Kazi Kamrul Islam
In the last few decades, participatory forest management approaches like participatory agroforestry in the depleted forestland has gained an enormous shift from traditional forest management to more people-oriented approaches in Bangladesh. The new program has involved disadvantaged farmers in order to improve their livelihood throughout the Sal forest cover ranges, however, the program’s role in local community development has not been assessed thoroughly. Therefore, the study was undertaken to identify the potential participatory agroforestry models and their income-generating capacity towards community development in the Madhuur Sal forests of Bangladesh. Using different qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques, the study identified mainly four types of agroforestry models which were comprised of pineapple, ginger, turmeric and aroid crops in association with Acacia trees. The economic analysis showed that the Acacia-Ginger agroforestry model gave the highest gross income, however, in terms of the benefit-cost ratio, the aroid-based agroforestry model was the most profitable production system in the Madhupur Sal forests area. Moreover, these agroforestry models have simultaneously improved poor participants’ social, physical, human and ecological assets. So, the study argues that participatory agroforestry models not only provided economic returns but also augment the livelihood of the poor participants and thus, developed their community as a whole. At the same time, the agroforestry models have faced some major constraints led by the government authorities and local leaders. So, there is an immediate need to resolve the major problems of the economically viable models, by which the local participants can effectively practice tree-crop production systems and improve their livelihood as well as the communities in a sustainable way. Key words: Agroforestry, Sal forest, Income, Benefit-Cost, Livelihood, Bangladesh.