risks can impact directly the four dimensions of food security and nutrition: agricultural production, access to food, utilization, and stability. They include climatic risks themselves and, as shown above, many other risks that are, in turn, influenced by climate change, or that may combine with climate change induced risks and have compensative, cumulative or amplifying effects. The net impact of a climatic shock on food security depends not only on the intensity of the shock but also on the vulnerability of the food system to the particular shock, i.e. the propensity or predisposition of the system to be adversely affected (IPCC, 2012). With the increased population human faces insecure to sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life. Food security vulnerability due to climate change is the propensity of the food system to be unable to deliver food security outcomes under climate change (FAO, 2016).
Anthropogenic climate change is widely regarded as one of the most significant threats to global food security, impacting all dimensions of food production, availability, stability and utilisation (Schmidhuber and Tubiello, 2007; Wheeler and Von Braun, 2013; Gbegbelegbe et al., 2014; Tai et al., 2014). For example, climate change has been shown to directly impact food production through changes in agro-ecological conditions, with declines in food production and increasing variability of food supply already attributed to observe warming and changes in regional rainfall patterns (e.g. Parry et al., 2004, 2005; Fischer et al., 2005). Climate change also affects the ability of individuals to access and use food effectively by altering the conditions for food safety and increasing the risks of vector-, water- and food-borne diseases (Githeko et al., 2000; Patz et al., 2005). As a result, it has been projected that the number of undernourished people may increase by up to 26% by 2080 (Fischer et al., 2005). Consequently, achieving food security under the changing climate is a critical public policy problem, particularly given the tendency of climate change to interact with other economic, political, temporal and biophysical drivers (Ericksen et al., 2009).
Climate change will affect the agricultural sectors in many ways, and these impacts will vary from region to region. For example, climate change is expected to increase temperature and precipitation variability, reduce the predictability of seasonal weather patterns and increase the frequency and intensity of severe weather events, such as floods, cyclones and hurricanes. Some regions are expected to face prolonged drought and water shortages. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC, 2014) also points out that changes in climate and carbon dioxide concentrations will enhance the distribution and increase the competitiveness of important invasive weeds. As a result of climate change, some cultivated areas may become unsuitable for crop production, and some tropical grasslands may become more arid. According to Ray et al., 2019 climate change has already affected global food production.
Landscape Management is the Key to Ensure Healthy Ecosystem
Landscape management is an integral part of natural conservation vis-à-vis proper land utilization for production of food and other essentials managing the land resources like water, soil and biodiversity. It requires collective ideas, compromising the need of existence of all, fulfillments of the needs of human beings and long-term foreseeness to assess any detrimental effects by manmade activities directly or indirectly. Learning to measure how landscapes perform in delivering food, biodiversity and livelihood outcomes is anticipated to endow management systems with the capacity to sustain these multiple functions while reducing or reversing the degradation of natural resources.
However, lack of understanding or feelings of ill competition for existence or dominance, human beings are often biased with natural resources; quick manmade change of landscape is one of them. Therefore, to secure the lives and livelihoods, it needs to manage natural systems wisely and logically to conserve and maintain the significant features of a landscape, which is greatly valued on account of its distinctive natural or cultural configuration. Such protection must be active and involve management measures for preservation of significance. For framing proper planning, more particularly in those most affected by change and badly damaged areas like suburbs, peri-urban and industrial areas, floodplains and coastal areas, there needs a systematic study on overall changes due to steadfast increase of population and significant industrialization during the last century (Rahman et al., 2018).
Disruption of the Water Cycle and River Ecosystems

Loss of forest disrupts water cycle, resulting in less rainfall and causing drier conditions over broad surrounding areas, sometimes leading to drought. Forests also retain moisture from rainfall, allowing it to recharge water tables and regulating the flow of water into rivers and other waterways. Loss of forests often results in increased flooding and erosion of sediment into rivers, disrupting river ecosystems (Johnson, 2017).

Global Warming

Deforestation is a primary cause of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions leading to global warming (IUCN, 2017). Global warming threatens ecosystems and biodiversity globally (Johnson, 2017). Rapid and abrupt land-use changes, mainly due to development pressures and urban sprawl, habitat fragmentation due to transport infrastructures, resource overexploitation and pollution, are few of the main factors impacting upon Mediterranean forests and driving their degradation. Once climate change is added upon those, accompanied by heat-waves, drought and overall temperature rises, the resilience and adaptation capacity of forests is exhausted (WWF and IUCN, 2008). Mediterranean areas have experienced an increase in aridity in the last decades. Warming trends have been registered in the Mediterranean Basin. Precipitation has begun to exhibit either a long-term downward trend, mainly in the dry season, or no significant change although in all cases a rise in potential evapotranspiration has led to increased aridity. In South California and South Africa similar trends have been observed in the recent past and are projected for the coming decades. Drought is the main concern in Mediterranean areas. It negatively affects most services, from food production, by decreasing water sources for irrigation, to carbon-storing capacity (Penuelas et al., 2017). Deforestation and degradation of forests create ecological problems in every part of the world. Deforestation is occurring at a rapid pace, especially in tropical regions where millions of acres are clear cut every year. Remaining forests also suffer from pollution and selective logging operations that degrade the integrity of local ecosystems. Destruction of forests also effects the soil and water quality in the immediate area and can have an adverse effect on biodiversity over a range of connected ecosystems. Over half of all terrestrial species live in rainforests, which are subject to the greatest deforestation pressures. Biodiversity loss can occur during selective logging as well, as individual species may be intolerant to loss of a particular tree type or to the presence of logging operations (Johnson, 2017).

Impacts of Climate Change on Forests

Forests are particularly sensitive to climate change, because the long life-span of trees does not allow for rapid adaptation to environmental changes. Adaptation measures for forestry need to be planned well in advance of expected changes in growing conditions because the forests regenerated today will have to cope with the future climate conditions of at least several decades, often even more than 100 years.

Rising atmospheric CO2 concentration, higher temperatures, changes in precipitation, flooding, drought duration and frequency will have significant effects on trees growth. These climatic changes will also have associated consequences for biotic like outbreaks of pests and diseases and abiotic disturbances like the incidences of fire and storms frequency and intensity with strong implications for forests ecosystems Reduced stability will decrease the protective function against natural hazards like flooding, debris flow, landslide, and rock fall, while hazardous processes itself might be both intensified or alleviated by the expected climatic changes (EU Report, 2008).
The recent European heat wave broke temperature records at many locations in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Spain. In France it was broken by more than 1.5°C on 28 June, with 45.9°C recorded near the city of Nîmes (Oldenborgh et al., 2019).
Tropical Forest Loss and Climate Change
According to new University of Maryland and World Resources Institute (WRI) analysis, 2017 tropical deforestation was 39.8 million acres in 2017 and 41.7 million acres in 2016. According to IUCN more than half of the world’s tropical forests have been destroyed since the 1960s. The recent study suggesting that deforestation, degradation, and general disturbance have already combined to make tropical forests a net carbon source rather than a sink, meaning they are losing more carbon than they can absorb (NASA, 2017).
Climate change is also contributing to the loss, bringing forests more severe and frequent tropical storms. In 2017, hurricanes destroyed 32 percent of Caribbean island Dominica’s forests, according to WRI. Puerto Rico offers another grim preview of what’s to come, with storms like Hurricane Maria destroying 50 percent of the canopy last year alone – compared with 1 percent in a typical year. Tropical forest fires, often started by humans to clear land for farming or mining, get worse with climate change impacts like drought and severe heat. In 2017, record-breaking fires ripped through the Brazilian Amazon, the most since monitoring began in 1999. Climate emissions tracked to major disasters serve as an apt illustration of the potential impact of tropical forest loss: Scientists used mapping and modeling data to estimate that the roughly 320 million large trees lost during Hurricane Katrina had been holding 105 tera-grams of carbon, representing 50-140 percent of the net annual U.S. forest tree carbon sink. Tropical deforestation actively contributes to the vicious cycle of climate change. Scientific modeling, according to WRI, “strongly agrees” that continental-scale deforestation of tropical forests would make those areas warmer and drier. Deforestation in areas like the Amazon, Southeast Asia, and the Congo can also affect the water cycle, with local and global implications (Scholze, 2006 and Simons, 2018).

Degradation of Ecosystem through Agricultural Expansion
Growing human population and rising per capita consumption lead to ecosystem degradation and biodiversity decline worldwide (Gibbs et al., 2010). Agricultural expansion for the production of food, feed, fibre and fuel has generated fundamental benefits for human welfare (Godfray, 2010) but comes with a variety of costs (MEA, 2005 and Newbold et al., 2015). These costs may compromise human well-being in the long term, as they are linked to greenhouse gas emissions, declining biodiversity (Gibson et al., 2011 and Stork et al., 2009) and degradation of a variety of regulatory ecosystem services that affect air quality, purification of water, carbon storage or soil erosion. It is commonly assumed that the conversion of natural to agricultural systems leads to major losses of important ecosystem services. However, the degree to which agricultural systems still provide certain ecosystem services strongly depends on the converted ecosystem, the type of planted crop, the spatial dimensions of plantations, and the management practices in place. With the exception of small-scale experiments, the mechanisms governing the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functions remain poorly understood, especially in tropical rainforest ecosystems, which experience massive transformations and varying land use intensities. In tropical Asia, a rapidly growing population and agricultural expansion coincides with one of the highest levels of biodiversity and endemism worldwide. Rainforests in Southeast Asia have been logged on a large scale since the mid 20th century, usually followed by subsequent transformation of logged-over rainforests into cash crop monocultures (Koh and Gazhoul, 2008; Wilcove and Koh, 2010), such as acacia, rubber and oil palm (Drescher et al., 2016).
According to IPBES Global Assessment Report 2019, land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of the global land surface, up to US$577 billion in annual global crops are at risk from pollinator loss and 100-300 million people are at increased risk of floods and hurricanes because of loss of coastal habitats and protection. The pace of agricultural expansion into intact ecosystems has varied from country to country. Losses of intact ecosystems have occurred primarily in the tropics, home to the highest levels of biodiversity on the planet. 100 million hectares of tropical forest were lost from 1980 to 2000: about 42 million hectares for cattle ranching in Latin America and 7.5 million hectares in South-East Asia for plantation crops. Thus the health of ecosystems on which human and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever and eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide (IPBES Report, 2019).
Climate mitigation and adaptation
The world’s forests absorb 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, one-third of the annual CO2 released from burning fossil fuels. Forest destruction emits further carbon into the atmosphere, with 4.3–5.5 GtCO2eq/yr generated annually, largely from deforestation and forest degradation. Protecting and restoring this vast carbon sink is essential for mitigating climate change. Forests also play a crucial role in climate change adaptation efforts. They act as a food safety net during climate shocks, reduce risks from disasters like coastal flooding, and help regulate water flows and microclimates. Improving the health of these forest ecosystems and introducing sustainable management practices increase the resilience of human and natural systems to the impacts of climate change (IUCN, 2017).

Protection of Coastal Zones
According to the Millennium Assessment Report 2005, Coastal ecosystems—coastal lands, areas where fresh water and salt water mix, and near-shore marine areas are among the most productive yet highly threatened systems in the world. Estuaries are partially enclosed bodies of water, where fresh water from rivers and streams mixes with salt water from the ocean. Estuaries, such as coastal bays, form the transition between the land and the sea; creating a unique, diverse and the most productive ecosystem. Regardless of location or latitude, estuaries, marshes, and lagoons play a key role in maintaining hydrological balance, filtering water of pollutants, and providing habitat for birds, fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and other kinds of ecologically and commercially important organisms. The 1,200 largest estuaries, including lagoons and fiords, account for approximately 80% of the world’s freshwater discharge (Alder, 2003; NOAA, 2017).
According to IPCC AR 5 (2014) increasing GHGs in the atmosphere produce changes in the climate system on a range of time scales that impact the coastal physical environment. On shorter time scales, physical coastal impacts such as inundation, erosion, and coastal flooding arise from severe storm-induced surges, wave overtopping, and rainfall runoff. On longer time scales, wind and wave climate change can cause changes in sediment transport at the coast and associated changes in erosion or accretion. Natural modes of climate variability, which can affect severe storm behavior and wind and wave climate, may also undergo anthropogenic changes in the future. Ocean and atmospheric temperature change can affect species distribution with impacts on coastal biodiversity. Carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake in the ocean increases ocean acidity and reduces the saturation state of carbonate minerals, essential for shell and skeletal formation in many coastal species. Changes in freshwater input can alter coastal ocean salinity concentrations (Melendez and Salisbury, 2017).
Nearly a quarter of mankind lives in low-lying coastal areas, and urbanization is drawing still more people into them. Commercial activities mostly related to port, shipping, industry and agriculture etc. have delineated to commercial hubs. These hubs are catered by a huge forward and backward linkage activities and establishments like banks and insurance companies, clearing and forwarding agents, warehouses and hotels (NBC, 2009). Most of the world’s biggest cities have grown up around natural harbors. While people have been living in coastal areas for thousands of years, the huge cities and megacities that have grown over the past 100 years have quickly destroyed the natural marine and coastal habitats. Migration for shelter to the cities during the recent extreme climate events, and the sufferings of city-lives exacerbated. The rising sea level endangers several smaller island nations, such as Tuvalu, Maldives, etc., which are barely two meter above the sea level (Brown, 2001). Millions of people in lowlying regions of many countries including Bangladesh, China (Strohecker, 2008) and Vietnam (Tanh and Furukawa, 2007) face the danger of being displaced. The construction of general infrastructure such as roads, houses, shops, factories, airports, and ports completely replaces natural habitats. Estuaries, deltas, and their rivers are often dredged and deepened to cope with increased shipping. In addition to this, impacts such as increased erosion due to coastal development, increased pollution, and boat traffic etc., which lead to further habitat loss and put increased pressure on marine species (Rahman and Rahman, 2015).
Restoration of Hydrological Cycle through Water table and Watershed Management of the Mountain and Hill Forests

Mountains and the hills are the important sources of water supply to the valleys, foothills and down the plains through gullies, streams and rivers. Forest and vegetations are the integral parts maintaining hydrological cycle upholding water-table through transpiration pool, evaporation, precipitation, percolation and seepage. Springs and watersheds provide water to forest biodiversity with huge animals, amphibians, birds and reptiles etc. (Winter et al., 1998). Destruction of the natural forests, hydrological cycle is being disturbed resulting drying up of perennial springs and streams; disrupting the water table and thus affecting forest ecosystem. Illicit logging, replacement with economically profitable plantation crops mainly with monocrops viz. timber, paper and pulp wood, rubber, oil palms, tea, cocoa, banana, soybeans and tobacco etc. have affected the hydrological cycle and damaged huge biodiversity thus changed the ecosystems and made more vulnerable to wildfires and droughts. Massive plantation of deciduous timber trees like Teak and Gmelina; resinous and oily Pines and Eucalyptus and xerophytic Acacias in the tropical and subtropical humid and rainforests is the main reason for disrupting the hydrological cycles (IUCN/WWF 2006, Basak et al., 2015). Nearly all surface-water features viz. streams, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, and estuaries interact with ground water. As a result, withdrawal of water from streams can deplete ground water or conversely, pumping of ground water can deplete water in streams, lakes, or wetlands. Pollution of surface water can cause degradation of ground-water quality and conversely pollution of ground water can degrade surface water. Thus, effective land and water management requires a clear understanding of the linkages between ground water and surface water as it applies to any given hydrologic setting (Winter et al., 1998).

Need for a Healthy Ecosystem Management
Feeding the world at a time of climate change, environmental degradation, increasing human population and demand for finite resources requires sustainable ecosystem management and equitable governance. Ecosystem degradation undermines food production and the availability of clean water, hence threatening human health, livelihoods and ultimately societal stability. Degradation also increases the vulnerability of populations to the consequences of natural disasters and climate change impacts. Here ecosystem management can be defined as an integrated process to conserve and improve ecosystem health that sustains ecosystem services for human well-being (TEEB 2010; Norton, 1991 and Costanza, 1992). Healthy ecosystems and their services provide opportunities for sustainable economic prosperity while providing defense against the negative effects of climate change (TEEB 2010 and Meckey, 2009) through human adaptation and behavioral change, as opposed to a continuation of degradation (Figure-1) Munang et al., 2011.

Fig. 1: Beating the vicious cycle of poverty, ecosystem degradation and climate change
Source: Munang et al., 2011

Restoring tropical forests
The tropics lost 12 million hectares of tree cover in 2018, the fourth-highest annual loss since records began in 2001, according to forest monitoring service Global Forest Watch (WRI, 2019). Restoring tropical forests is fundamental to the planet’s health, now and for generations to come. Protecting existing forests and restoring damaged ones prevents flooding, stores carbon, limits climate change and protects biodiversity. Some countries, including China, India, Malawi, Cameroon and Ivory Coast, have already launched large-scale tree planting efforts with some success. Plantation of tropical rainforest areas would produce the highest benefits for safeguarding wildlife, curbing and adapting to climate change, and boosting water security. The top 15 nations with the largest reforestation hotspots included Brazil, Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Colombia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Thailand. The six countries with the greatest potential for successful rainforest restoration were all African: Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Togo, South Sudan and Madagascar. More than 70% of the hotspots were found in countries that have already made reforestation commitments under the Bonn Challenge, agreed by nations in Germany in 2011 and 350 million hectares of degraded land worldwide to be restored by 2030 (Taylor, 2019). It should be noted that for successful establishment secondary forests trees should be chosen according to their habit and habitats i.e. right plant at right place (Kallio, 2013; Basak et al., 2015).
Floodplain Management
Traditional floodplain management by digging ponds and raising land for homes vegetation with forest groves a unique adaptation practice for defending floods, water uses, fish culture, and to protect houses from cyclones and tornados in the Ganges and Brahmaputra basin in South Asian region; cross-sectional view shown in Fig. 2 (Dewan, 2015; Rahman and Rahman, 2015a; Rahman et al., 2018).

Fig. 2 Cross-sectional view of traditional flood-plain management
Source: Rahman and Rahman 2015a

Agriculture in Adverse Situation
Growing crops in the adverse environment manipulating the climatic and environmental factors are becoming effective and gaining importance in adverse climatic situation towards food security. The common practices are greenhouse agriculture, hydroponics and aquaponics also known as the integration of hydroponics with aquaculture (Diver, 2006), and floating agriculture. Floating gardens are age-old practice of crop cultivation in the Southern floodplains of Bangladesh. Floating garden agricultural practices for growing vegetables and spices prevail in the wetlands of the south central coastal districts of Bangladesh since immemorial times. With the use of available water hyacinth and other aquatic weeds, local communities have developed a technique to construct reasonably-sized floating platforms or raft on which vegetables and other crops can be cultivated (APEIS and RIPSO, 2004 and FAO). It is also practiced in India (Chatterjee, 2016), Myanmar (NASA, 2015), Mexico, China and Thailand (Pantanella et al., 2011).
Climate variability is well buffered by agroforestry because of permanent tree cover and varied ecological niches. Resilience, or recovering after a disturbance is well performed by agroforestry because of diversified temporal and spatial management options; permanent tree cover protects and improves the soil, while increasing soil carbon stocks. Agroforestry provides varied ecological niches allow for the presence of different crops, e.g. shade-tolerant and light-demanding and diversification of commodities allows for adjustment to market needs. It offers a win-win opportunity by acting as sinks for atmospheric carbon while helping to attain food security, increase farm income, improve soil health and discourage deforestation (Rao et al., 2007; FAO, 2013).

Urban Greenery
With the increasing impact of climate change, the increasing migration of populations to urban areas and a deterioration of the environmental and social quality in cities, the need to implement solutions to limit the impact of these factors on the quality of life induced the European Commission to launch the priority topic of the Nature-Based-Solutions (NBS). It sequesters local carbon, decreases the pollution, lowers the temperature, increases biodiversity, and provide pleasant environment for recreation (European Commission, 2015 and Calfapietra and Cherubini, 2019). Paris has just announced that it will be planting a series of urban forests as a way to combat climate change. The mini forests will center around the Gare de Lyon, the Palais Garnier, and pathway along the banks of the Seine river. This planting scheme is part of a wider goal to make 50 per cent of the city’s surfaces vegetated and permeable. It is also a part of Paris’ aim to be a carbon neutral city by 2050 (Stinson, 2019).
Urban Agriculture, Urban Water and Waste Management
Urban agriculture, urban farming, or urban gardening is the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around urban areas. Urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, urban beekeeping, and horticulture (Wikipedia). Urban agriculture provides fresh food, generates employment, recycles urban wastes, creates greenbelts, and strengthens cities’ resilience to climate change. Urban and peri-urban agriculture can make an important contribution to household food security, especially in times of crisis or food shortages. Produce is either consumed by the producers, or sold in urban markets, such as the increasingly popular weekend farmers’ markets found in many cities. Because locally produced food requires less transportation and refrigeration, it can supply nearby markets with fresher and more nutritious products at competitive prices (FAO, 2019). Practical Action is working through water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes to promote the community-led total sanitation approach with partners and local governments, demonstrating best practice and developing innovative technologies for clean water and waste management with national and city governments to ensure that poor people are included in sanitation planning (Practical Action, 2019).
Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
It is an integrated approach to managing landscapes, cropland, livestock, forests and fisheries that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change (World Bank, 2018). With rainfall declines and an increasing global temperature threatening the livelihoods of many smallholder farmers, ‘climate-smart agriculture’, a concept developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2010, has been adopted to respond to the challenges of climate change and enhance the capacity of agriculture to support food security in a sustainable way. CSA has since helped in the creation of crops and adoption farming practices that are resistant to climate change while increasing agricultural productivity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the process. CSA aims to simultaneously achieve three outcomes:
1. Increased productivity: Produce more food to improve food and nutrition security and boost the incomes of 75% of the world’s poor who live in rural areas and mainly rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
2. Enhanced resilience: Reduce vulnerability to drought, pests, disease and other shocks; and improve capacity to adapt and grow in the face of longer-term stresses like shortened seasons and erratic weather patterns.
3. Reduced emissions: Pursue lower emissions for each calorie or kilo of food produced, avoid deforestation from agriculture and identify ways to suck carbon out of the atmosphere.
Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is recognized internationally for its cutting-edge achievements in addressing climate change. Bangladesh has invested more than $10 billion in climate change actions – enhancing the capacity of communities to increase their resilience, increasing the capacity of government agencies to respond to emergencies, strengthening river embankments, building emergency cyclone shelters and resilient homes, adapting rural households’ farming systems, reducing saline water intrusion, especially in areas dependent upon agriculture, and implementing early warning and emergency management systems. The World Bank, International Finance Corporation and the 2030 Water Resources Group have also collaborated on an investment strategy for the Bangladesh Delta Plan (BDP) 2100, a long-term investment program to spur adaptive management of the Bangladesh Delta (World Bank, 2016). BDP 2100 is indeed the combination of long-term strategies and subsequent interventions for ensuring long term water and food security, economic growth and environmental sustainability while effectively reducing vulnerability to natural disasters and building resilience to climate change and other delta challenges through robust, adaptive and integrated strategies, and equitable water governance (Alam, 2019). Bangladesh has also developed salinity tolerant rice varieties viz. BRRI dhan55, BRRI dhan61 and BINA dhan8, BRRI dhan47, 48 and BRRI dhan28 (Islam et al., 2016).
Ecosystems are integral parts of the living system provide food and other livelihoods through interactions of living and nonliving surroundings. They have profound influences on climate vis- a-vis climate is also a limiting factor that influences the ecosystems. As human activity dictating over the ecosystems and altering in many forms viz. created agricultural field ecosystem, home-centered floodplain ecosystem, manmade pond ecosystem, urban and peri-urban ecosystem etc. many changes have occurred resulting climate change and biodiversity loss. Quick changes in ecosystems due to increased population in the last two centuries especially for agriculture, industrial expansion and infrastructure development have caused an immense effect on the ecosystems. Therefore, rational utilization of resources and logical management of ecosystem are utmost essential to adjust with the climate impacts. Fundamentally, ecosystems are the foundation of life support and hence it requires appropriate protection and management at a level commensurate with their true value in supporting the global economy. It is vital, therefore, that the issue of ecosystem management has to be integrated with other measures to address food security and climate change. It is recommended that an ecosystem approach becomes centrally embedded within local, national, regional and international level planning and policy making to ensure ecosystem health to give a food secured world.


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Climatic Adaptation and Sustainability of Rice in Bangladesh

Climatic Adaptation and Sustainability of Rice in Bangladesh
Mohammed Ataur Rahman1* and Sowmen Rahman2
1Professor, College of Agricultural Sciences and Director, Centre for Global Environmental Culture, IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology, Uttara, Dhaka
Email: *Corresponding author

2 Department of Environmental Planning, University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Published in IUT-JARD Vol 5 No 2, 2020

Rice is the most important grain crop of Bangladesh. There are thousands of varieties of rice were in Bangladesh. Over 5000 local rice varieties have become extinct in the country in the last few decades. To date, approximately 8,200 germplasm have been preserved by the BRRI genebank. From the available data of Digital Herbarium of Crop Plants only 135 varieties are in cultivation now. According to climatic adaptation in the tropical monsoon four Ecotypes or Landraces of rice are grown in Bangladesh. These are Aus, Aman, Boro and Jhumia which are grown in different climatic seasons of tropical monsoon. The characteristics of these landraces are studied in detail in this paper. Special emphasis was given on adaptability and sustainability; residue management and biomass recycling of rice.

Keywords: Monsoon seasons, Agroecological niches, Landraces, Sustainability, Biomass recycling

Bangladesh is located between 20°34´ and 26°38´ North latitudes and 88°01´ and 92°41´ East longitudes. It is a part of the Ganges and Brahmaputra delta which lies to the south foothills of the eastern Himalayas; west to the Arakan and Lusai folding ranges and in the south, the Bay of Bengal. Hundreds of rivers and tributaries from the upper north, northwest and eastern zones travel towards the Bay. There are few hillocks in the central zone of Bhawal and Madhupur, Lalmai and some high flats in the Barendra region. Besides these, there are scattered patches of hills and hillocks which are mainly the extensions of Himalayas and Lusai-Arakan ranges. The remaining areas are alluvial plains, flood plains, deep and shallow depressions or wet lands. Geologically, Bangladesh is a part of the Bengal Basin and the floor consists of quaternary sediments deposited by the GBM river system, and their numerous tributaries and distributaries. Over 92% of the annual runoff with huge sediments generated in the GBM catchment area flows through Bangladesh, which is only about 7% of the total catchment (Rahman and Rahman, 2015).
The climate of Bangladesh is humid subtropical nature with warm humid summer and cool dry winter under Indian Monsoon region having distinct four seasons. The Climatic Seasons are Pre-Wet Monsoon, Wet Monsoon, Post Wet Monsoon and Dry Monsoon (Shahid 2010). The Pre Wet Monsoon starts in March and prevails in the whole May. During this season, the southwest maritime wind starts, temperature rises up to 35°C, day and night temperature variation is very high often exceeds 20°C. Windy weather with increasing humidity, often with tropical cyclones called Nor’wester or Kal-Boishakhi. The Wet Monsoon starts in June and continued throughout September with high humidity, high temperature and high rainfall. Floods often cause serious damage to lives, crops and structures. Day and night temperature difference is comparatively low, seldom exceeds 10°C. The Post-Wet Monsoon starts in October till the end of November with high day light intensity and decreasing humidity. Often causes strong cyclones especially in the coastal region. During this period, water recedes from the floodplains like Baed, Kuri and edges of the Beels. The Dry Monsoon starts from December and prevails in February, dry weather with low temperature. Temperature often drops below 10°C usually with foggy nights and mornings.
The weather condition varies with the locations. While the eastern and southern districts have more moisture availability, which in the western is comparatively less. Although the average rainfall in Bangladesh is high but its distribution over time and space is not uniform. The period from December to February is virtually dry having only 65.9 mm rainfall. Among the districts, Natore receives the lowest rainfall (1556 mm) while Sylhet the highest (3876 mm). The mean annual temperature is 24.82° C, with maximum 29.79 and minimum 14.79° C averaged from 1796 until 2015. The average solar radiation indicates that the radiation interception is only 36 – 38% of the sunshine hours during June to August owing to continuously overcast sky. Flood is a regular feature affecting rice production in Bangladesh. On an average four percent of rice are annually damaged by flood (Paul and Rasid, 1993).
The average pH of Bangladesh soils could be taken on the acidic side of the pH scale, between 5.5 and 6.5. The Gangetic alluvium soils, particularly the calcareous one, have pH greater than 7.5, reaching at times up to 8.3. These contain free carbonates and bicarbonates. Soils in plateaus, raised lands and hills are usually acidic in nature. Organic matter (OM) status of Bangladesh soil is one of the lowest in the world. About 3.7 million hectares of land contain’ 1.75% organic matter; soils of the low-lying areas contain’ 5.5% organic matter with the exception of peat soils which contains not less 20% organic matter; and rest of the soils contain medium to high amounts of organic matter (Banglapedia).
Variation of climatic factors in different seasons and undulated landscapes provided distinct wet, semidry and wet phases of soil with variable fertility. These wide spectrum of fertility status of the region, in turn, results in vegetative growth potentials in general and cropping pattern in agriculture pattern in particular, especially for rice, attributing to inherent diversity traits of the region. It is roughly estimated that during the past more than 30,000 rice cultivars were grown in the eastern and north eastern parts of India. The indigenous rice varieties cultivated by traditional farmers may contain a considerable genetic diversity that can serve as a source of germplasm for genetic improvements of cultivated varieties of rice. In general, diverse landraces traditionally cultivated by farmers around the centers of diversity and domestication of crops are considered as key natural resources important for maintaining the future food security in light of the changing climate (Pusadee et al. 2009 and Choudhury et al. 2013).
Rice is the most important grain crop of Bangladesh. There are thousands of varieties of rice were in Bangladesh. Over 5000 local rice varieties have become extinct in the country in the last few decades (Rahman, 2013). Nearly I 0,000 landraces are considered to exist in Bangladesh (Cai and Morishima 2000) and it is estimated that about 120,000 varieties of rice exist in the world (Khush 1997). To date, approximately 8,200 germplasm have been preserved by the BRRI genebank (Islam et al. 2018). These germplasms are not only the basis of providing food security but also essential for saving the biodiversity. From the available data of Digital Herbarium of Crop Plants only 135 varieties are in cultivation now; this situation is very alarming both for food security and biodiversity. The ongoing rapid changes in agricultural practices that favor agronomically improved varieties have become a serious threat for the persistence of indigenous rice varieties. Thus, conservation and management strategies are urgently needed to prevent further loss of genetic diversity inherent to indigenous rice varieties in the region. A detailed understanding of the genetic structure and diversity is needed for the planning and implementation of effective conservation, management and utilization of rice germplasm in the whole region (Choudhury et al. 2013).
Therefore, along with the genetic forced crop improvement, climatic adaptation and improvement of environmental factors through climatic manipulation and aggregate farming using multiple varieties of crops, pets and aquatics etc. are utmost essential for food and nutrient security in this climate change situation. Considering these, climatic adaptation of rice has been studied under Bangladesh condition.

This work has been started in 2010 with a self-funded initiative to collect information from different sources like research publications, government and public research institutions, offices, books and journals, periodicals and also from the news media. Physical investigations were made visiting most part of the country meeting people of different ages and levels. Many changes are also shared from the author’s experiences at different work places and compared them by revisiting. Since, there are marked changes of landscape are found but not scientifically documented or studied, as it was less understood or overlooked in the past, so little data is available. However, this study has been done with care and given utmost importance on its scientific needs.

Ecotypes and Landraces of Rice in Bangladesh
According to climatic adaptation in the tropical monsoon four Ecotypes or Landraces of rice are grown in Bangladesh which are Aus, Aman, Boro and Jhumia.

Aus: In BRRI genebank, there are 1,500 varieties of Aus rice are available. Growing period Pre-wet monsoon (March-April) to wet monsoon (July-August) Since Aus rice group has shorter duration and capabilities to address biotic and abiotic physiologically stress condition, so this particular group is being drawn attention to rice scientist for extensive research activities. There is very limited information on the above comparative study on physicochemical properties of these selected HYV and local Aus cultivars. These cultivars are being grown in the country and may have some useful characteristics, which would be helpful for developing improved new rice varieties (Hosen et al. 2016). It is interesting to note that seeds of Aus rice do not need any pre-germination wetting or soaking. Seeds are broadcast in well-ploughed dry field and they are happy to germinate and grow in the film moisture of the soil. They have well-developed root-system penetrate deep into the soil. Heavy rainfall at the early life is harmful for the plants, stagnancy hampers root aeration even plants get rotten. Beside this, heavy competition faces with other grasses and hamper the growth. Aus rice is tolerant to drought at the vegetative stage and to high temperature at the reproductive stage.
He quoted from Khona as saying on Aus rice something like as:
“Drought in May followed by a heavy rain,
Dry stalks grow green to yield better grain”.
Generally, drying up of the growing shoots of the plant at its early vegetative stage due to the severe drought helps to break the apical dominance to regenerate new tillers profusely immediate after the monsoon rain. Though Aus rice prefers to grow better under upland conditions, the reproductive and maturity stage of the crop has to encounter the rainy season. Even in the lower topography or in the charland farmers have to harvest their Aus crop in a knee to waist deep water (Biswas 2017).
Aus allows mixed cropping, traditionally amaranth, musk melon and sesame used to grow in the Aus field. Although the yield of Aus rice is low 1.83 tons per hectare (BBS 2012) but the aggregate output is very high.
Aus is very important for maintaining the dry phase of the soil and its microflora.
Some examples of local Aus varieties are: Haitta, Kotoktara, Goria, Porangi, Kala Manik, Hasi Kalmi, Balam, Vaduri, Aguli, Begun bitchi, Rang mahal, Laxmijhota, Katar, Chiknal, Manikmendal, Baismugur, Dal Kaisha, Kali Bori, Garia, Panock , MarikMandu , Chiknal , Shoni , Ingra , Nayan Tara , LangraBeni, LalGalong, Bolium , Holat , Noroi, Kamini Sail,, Laxmilota, Mele, Saita ,GoriSaita ,Porangi , Goyal , Manikmoda , Saita, Paik juta, Kala manic, BenaFul , KoeJuri , Tepakain , Kautukmoni , Hasha , Korchamuri , Ajabbeti , Boilam , Bnamka , Parangi , Baturi , HaitaiSaeta ,MorySaita , Manikmendal RangMahal, Baismagur , LaxmiJhota , Sribalium , Pankhira (Siddique et al., 2016).

Aman: Also called Baoa in Greater Mymensingh region. Cropping period for Broadcast method: Pre-wet monsoon to late Post wet monsoon; for Transplanted: early Wet monsoon to Post wet monsoon. Usually Aman is adapted to grow in the floodplains and seasonal wetlands like Baed, Kuri and edges of the Haors and Beels. Flood free upland flats are also used by terracing to keep required water for their growth and development of Aman rice. Vegetative growth needs longer photoperiod but flowers in short days. As Aman plants are water loving they have special adaptation with the environment. Their root system is comparatively not well-developed as they do not need to search for water. Usually with the rise of water, quick elongation of internodes and develop adventitious roots in the nodes for respiration. Some of the varieties of deep water rice are highly adapted even growing in deep monsoon water especially in the Beels and Haors. There are more than 2,000 deepwater rice cultivars in Bangladesh and almost all the deepwater cultivars are strongly photoperiod sensitive (Catling 1992). Photosensitivity fixes flowering time at a favourable point in the flooding period, enables the plant to escape the adverse effect, of low temperature in the reproductive phase, and usually ensures crop maturity as soon as floods have receded. Deepwater floating rice has three special adaptations: (i) ability to elongate with the rise of water levels; (ii) develop nodal tillers and roots from the upper nodes in the water; and (iii) the upward bending of the terminal part of the plant called ‘kneeing’ that keeps the reproductive parts above the water as the flood subsides (Yamuna and Ashwini 2016). Deepwater rice grows under rainfed dry land conditions for 2-4 months before the onset of flood, when plant produces basal tillers. With inundation the plant becomes an emergent macrophyte and grows in an aquatic environment for the remaining 3-5 months of its life. Nodal roots absorb nutrients from floodwater. Stem elongation is stimulated by partial submergence; it results from cell division and elongation of cells in the intercalary meristem due to an interaction of the plant hormones, under the control of two complementary genes. There is an increase in number of elongated internodes with the increase in water depths. Majority of deepwater rice cultivars in Bangladesh is of strong elongators. Stem may reach 5-6 m in very deepwater situations (Banglapedia). Unlike Aus, from the initial period viz. germination, seedling and growing stage till flowering it needs huge water. However during the ripening season excess water delays the development of grain and hampers ripening.
A few common Aman rice are Nazir Shail, Loti Shail, Raja Shail, Balam, Binni, Kataribhog, Digha, Kartik Shail, Birui, Kali Jira, Nuinnya, Chinigura, Beti Balam, Horkhuch, Britichikon, Tilok Kajol, Chengai Dhan, Sal Kele, Bet, Bilbadai, Modhusail, Lalmota, Sadamota, Rajushail, Patnai, Nonashail, Jhingashail, Indrashail, Kataribhog, Tulsimala and Kalijira.etc. Varieties like Jotabalam, Ashfall, ghunshi and Benapol are salinity tolerant.
According to land-water availability and climatic seasons Aman rice can be grouped into three which are Sali, Asra and Bao (Ngachan et al. 2011).
Sali usually grow in flood free terraced land and temporary flooded plains like Baid and Bandha; traditionally transplanted during the Wet Monsoon July to August. The essential rainwater is usually managed by Ails or raised boundaries through opening and closing channels or Nala. With the recession of rainfall, grams and pulses are often sown as mixed crops in most of the rice fields. Black gram (Mash Kolai) and Mung bean (Mug Kolai) are in the flood free and raised terraced land and Lathyrus (Kheshari) in the temporary floodplains. The rice used to harvest in late Post Wet Monsoon November and December.
Asra is shallow water rice usually grows in 1-2 M deep water, traditional sowing season Pre wet monsoon March-April and harvesting in Post wet monsoon November-December. For transplanted one: early Wet monsoon to Post wet monsoon.
Bao is deep water of floating rice grows in 2-5 M deep water traditional sowing season Pre wet monsoon March-April and harvesting in Post wet monsoon November-December. For transplanted one: early Wet monsoon to Post wet monsoon.

Boro: cropping period starts in Dry monsoon and harvest in Pre-wet monsoon. The boro rice is commonly known as winter rice. The term boro is Bengali originated from the Sanskrit word “Borob”. Boro has traditionally been cultivated in the river basins, deltas, chaurs or saucer shaped depressions, where water accumulates during the monsoons but cannot be drained, thus providing ideal settings for boro rice cultivation during the winter season. Rainfed swampy ecologies occur in depressed land conditions where the soil remains either submerged or saturated for a substantial period of the year. These areas are generally saucer-shaped and have various levels of soil saturation or submergence – the central low-lying zone generally remaining saturated or submerged throughout the year while the periphery shows gradual moisture depletion after the monsoon finishes, making it ready for rice transplanting in December or January. Being very low-lying, swampy ecologies are chronically flood-prone during the monsoon, rendering them unusable for crop cultivation from June to November (Pathak et al. 1999).
Although, boro rice cultivation has been an old practice in deep water areas, it is only recently that it has emerged as a major breakthrough in enhancing rice productivity, not only in traditional, but also in non-traditional boro rice areas with assured irrigation and modern inputs. The credit primarily goes to the farmers’ own initiatives in adopting its cultivation in a big way. With the increased availability of irrigation facilities, boro rice technology has also moved to non-traditional flood-free irrigated areas (Singh and Singh 2000). Traditional Boro rice is adapted with low temperature and low humidity. Boro rices are photoperiod insensitive and are adapted to mild winter conditions (Zaman, 1980) and cold adaptive (Choudhury et al 2013). They are similar to transplanted Aman both in their method of cultivation and crop habit. The boro crop is sown in October -November, transplanted around December-January and harvested in the spring. Traditionally, they have only been grown on land which retains sufficient water throughout the rabi season to support crop growth. However, with improved irrigation, these high yielding varieties are increasingly being adopted by Bangladeshi farmers (Parsons et al. 1999).
Few examples of local Boro rice are: Tepi boro, Jagli Boro, Kili Boro, Nayon moni, Tere bale, Bere ratna, Ashan boro, Kajol lata, Koijore, Kali boro, Bapoy, Latai balam, Choite boro, and Sylhety boro etc .

Jhumia or Jhum rice is also called Hill Rice: Cropping period: Sowing in Pre-wet monsoon April and May and harvested in Post wet monsoon September to November. They are grown on sloppy hills mixed with other crops after slash and burn method also known as shifting cultivation. There are thousands of Jhumia landraces in Northeast India. More than 300 local Jhum rice landraces have been collected from various locations in Chittagong Hill Tracts and conserved in Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) Genebank (Source: BRRI Genebank accession book). Jhumia rice is also cultivated on the hills of Moulvibazar and Sylhet districts but very scant information is available on genetic divergence there. This collection is an invaluable genetic resource that can be used for varietal improvement (Islam et al 2017). Both red and white sticky (glutinous) and non-sticky (non glutinous) rice are grown in Bangladesh. Jhumia rice is adapted with high humidity and they cannot tolerate standing water at any phases of their life. Jhumia show adaptations to a wide range of ecological conditions including low levels of soil moisture in areas at high altitudes reaching over 3000 m above sea level (Choudhury et al 2013). They are mostly grown on the uplands covered extensively by Ultisols characterized by acidic reaction and the dominance of variable charge clays (Kyuma 2009). Jhumia rice usually cultivated with 30-40 other alley crops viz. maize, sesame, chilli, basils, arums, ginger, gourds, cucumbers, pumpkin, melons, string bean, Marpha, cotton and banana etc. which are traditionally grown by the local people. This multiple cropping systems provides the opportunity for livelihoods of other animals like wild fowls, pigs, wildboar, Monitor lizards, deer, wild dogs, porcupines, snakes, monkeys, jackals, hares, frogs and mongoose etc.
Some examples of locally cultivated Jhumia rice are: Kamarang, Koborok, Helong, Guri chinel, Bandar Bini, Horba Bini, Horin binni, Gellong, Lonka Pora, Uttose, Laxmi binni, Dop Chodai, Guri, Tarkee, Angu, Marry, Pattiya, Modhumaloti, Mon ange, Ame dhan, Badheia, Longur dhan, Biralbinni, Binni, Sonamukhi, Meli and Jhummalati etc.

Adaptability and Sustainability of Rice
Rice has the wide adaptation ability under different agroecological niches of Bangladesh. It can be cultivated on the slope of the hill, plain lands, floodplains, semi-dry to very deep flooded areas. Widely adapted with different climatic seasons; can be cultivated throughout the year. Rice is the best-adapted cereal crop in the lowland soil in the wet season. No other crops have this ability to cope with the situation. When the vast areas of our country go under flood water for considerable time in the wet season, or when intermittent flash flood affects majority of the lowlands, or when tide water rises up and falls down twice a day, rice is the only crop option to be suited in those conditions. Thus rice enables to bring these vast areas under cultivation in unfavorable conditions (Nasim et al. 2017).
An extremely high density of human population in Monsoon Asia has been supported by paddy rice cultivation developed on exceptionally extensive lowlands that have resulted from erosions of uplifting Himalayas and erupting volcanoes under heavy monsoon rains. A native grass, Oryza Sativa, has many outstanding merits when cultivated in submerged soil, thus making paddy rice/soil system highly productive and, at the same time, highly sustainable. High productivity and high sustainability are the outstanding merits of rice cultivation, while upland cultivation in Monsoon Asia for dry footed crops has been handicapped by low soil fertility and high susceptibility to soil erosion. In the future, rice would remain as the most important crop in Monsoon Asia and further intensification of rice cultivation should be attained. To nourish the region’s increasing population, upland cultivation must also be intensified with adequate measures for soil amendment and conservation (Kyuma, 2009).
Traditionally in Bangladesh, Jhum or shifting cultivators had been paying careful attention to soil resilience by practicing short cultivation following long fallow system with minimum of disturbance to the surface soil to avoid soil erosion and to help facilitate forest regeneration thus Jhum cultivation as a means of slopeland utilization has traditionally been quite sustainable.
According to variation of climatic seasons and topography there evolved different kinds of rice with many characters and specialties. Aromatic, non-aromatic, glutinous and non-glutinous, coarse and fine grain, long medium and short grain rice with varied colors: brown, white, red and black etc.
Perhaps rice is the most sustainable food crop in the world in providing energy and nutrition, has versatile food preparations, preservation and regeneration opportunities. Comparing to vegetable crops, other grain crops, tuber and root crops and even fruit crops rice is cheaper and handy.
Rice is considered to be an auspicious symbol of life and fertility. Starch is the most important source of carbohydrates in the human diet and accounts for more than 50% of our carbohydrate intake. It occurs in plants in the form of granules, and these are particularly abundant in cereal grains and tubers, where they serve as a storage form of carbohydrates. We often think of potatoes as a “starchy” food, yet other plants contain a much greater percentage of starch (potatoes 15%, wheat 55%, corn 65%, and rice 75%). Commercial starch is a white powder (LibreTexts 2019). Although potatoes are cheaper than rice but it is one-fifth efficient to rice therefore costlier than rice.
Boiled and cooked rice, viz. Bhat, Polao, Biriani, Khichuri, fried and puffed rice: Chira, Muri, Khoi and Moa, fermented Bini Bhat, wine, bear and vinegar, rice bran oil, soup and many kinds of cakes and preparations with fruits, sugar, milk, chili and spices e.g. Pitah, Payesh, Kheer, Semai, banana leaf Puli, and bamboo Pitahs, different seasonal Pitah preparations like Taler (Palmyra palm) Pitah in Vadra, Vapa Pitah in Poush, Kolar (Banana) Pitah in Magh, Katal (Jackfruit) Pitah in Jaista and Ashar and coconut pitah throughout the year. Cooked rice is usually consumed with diverse recipes prepared with meat, fishes, prawns and vegetables and fruits as curries, Vorta and salads etc.

Residue management and biomass recycling
Residue management practices affect soil physical properties such as soil moisture content, temperature, aggregate formation, bulk density, soil porosity and hydraulic conductivity. Increasing amounts of rice residues on the soil surface reduce evaporation rates and increased duration of first-stage drying. Thus, residue-covered soils tend to have greater soil moisture content than bare soil except after extended drought (Mandal, et al. 2004). The straws are very good fodder for cattle used both green and dry conditions. Straws contain cellulose lignin and many minerals which decompose in the field or recycled via cattle through enzymatic and microbial process enriching food chain adding value with protein, fat and minerals. The cellulose is the carbohydrate like starch with similar basic unit glucose. Therefore both rice and straw are contributing in energy conversion and nutrient supply chain and in biogeochemical cycle more efficiently than any other crop.
Usually the yield of the vegetable crops is high and consumed whole plant parts; thus all nutrients are ingested by human, very little portions are recycled through involvement of other animals. As a result, short-cycled recycling of the human faeces or excreta is not easy especially from the quickly growing urban areas. Therefore, the nutrients are not getting back to their sources of origin and the soil nutrition status is declining sharply mainly from the vegetable fields. Practically in the urban and peri-urban areas, the huge faeces are remained unutilized years together in the septic tanks; the black water overflows to the rivers or wet-bodies through sewerage system. Unfortunately, most of the wet bodies are deadly polluted with the chemicals, oils and other pollutants discharged from the industries, transports, hospitals and tanneries etc. As a result, the productivity of fishes and other aquatics is also very poor from those wet bodies. On the other hand, urban green garbage is rarely recycled rather dumps for landfill. Other than the faeces, according to Waste Concern (2006), average per capita urban waste generation rate is estimated as 0.41 kg/capita/day of which food and vegetable comprises 67.65% i.e. about 0.28 kg/capita/day and for present urban 40% of the total population of the country producing 20,160 tons green waste everyday by the urban people of which a very negligible quantity is recycled. Thus the soil fertility status of the country has been declining very sharply and the farmers are becoming increasingly dependent on chemical fertilizers. Therefore rice-based home centered farming system for short cycled biomass recycling is utmost essential. The diversified landraces of rice have the ability to supply the necessary energy and nutrients to human and other animals associated in the cropping circle in this region.

Since rice is the most adaptive crop grown in versatile conditions like hill slopes, flatlands, floodplains, wetlands in varied weather conditions especially of monsoon regions, tropical and equatorial zones of the world providing food and nutrients to almost half of the population of the earth it should be remembered that if there is no rice to eat, the whole civilization will collapse. It must be investigated whether the flourishing Indus Valley civilization collapsed as a result of adverse climate change. Climate is of crucial importance in rice production. A change in the climate regime can cause to end a civilization. Therefore, extensive climatic research in the country with emphasis on agro-climatology (Choudhury 2011) is urgently needed. To save the biodiversity and for regaining of the soil health by enriching the soil micro and macroflora and nutrient recycling the diverse landraces of rice are essential. Large variation of its color, smell, grain-size, texture and chemical composition etc. indicate the richness of its sustainability.

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Climatic Manipulation in Agriculture- A Thousands-Year-Old Practice in Bangladesh: Mohammed Ataur Rahman

Climatic Manipulation in Agriculture- A Thousands-Year-Old Practice in Bangladesh: Mohammed Ataur Rahman
Professor, International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT), Uttara, Dhaka Email:, Mobile: +8801820425191

Climatic manipulation is thousands year old practice in Bengal Basin. Climatic manipulation means alteration, changing, or adjustment of climatic factors to provide an appropriate environment for growth and production of crops according to their adaptation.
Nowadays for improvement of crops, selection, hybridization, and introduction of new varieties or species are followed but the most important way, the climatic manipulations are not well discussed or understood in the present day’s so-called modern industrial agriculture although climatic manipulation has been following here for thousands of years.
Climatic factors influencing the growth and production of crops are light, temperature, precipitation mainly rainfall, humidity, and wind. As the crops are adapted with these factors in different climatic zones of the earth, the genetic properties are also influenced by them.
Human are the best observer, selector, and manipulator and domesticated wild plants into crops. During the advancement of the time period, humans learned adaptation behavior. Traditionally crops have been improved with long-run trial and error method respecting the environment and thus improved production and quality obeying the huge variation within and among the species, the biodiversity, till the beginning of industrial agriculture. Before industrial agriculture, crop election and climatic manipulation are the methods followed by the farmers. The introduction of different crops to other regions was mainly respecting the environment: soil and climate and climatic manipulation was only the tool to grow crops to provide the required environment according to their climatic adaptation especially of the respective centers of origin.
Climatic manipulation in agriculture is older than that of the origin of the Caste System in Bengal. The working-class ‘Shudra’ has 37 subclasses according to their work responsibility. Among the 37 subclasses, three belongs to Betel leaf production, processing, and service-related activities and they are Barui, Tambul, and Chaurasia. The Barui are the working class for betel leaf production in the Paan boraj. The Paan boraj is the classic example of manipulation of climatic factors for the production of Paan or betel leaf, a Tropical rainforest flora.
For Paan, a unique climatic manipulation is done to give an optimum condition for luxuriant growth throughout the year. Paan boraj or betel vine house is usually having a thatched roof for protection from the sun, heavy rainfall and hails; fence around the Boraj for protection of winds and storms, humidity control and also from predators; nice drainage system for the drainage of water and supports to climb the vines up to the roof. Besides these, unique cultural practices for propagation, upkeeping and maintenance and harvesting are followed. Traditionally women are not allowed to enter in the Paan boraj as they carry diseases that destroy the boraj. Although early people did not know the scientific reasons for damage of the boraj due to women’s engagement. But present science has investigated that the women carry harmful Monilia fungus that destroys the Paan boraj.
Cultivation of Amon rice in the uplands, and Boro in the littoral zones of Beels, haors, and Baors are also important examples of early day’s traditional climatic manipulations. Boro, a cold-tolerant and water-loving day-neutral rice usually grown in the drying-up edges or littoral zones of wetlands in the dry monsoon season. Climatic manipulation usually is done through pre-wet seed soaking, germination bed preparation, and frequent watering the plants traditionally by Dhoon and Ora, etc., and nowadays by motorized pumps.
Rupa or transplanted Aman usually the Shaili rice is another good example of climatic manipulation. Basically, Amans are broadcasted short-day plants needs a longer period: Pre-monsoon, Wet monsoon, and Post wet monsoon. By adapting climatic manipulation, cropping pattern of Aman has been changed to transplanted ones a long time back and shortened the cropping period early Wet monsoon to Post wet monsoon also extending Aman in the gradated flood-free uplands by terracing to facilitate holding and releasing water making Ails or boundaries to maintain dry and wet phases as required by the rice, especially, Shaili and Asra types. Presoaking wetting, seedbed (Jalapat) and land preparation for transplantation and water management, etc. are also manipulated by the farmers traditionally, as required by the crops.
Traditional mound agriculture is another unique example of climatic manipulation. In every homestead of the Bengal basin there was raised mounds (Mada) in the open corners of the homes. The mounds used to prepare annually collecting dry clods from the clayey loam Khetlands. The mounds were coated with fresh cow-dung and rice husk or chitas. The dome-shaped mounds usually of 1.0 to 1.5 meter high and at the flat top seeds of different vine or creeper crops viz. country bean, cucumber, Snake gourd, Ash gourd, Sweet gourd, pumpkin and bottle gourds, etc. were planted and allowed them to climb on trailers or to the rooftops of the thatch houses. The mounds with inter-clod airspaces used to protect the plants from waterlogging breaking the capillaries from the upward movement of water and thus saved the plants from stagnancy. This mound agriculture used to provide the opportunity to recycle the greywater to homestead crops and also the nutrients, especially from fish and meat washed water and dish cleanings.

Greenhouse agriculture through climatic manipulation in the developed world has now become a common practice both in Temperate and Tropical zones. Many crops are produced in the greenhouses in temperate counties within artificial structures maintaining proper light, temperature, humidity, and water; supplying required nutrients to the plants although in natural prevailing weather conditions it is quite impossible. Thus, manipulating climatic factors, many high input-based commercial farming is in practice. Even in the arid dry region, many crops are being grown in the greenhouses.
Therefore, climatic manipulation is a noble way to improve crop production without damaging the biodiversity and ecosystem. It is urged that the scientists and researchers should be more conscious about the importance of different species and varieties; should not destroy the biodiversity by forced hybridization or genetic engineering for crop improvement. Let nature run with its own speed with all its diverse heritage. We must not do any harm to nature which we cannot repair. We have already lost about ten thousand varieties or landraces of rice in the last fifty years to fulfill human greed and curiosity. Will we get them back?
Different varieties have different tastes, smells, and nutrients of course. We can get the energy and the nutrients from different varieties and kinds of plants or crops. We must not neglect the low yielding Jats as we do not know what hidden or unknown benefits they provide, maybe immunity for survival. During induced or forced hybridization plants lose their immunity, characters and thus become unable to uptake the necessary nutrients which ultimately affects human health. Therefore, do not destroy the genetic characters which developed through climatic adaptation for thousands of years. Let us understand the science behind the traditional agriculture of the great Bengal basin and improve it saving biodiversity and ecosystems. Let us come out of the hybrid and chemical input-based irrigation dependent agriculture; strengthen our immunity by nutrient-rich crop production and save our biodiversity.

Was a conspiracy to destroy Tambul or Paan culture: Mohammed Ataur Rahman

Tambul or Paan chewing is a very ancient custom of Indian tradition; it is older than the origin of the caste system in India. Among 37 Subclasses of Shudra, according to their work responsibility, three belongs to betel vine production, processing and serving related activities and they are Barui, Tambul and Chawrasia. In a larger sense, though it looks like one of our cultural rituals with an incredible health benefit. The traditional pan is made with betel leaves, areca nut, Khoir, and slaked lime. Other spices like clove, cardamom, mace and zinger etc. are also added to make more attractive flavorful and tasty.
According to Ayurveda, the betel leaves regulate the body while Khoir and Areca nut control Kapha and Pitta respectively; hence, managing all the tridoshas of the prakriti and keeping the body healthy. In balance, pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. Kapha is the energy that forms the body’s structure — bones, muscles, tendons — and provides the “glue” that holds the cells together. In ancient time, at night, the wife prepares special Tambula for the husband. It brings pleasant sensations in sense organs and strengthens them. It enhances sexual capacity even in old age.
Paan is ceremonious; eaten on formal, as well as, informal occasions in our everyday life. It is the symbol for love and sex. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) of India, it contains essential nutrients such as iodine, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and nicotinic acid. Besides these nutrients, betel leaves contain essential oils and chemical components such as betel oil and chavicol, betel-phenol, eugenol, terpene and campene. These chemical components possess medicinal properties and help in the treatment and management of various diseases and disorders.
As an anti-diabetic agent, betel leaf lowers high cholesterol levels as it is a reservoir of phenolic compounds that possess antioxidant, anti-mutagenic, anti-proliferative and anti-bacterial properties. Studies have revealed the chemo-preventive potential of betel leaves against various types of cancer. Furthermore, betel leaves contain an array of phytochemicals that possess cancer-fighting benefits. Betel leaves are an excellent source of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals and fight oxidative stress. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells and its spread to different organs of the body.

Moreover, the antioxidants of betel leaf act as a protective agent in wound healing by increasing the wound contraction rate and total protein content. Anti-asthmatic Agent Research has revealed that besides anti-depressant drugs, chewing betel leaves have been used since ancient times for its central nervous system (CNS) stimulant activity. It was further found that chewing betel leaves produces a sense of well-being, a feeling of happiness and heightened alertness. Furthermore, betel leaves contain aromatic phenolic compounds that stimulate the release of catecholamines. A strong link is present between low level of catecholamines in the body and increased risk of depression. Therefore, chewing betel leaves is an easy way to keep depression at bay and it improves oral health.

Areca nut or Supari is used for the treatment of a mental disorder called schizophrenia and an eye disorder called glaucoma; as a mild stimulant; and as a digestive aid. Some people use areca as a recreational drug because it speeds up the central nervous system (CNS)
Apart from its value as a masticatory agent, areca nut has considerable uses in medicine as well. Actually, it enters as a pharmaceutical drug in Indian and British pharmacopoeias. Paan chewing with betel nut is popularly believed to prevent tooth decay. Betel nut is considered a digestive agent and a diuretic, a strengthener of the heart, and a regulator of menstrual flow. It is used in overcoming swelling eyes, mental confusion, chronic urinary distress and pus formations. It also cures cancer.

Khoir (heartwood of Acacia catechu) is used in detoxifying the accumulated toxins in the body and works against cough, diarrhoea, skin eruptions, leucoderma and wounds. It is also good for treating diabetes, anaemia and intermittent fever.
Another ingredient, Slaked Lime or Chuna has many advantages which are seen in Ayurveda. Lime is a big and best source of calcium carbonate beneficial for bone diseases such as arthritis, joint pain, backache or tooth ache. Small amount of lime which is used with paan is beneficial.

Regarding cultivation, paan boraj is the most sophisticated cultural practice, the pioneer of modern greenhouse agriculture. In ancient, climatic manipulation practice in paan boraj followed by controlling all the climatic factors viz. light, temperature, rainfall, wind and humidity. Moreover, many unique practices are followed for propagation, upkeeping, maintenance and harvesting. Traditionally, women are not allowed to enter into the boraj as they carry diseases that destroy the boraj although early people did not know the scientific reason behind it. The whole cultivation practice was organic; oilcake and decomposed mulches are the sources of nutrients; with these, a boraj remained productive around twenty years.
Betal nut a unique plant used to cultivate in the coastal zone, plainlands and also even on the hills with high water-tables. They are unique windbreaks withstand against tornadoes and cyclones and are highly beneficial in climate change situation.

However, western industrial business technology had purposely destroyed our high technique and health beneficial famous traditional Tambul or Paan culture to introduce tobacco and beverages. Targeting the highly populated South Asia, a big market, they very cleverly did this during the colonial period. Due to religious sentiment they initially failed to market the tobacco and beverages: wine and beer. Then they spread them to the tribal populations and also targeted the lower classes. To get success and create wider market, they started to defame the Tambul culture by adding tobacco (Jarda) with Paan and thus gradually people became addicted with tobacco. Later on, our western-trained medical doctors began to blame Paan as carcinogenic and bad for health. Thus, affected the rich Tambul culture and become successful to market industrial beverages viz. wine, beer, tea, coffee, coke and lemonade etc. under the names of hard and soft drinks. etc. and tobacco (cigarettes) which are taking lives of hundreds of thousand every year.
Tobacco was first brought to India by Portuguese merchants 400 years ago. The trade boomed and tobacco quickly established itself as the most important commodity passing through Goa in the 17th century. Virtually every household in the Portuguese colony took up the new fashion of smoking or chewing tobacco. Later on, the British introduced modern commercially-produced cigarettes.
European-style beer was introduced in India by the British. By 1716, Pale ale and Burton ale were being imported to India from England. To protect the beer from spoiling during the long journey, it had to have high alcohol content and hops were added to it. This led to the invention of India Pale ale in about 1787 by Bow Brewery. In 1830, Edward Abraham Dyer set up India’s first brewery in Kasauli. It produced the beer brand Lion, which is still available. In 1835, the Kasauli brewery was shifted to Solan near Shimla. In 1885, it was incorporated as Dyer Breweries. Later, more breweries were built across India, Burma and Sri Lanka. In 1892, 4,831,127 gallons of beer was produced in India. Out of this, 2,748,365 gallons were purchased by commissarial and rest was left for consumption by the civilian population.
In 1689 Ovington records that tea was taken by the banias in Surat without sugar, or mixed with a small quantity of conserved lemons, and that tea with some spices added was used against headache, gravel and gripe. The tea leaves for such use may have come from China.
While experimenting to introduce tea in India, British colonists noticed that tea plants also grew in Assam, and these, when planted in India, responded very well. The same plants had long been cultivated by the Singphos tribe of Assam, and chests of tea supplied by the tribal ruler Ningroola.
In the early 1820s, the British East India Company began large-scale production of tea in Assam, of a tea variety traditionally brewed by the Singpho people. In 1826, the British East India Company took over the region from the Ahom kings through the Yandaboo Treaty. In 1837, the first English tea garden was established at Chabua in Upper Assam; in 1840, the Assam Tea Company began the commercial production of tea in the region. Beginning in the 1850s, the tea industry rapidly expanded, consuming vast tracts of land for tea plantations. By the turn of the century, Assam became the leading tea-producing region in the world.
From the first, Indian-grown tea proved extremely popular in Britain, both for its greater strength, and as a patriotic product of the empire. Tea had been a high-status drink when first introduced, but had steadily fallen in price and increased in popularity among the working class. The ‘Temperance movement’ massively promoted tea-drinking, from the early 19th century on, Tea was the dominant drink for all classes during the Victorian era, working-class families often doing without other foods in order to afford it. However, they influenced Indians to drink teas to extend their business using different business promotion techniques including propaganda of chewing paan as harmful.

The Coca-Cola Company started operating in India in 1950 and Pakistan in 1953 but expanded their business everywhere and extracting billions of dollars from South Asian countries using their business propaganda.

Therefore, we should look behind our age-old sustainable traditional Tambul or Paan culture, study its properties: health benefits and immunity and reject the unhealthy introduced cultures. The so-called introduced refreshers tobacco and hard and soft beverages which are affecting everyday life damaging immune system of millions of people of South Asia. We must remember that our agriculture is thousands of years old but western industrial agriculture is only two hundred years, then how they are dominating over our culture. We are losing our crops, our traditions, our cultural practices in the name of development, food and nutrient security and we are trapped under technology business. We must come out from the traps of these technology business and develop our traditional cultures and practices. We should discover the ‘science behind the traditions’ to make the region rich and more sustainable.

Population and Biomass Recycling: Mohammed Ataur Rahman

According to Population Stat, the present population of Dhaka city is 20,951,446. Considering 5 to 6 million rural-urban migrants, the urban city population stands about 15 million. The annual mortality rate in Bangladesh is 5.4 per thousand and 81,000 people die in a year. Taking an average body weight 30 kg the total biomass stands at 2,430,000 kg i.e. 2,330 tons which is burying every year in the graveyards. This body-mass is generated by up-taking nutrients from the soil, water, and air through plants, animals and microbes and the ultimate media is soil. This huge biomass needs recycling to the place of origin instead of mere burying in the graveyard years together. To ensure soil health we must recycle the corpses after decomposition.

World Environment Day- A promise for Ecosystem Restoration: Mohammed Ataur Rahman

World population is now 7.79 billion which was about one billion only two hundred years back; the human population increased but biodiversity and ecosystems are damaged. Many animals including mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, insects; soil and water micro and macro flora, and fauna which used to balance the food chain and food web, are extinct now. Germs used to kill the germs, the great nature’s ecosystems use to run in a balanced way with a relation “enemies and friends” as food and feed. Moreover, industrial agriculture especially monoculture with preferred crops and domestics; hybrids, GMOs, excessive uses of chemical pesticides and fertilizers; extension of agriculture and industrial urbanization and unplanned road transportation and infrastructure, etc. have destroyed the forests and wetlands and changed the landscapes. These are all together have made a mess: the global environmental change, global warming, environmental pollution and are ultimately affecting human health and ecosystems where to live. Therefore, today’s World Environment Day, we must promise to restore the ecosystems for the smooth running of the earth systems.

To achieve SDG 2, biomass and nutrient recycling must be ensured: Mohammed Ataur Rahman

The human body contains as many as 61 chemical elements out of 94 naturally occurring known elements although little known about the remaining 33 elements. However, all these chemicals are needed for normal growth and development of the human body.
Most of the elements needed for life are relatively common in the earth’s crust. Human being used to get these elements from the soil, water, and air through plants, animals, and microbes and the ultimate media is soil. Unfortunately, conventional industrial agriculture still remains within the circle of 23 macro and micronutrients. However, in Bangladesh context the situation is very hopeless, the farmers use only the macro elements like nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, and some microelement viz zinc, manganese, boron, and molybdenum as suggested by the field officers or fertilizer companies. They seldom think for other nutrients which can be obtained from recycling biomass of plants animals including human being. This resulted in an acute nutrient crisis in the human body. As a result, malnutrition and diseases like diabetes, liver and kidney diseases, stroke, cancer, pregnancy disorder, early aging, and sexual disabilities, etc. are becoming more common although nowadays people are consuming more vegetables and proteins. This is, of course, due to insufficient, imbalanced and nutrient-poor diet. But we can get the nutrients from recycling biomass including plants, animals, and human beings.
Millions of tons of green garbage is being dumped for landfilling every year, which could supplement the need for other nutrients to satisfy the nutrient demands for optimum growth of the plants and animals. Moreover, human litter remains in the septic tank years together, sometimes overflows to the sewerage and drains into the rivers or lakes most of which get contaminated with industrial effluents although these human litters are great sources of nutrients. To achieve the target SDG 2 biomass recycling is an important criterion for Sustainable Agriculture; without ensuring it we will not be able to achieve SDG 2 within the target period. The government should immediately look into this. Every year the farmers are using huge chemical fertilizers as per recommendation for each crop but where these chemicals go? Certainly, uptake by the plants, adsorb by the soil-minerals and some may leach to the water. Leaching into the water gets worsen during flood and waterlogging situations. Since huge biomass drains to water bodies like rivers, canals, beels, and haors, etc., these must-have to be pollution-free to get the benefits from the aquatic resources viz. fishes, mollusks, crabs and prawns and of course planktons.
Therefore, to get the required nutrients, there are no alternatives other than biomass recycling, and nature is designed for it. We must think deeply and refrain from greediness and so-called technology business for earning money exploiting others.


Mohammed Ataur Rahman, PhD
Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC)
IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology
4 Embankment Drive Road, Sector No. 10, Uttara Model Town, Dhaka-1230, Bangladesh
E-mail: Website:
Presented in the International Conference on Solid Waste Management Waste Safe-2009 held on November 9-10, 2009, KUET, Khulna, Bangladesh Website:

Solid wastes are important components for recycling biomass to return the nutrients to their origin. Traditionally, the people of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra basins have been recycling solid wastes for centuries. The practices which are followed here have scientific merit but in most of the cases, the people are ignorant about those facts. The present study was conducted in 90 rural homes of Ishwarganj and Nandail Upazillas under the district of Mymensingh. The objectives of the work were to find out the scientific explanations of the recycling practices. The study showed that the traditional procedures which are being applied on trial-and-error basis got the effective result of supplementing organic materials to the soil. Although these effective practices have been used generation after generation, in-depth studies were not carried out. This study has uncovered the scientific reasons behind many of the traditional practices of solid waste management. Chemical analyses revealed that most of the macro-nutrients, namely potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, sulphur, magnesium, iron and total organic matter contents were not depleted; rather, the total organic matter contents increased significantly after the recycling. This kind of rural home-based and short-cycled solid waste management ensures zero depletion of organic soil content.

Civilization began when nomads first took shelter in permanent homes and started cultivating the earth. Home became their centre of all activities. They used to collect their livelihoods from the surroundings, learnt to process and store them for their use in their homes. During the processing and utilization, the un-utilized remaining called the ‘wastes’ were left, thrown away or stored for degradation and recycling.
From the experience, people acquired knowledge for easy and safe recycling methods for better utilization of wastes in favor of natural environment. Home is a microenvironment and fulfils an ecosystem.
Traditionally, the inhabitants of the Ganges and Brahmaputra Plains were more conscious about hygiene, natural resources and agricultural practices and they were used to practice simple methods in their homesteads knowingly on unknowingly, which are really important and scientifically rich even during this advanced technological era.
However, with the advancement of mechanization and industrialization and the influences of western culture, many of the traditional cultural practices have lost their importance and are not in use by the common people. Therefore, it is essential to collect the age-old practices used by the common people for waste management and biomass recycling. These should be studied to investigate their scientific merit and re-establish their positive roles in the present complicated situation aroused by the modern cultures, especially, by the chemicals and shortcut cultures. With this aim, Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC) of IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology along with Homestead Cropping and Ecoagriculture Research Center for Sustainable Rural Development
(HCERCSRD) conducted the present study in a few villages of Mymensingh in the Brahmaputra Basin.

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‘Grow Sack Plants’ is a Noble Cultivation Practice in Climate Change Situation

‘Grow Sack Plants’ is a Noble Cultivation Practice in Climate Change Situation
Mohammed Ataur Rahman and Anil Chandra Basak
Professors, College of Agricultural Sciences
IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology
Uttara Model Town
Dhaka-1230, Bangladesh


Densely populated and agriculture-dependent Bangladesh has been facing serious climate change disasters like flood, water-logging and droughts etc., every year in the recent decades. As a result, the agriculture, especially the food production has been badly affected. Considering the increasing frequencies of climate change disasters this study was conducted to find out sustainable coping up methods, especially for vegetables, spices and fruit crop production. This project established a Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) for the national interest especially for the areas with adverse environmental condition as well as urban and peri-urban areas. A pilot project was developed in IUBAT campus. Different types of sacks: Hessian bags, jute, polythene; earthen and plastic pots and containers were used. For hanging sack plants, bamboo, wooden and polyvinyl posts and racks were erected. Crops were selected according to their growing habitat and season. Selected species were: tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), Yard long bean (Vigna unguiculata L.), chili ( Capsicum annuum L.), Eggplant (Solanum melongena L.), Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L. ) mint (Mentha piperita L.), Country bean (Lablab purpureous L.), Lady’s finger (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench), spinach (Basella alba L.) and Sweet and Lemon basil (Ocimum basilicum L.). Soil and compost were collected and sacks were filled under recommended proportion. Soil and plant parts analysis were done to ensure maximum production and to maintain optimum soil nutrient status. Greywater was used as per requirement. Organic pest control methods were applied against pests and diseases. Routine observation and management were done for recording data. Students of the College of Agricultural Sciences of IUBAT were engaged to complete their practicum for graduation. A luxuriant growth was observed and yield was similar to conventional cultivation practice of all the crops. This cultivation practice is organic and environment-friendly, ensures biomass and greywater recycling. Undergraduate students also built up their capacity through this project. The findings of the project provide fresh and green edible plants/crops to prevent malnutrition and to supplement food and nutrient security. This practice will build up capacity in the family level and thus ensures human resource development. It will promote international and regional collaboration with scientific and civil societies, as well.

Keywords: Grow sack plants, Climate Smart Agriculture, Greywater, Cow-dung slurry
Published in the IUT Journal of Advance Research and Development, Tripura, India, Volume-4, No. 2 October 2018 – March 2019 ISSN: 2455-7846
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