Save the Rice Landraces and Ecotypes and Save the Ecosystems

Save the Rice Landraces and Ecotypes and Save the Ecosystems
Professor Dr Mohammed Ataur Rahman
Crop Climatologist, International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT),
Uttara, Dhaka-1230. Email- marahman@iubat.edu
Published in the New Age, Bangladesh on May 19, 2019 http://www.newagebd.net/article/72833/saving-rice-landraces-ecotypes-ecosystems
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. Nearly I0,000 landraces are considered to exist in Bangladesh and it is estimated that about 120 000 varieties of rice exist in the world. 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; 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.
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.
To ensure the conservation of biodiversity, protection of soil health and water quality and ultimately for the betterment of human health the government, the researchers, the think tanks and the policy makers should consider the direct and indirect benefits of our rice landraces without any delay.
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 unfavourable conditions.
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. Although potatoes are cheaper than rice but it is one-fifth efficient to rice therefore costlier than rice.
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. 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, 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.
According to recent IPBES Global Assessment Report: Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, bioenergy production and harvest of materials have increased, in response to population growth, rising demand and technological development, this has come at a steep price, which has been unequally distributed within and across countries. Many other key indicators of nature’s contributions to people however, such as soil organic carbon and pollinator diversity, have declined, indicating that gains in material contributions are often not sustainable.

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. Bangladesh needs to revise its agriculture policy to save the ecosystem, biodiversity and to protect human health.

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আবর্তনে বিবর্তন

রচনায়
মোহাম্মদ আতাউর রহমান
রাস্না হাউজ উত্তরখান মাজার, উত্তরা, ঢাকা।
E-mail: ar_forest@yahoo.com
marahman@feppcar.org

ডিসেম্বর, ২০০৪ইং, ঢাকা।
¯^ত্ত¡াধিকারী ঃ মোহাম্মদ আতাউর রহমান
ISBN: ৯৮৪-৩২-১৮৪২-৬
সংকলন:- অক্টোবর ২০১৭ ইং

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চক্রে আবর্তে ছন্দে নৃত্যে রূপলাবন্যে
গতিময় এ অনন্তের মেলায়।
কে আছে স্থির একটি মুহুর্তের তরে?
আসা আর যাওয়া, স্থির আর অস্থির
শুধু তূল্যগতির আপেক্ষিক খেলা।
জীবন-যৌবন, জড় আর অজড়
মায়া-মমতা বন্ধন প্রকৃতির লীলা
নিত্য গড়েছে, ভেঙ্গেছে আবার
সেইতো পুরানো খেলা।
আলো আর আঁধার
সুখ আর দুখ
একই বৃত্তে ঘুরছে সদা
তার মাঝে বসে আমি আজ
মেতেছি মোহের মেলায়
বাঁচা আর মরা, মোহ-সম্ভোগ
অধিকার নিয়ে শুধু প্রতিযোগিতা।
শিকার আর শিকারীর খেলা
নিত্য চল্ছে ধরায়,
কেহ খায়, কেহবা খাওয়ায়
কেহবা কেড়ে নেয় অন্যের খাবার।
কাড়াকাড়ি বাড়াবাড়ি যুজে বাজে জিতলে যারা
মানুষ নামে জীব সকলের সেরা। Continue reading

Women Empowerment to Lead Change- Bangladesh Perspective

  1. Shukla Rani Basak: Senior Research Officer, Bangladesh Forest Research Institute, Chittagong, Bangladesh Email: sr.basak@yahoo.com
  2. Anil Chandra Basak: Professor, College of Agricultural Sciences, IUBAT University, Uttara, Dhaka 1230, Bangladesh Email: acbasak@iubat.edu
  3. Mohammed Ataur Rahman: Professor and Director, Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC), IUBAT University, Uttara, Dhaka-1230, Bangladesh. Email: marahman@iubat.edu

Abstract

Densely populated Bangladesh has shown tremendous advancement in empowering women in the society and bringing changes in traditional and conservative male dominated society. It was hardly believable in fifty years back that the women are working outdoors. Today more than four and a half million females are working in the garments industries alone. Their income is the major support for the family and thus the women are taking leadership in the family as well as in the societies. Many women entrepreneurs both in the cities and rural areas are growing. Women in education, politics, business, social development, agriculture, fisheries and other fields have significantly been increased. Women in administration, transportation, civil aviation, police and armed forces etc. are contributing largely. In the cultural sectors women have already dominated over the men. Moreover, women are the leaders of the houses as well as caring the family with love and affection and performing the ultimate leadership of the changes and development.

Keywords: Women Empowerment, Entrepreneurs, Equal opportunity, Decision-making, Disparities, Sustainable Development Goals and Challenges

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Sustainable Landscape Management of Bangladesh

Landscape management is an integral part of natural conservation, food security and biodiversity; provides livelihoods and influences the climatic factors like humidity, temperature, precipitation and wind, and acts as an important component of disaster risk reduction. Landscapes provide safety against adverse conditions like cyclones, storms, droughts and floods etc. Undulated surface keeps the natural systems moving and provides increased surface area. Nature has its own laws and change is universal; still humans often govern the natural systems and their biased activities accelerate the changes including landscape. With rapid industrialization, urbanization and road transportation systems etc., many changes have occurred and most of the natural systems are being disturbed. Thus, climate change effects have accentuated the disasters like cyclones, tornadoes, tidal surges, floods, droughts and erosion. The landscape and the soil phases of the great Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna basins have been changed due to expansion of flatland irrigation-dependent agriculture destroying hills and hill forests, wet bodies; construction of dams and embankments, roads and highways across the floodplains and natural flows of streams and rivers. Traditional floodplain management systems were also destroyed for irrigating crop during and after the Green Revolution. The ponds were common in every home and the houses were built on the raised land and there were a nice synchronization for livelihoods and survival.
Therefore, to secure the lives, livelihoods need to manage natural systems wisely and logically. It is essential to conserve and maintain the significant or characteristic features of a landscape, which is greatly valued on account of its distinctive natural or cultural configuration. This paper reflects on the importance of the landscape in environmental sustainability and for a comprehensive disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy. It also analyzes the related issues ahead to achieve an effective landscape management policy for adoption of appropriate disaster risk reduction strategy.
For more please contact Author

Tornado in Brahmanbaria 2013

Case Study: The Brahmanbaria Tornado-2013
Introduction: Professor Dr Mohammed Ataur Rahman, Director, CGEC

Severe local storms including tornadoes frequently occur in Bangladesh in the pre-monsoon season from March to May and kills and injures several thousands peoples in a year. Therefore, severe local storm is one of the most important natural hazards in Bangladesh (Hayashi and Yamane 2010, Yamane et al. 2010). The affected area of the severe local storm and the damaged region is concentrated in the very small region. Therefore, the meteorological data such as pressure and wind cannot be obtained because the weather observatories are not distributed in a fine spatial resolution. Fujita (1971) introduced the estimating scale of severe local storms, especially tornadoes, applying the tornado damages in the past of reports of NOAA, USA. This scale was made up on the basis of relationship between the wind speed and the damage in the tornadoes. This Fujita scale is utilized for the estimation of the intensity of the tornadoes in USA and other counties. According to Fujita scale the Brahmanbaria Tornado falls under F0.
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Grey Water Use can Reduce Huge Water Crisis in Dhaka Megacity

Water is an indispensable natural resource without which existence of life is impossible. On an average a minimum quantity of 200 litres of water is used by each person a day. Plants absorb millions of liters of water everyday and about 95% transpirate to the atmosphere by using 5% only. A single tomato plant transpirates 150 liters of water in its lifetime, i.e. 3 to 4 months period only. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Sustainable Agriculture

Some Thoughts on Sustainable Agriculture
Mohammed Ataur Rahman, PhD, M.Sc. and DIC
Director, Centre for Global Environmental Culture (CGEC)
IUBAT—International University of Business Agriculture and Technology
marahman@iubat.edu; www.iubat.edu
Abstract
Agriculture is the most vital program for the livelihoods of the human being as well as of its dependents. It started with the date of civilization and is progressing very fast to feed and support the growing population of the world. Many early civilizations like Mohenjo-Daro collapsed due to adoption of inappropriate cultural practices, mainly agriculture. Now, conventional so-called modern agriculture has also been reached at its climax and ruining the biodiversity by polluting the habitat. Soil is being eroded continuously and its capacity is decreasing day-by-day. Agricultural pollutants are now one of the important causes of climate change and the plants and animals are loosing their capability to resist from the environmental vulnerabilities. Continue reading

Food-Trees and Food Security

Today Food Security is a widely- used common term and is often relating to Climate Change Effects. But it is a combination of many factors with the initial source of energy for all biological systems. In the process of photosynthesis, solar radiation energy is transformed into chemical energy; the later is then converted to mechanical and thermal energy through metabolism. Herbivorous obtains necessary energy by digesting plant tissue and reserves, while flesh-eating organisms digest animal food, through a number of links, called “food chain” which may be up to five and then the energy flow gradually abates as it passes through the ecosystem . However, the primary producers, the plants take carbon dioxide and oxygen from the air, and the other nutrients from the soil, the overall source, except a few exceptions of some aquatic plants where they can obtain nutrients from dissolved water.

Road side Mango Tree - Chapai Nawabgonj Bangladesh
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Vulnerability of the Bay of Bengal Enclosed Coastal Sea due to Socio‐Economic Conditions of the Megacity of Dhaka

Dhaka, an enclosed coastal megacity of the Bay of Bengal, with an average altitude of four meters above sea level, is regularly impacted by tropical cyclones and flooding, and has a very low capacity to adapt to climate change. Increased migrants from the highly populated coastal zones suffering from geo-hydro-meteorological disasters like erosion, floods and tidal surges, cyclones and tornados, and salinity intrusion etc., a huge population has migrated to the capital city for their livelihoods and it is one of the fastest growing megacities in the world. The historical cyclones and tidal surges like the Bhola Cyclone-1970, Bangladesh Cyclone-1991, Cyclone Sidr -2007, Cyclone Nargis -2008 and Aila – 2009 killed and displaced millions of people. Millions of domestic and wild animals died; damage to crops, forests and plantations and structural properties like houses, roads and highways, embankments, transmission lines were huge, there were outbreaks of epidemics, water shortages etc., causing many people to become homeless and hungry and driving them in desperation to Dhaka for food and shelter. To meet up the demand of land of the growing population, the city has spread outwards in an uncontrolled manner with slums and has been ranked as the second most unlivable city in the World Livability Survey 2011 according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

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