U.S. Forest Service International Programs promotes sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation internationally to improve people’s lives by enhancing economic opportunities. The Office of International Programs collaborates with partners in more than 90 countries on sustainable forest management, watershed management, combatting illegal logging, fire preparedness and response, and many other significant topics. By linking the skills of the field-based staff of the U.S. Forest Service with partners overseas, the agency can address the world’s most critical natural resource management issues and concerns. The U.S. Forest Service has been working internationally for over 100 years with broad expertise in natural resource management fields, to bring on-the-ground and practical knowledge in managing lands for the benefit of the people. The agency also offers a unique government-to-government relationship that is highly valued by partner agencies globally.

History of USFS in Bangladesh

Since 2009, USFS has been working in Bangladesh in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bangladesh to address crucial issues in natural resource management. USFS continued its long-term partnership with the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) and its partners to provide technical expertise in support of forest monitoring, forest mapping, remote sensing, and geospatial application initiatives. In 2015, USFS began managing the SilvaCarbon Bangladesh program aimed at providing technical assistance to the BFD to support the development of National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS) through the support of USAID and in collaboration with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. The USFS SilvaCarbon Bangladesh Program also facilitated collaborations with NASA Goddard Center and the University of Maryland.

Key achievements of USFS in Bangladesh include:

  • Carbon Stock Estimation & 2009-2010 Inventory of Sundarbans Reserve Forest (2011)
  • Mapping of Mangrove Tree eights using TanDEM-X Interferometric data & Acquisition of HR Commercial Satellite Data from NASA” (2014)
  • Training & Assessment on National Forest and Tree Cover Change Assessment at UMD GLAD Laboratory” (2014, 2017)
  • Stakeholder Analysis & Sampling Methodology Design for NFI using Forest Resource Inventory, Edit & Design (FRIED) Tool (2014)
  • GPS & Geo-Spatial Skill Development Training and Material Development (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Workstations, infrastructure, hardware & software support to BFD’s RIMS unit with UMD Support” (2015)
  • Cooperation in National Inventory Design and Designation of NFMS Expert Team (2015)
  • Quality Assurance & Quality Control for NFI Data Collection & Management (2015, 2016, 2017),
  • Official Launch of first Ever Satellite Based National Tree Cover Monitoring Report (2017)
  • Methodology Development Support for Socio Economic Survey Design of NFI (2017)
  • Regional Exchange Workshop on Forest Monitoring and Assessment (2018),
  • SilvaCarbon-NASA Fellowship to build up national level RS & GIS Capacity (2017, 2018-19)

Major highlights of USFS/IP work in Bangladesh:

  • USFS IP began working in Bangladesh in 2009.
  • From 2009-2011, USFS worked with the USAID Bangladesh-funded Integrated Protected Areas Co-Management (IPAC) Project, the Government of Bangladesh, and other partners, to provide technical assistance in mangrove carbon pool estimation, forest infrastructure development and forest planning focused in the Sundarbans Reserve Forest.
  • In 2012 USFS began an initiative to provide capacity building opportunities and technical support to the Forest Department of Bangladesh and its partners focused on forest mapping and remote sensing. Activities included the development of training materials and curricula and implementing training in the use of global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), and remote sensing.
  • From 2015 USFS had been working as the key implementing partner of SilvaCarbon in Bangladesh.
  • SilvaCarbon Bangladesh provided technical assistance to the Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) in the design of a National Forest Inventory (NFI) – a key component of the national forest monitoring system.
  • SilvaCarbon Bangladesh provided the Resources Information Management System (RIMS) unit of BFD with targeted technical assistance for better management and monitoring of forest and forest carbon and also capacity building of the officers there. This eventually helped BFD in sustainable institutional capacity building to adapt and integrate existing tools and technologies and assess emerging technologies.
  • In May 2018, USFS/IP co-organized regional workshop on forest monitoring and assessment.
  • Support to the RIMS Unit to develop a computer lab with capabilities to process high resolution remote sensing data, design, and print full scale forest cover maps.
  • Developed GPS and GIS training and field manuals for BFD Staff.
  • Provided technical assistance in support of the first Bangladeshi National Tree Cover Monitoring Report.
  • Developed Quality Assurance Quality Control training of trainers and field manuals for Bangladesh Forest inventory.
  • Continued collaboration with University of Maryland (UMD) in support of the RIMS unit and Bangladesh Forest Inventory.
  • Continued collaboration with NASA in support of the Resource Information Management System (RIMS – GIS, GPS, Remote Sensing unit at BFD) unit and the Bangladesh Forest Inventory.
  • Developed socio economic survey for integration into the Bangladesh Forest Inventory.
  • Co-funded Daffodil International University research through the PEER grant.
  • Supported 4 GIS Training conducted by the Resource Information Management System unit (RIMS) at Forest Science & Technology Institute (FSTI).
  • Supported two Bangladeshi visiting scientists to NASA and University of Maryland (SilvaCarbon NASA/UMD Fellow) to work on forest cover remote sensing research in 2018 through 2019.