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CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION
1.1 STUDY CONTEXT
This report is one of 13 Specialist Studies produced by the North East Regional Water Management Project (NERP), Item 6 of the Flood Action Plan (FAP 6). These Studies provide the information base for the NERP regional planning process, which is described in the Regional Plan (pp. 1-4).
This Specialist Study provides information on biodiversity in the region. The draft final version of the Study was limited to wetland biodiversity, reflecting: (1) NERP's emphasis on water management; (2) the presence in the region of several wetlands suspected to be of international importance; and (3) the limited extent of upland areas within the region.
In this final version, the focus was expanded to include upland biodiversity. This was done so that NERP would have information on these assets; to draw attention to them in the context of the national development process; and in recognition of ecological and institutional links between biodiversity in wetland and upland settings. In practical terms, however, the upland field work and other investigations were much more limited than the wetland studies. Therefore, to avoid confusion and overemphasis of the rather sketchy upland information, the title Wetland Resources Specialist Study was retained. The upland study is documented in Annex E to this report.
1.2 STUDY OBJECTIVES
The specific objectives of this study and report are:
1.3 SCOPE OF STUDY
The description, analysis, and proposals presented here are based on:
1.4 RELATED NERP STUDIES
Other NERP Subteams in Fisheries, Agriculture, Sedimentation, Hydrology/Geohydrology, Social Anthropology, Water Resources, and Economics covered these other aspects of the region and, in cooperation with the Wetland Subteam, its wetlands. Most of these groups are reporting their findings in their own Specialist Studies. Relevant information from these disciplines has been incorporated here where appropriate, for example, in the Ramsar sheets describing the key wetland sites (Annex C).
1.5 REPORT ORGANIZATION AND RELATIONSHIP TO REGIONAL PLAN
This report is organized into a main report of eight chapters, followed by six annexes. References and figures appear after the last chapter. The organization of the body of the report parallels the regional planning process and the Regional Plan main volume outline, to allow straightforward incorporation of wetland driving forces, issues, and so forth into their regional analogues. The annexes provide complementary or more detailed information, much of it oriented toward readers with specific technical interests. In particular, all information related to the upland study appears in Annex E; the main report deals only with wetlands.
1.6 REPORT REVISION HISTORY, INCORPORATION OF COMMENTS, AND RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER NERP REPORTS
A draft final version of this report was issued in April 1993. This final version reflects comments from CIDA and BWDB, plus additional information and analysis from the NERP team as a whole, and the Wetland Subteam. The list of key wetland sites has been expanded from six to nine; the new sites are Kaliajuri Area, Companiganj Area, and Bara Haor. New information has been added documenting the results of investigations of upland biodiversity, and of local people's perceptions of the history and value of nearby wetlands. A habitat type, flood plain grassland, has been added. Additional information on wetland animals has been provided. The species lists have been revised. An executive summary has been added.
A draft final version of the project pre-feasibility study Northeast Region Environment Management, Research, and Education Project (NEMREP) was issued in December 1993. Material from the draft final Specialist Study was extensively extracted and revised for use in this report. Some of this information has been re-inserted into this final Specialist Study. In addition, information on the proposed key biodiversity management initiatives, newly written for the NEMREP study, has replaced the former contents of Chapter 7, previously named Key Wetland Management Initiatives.
A draft final version of the project pre-feasibility study Flood- and Erosion-Affected Villages Development Project (FEAVDEP) was issued in mid-1994. A major component of this project is afforestation and habitat restoration around villages in the deeply flooded area, both to protect from wave erosion and to provide local people with a range of biomass products for building materials, fodder, fuel, food, and other uses. Text from this report has not been included here, but includes much additional information on wetland vegetation, in particular the potential for afforestation/habitat restoration.
The Fisheries Specialist Study identifies a number of mother fisheries (see Glossary). The four largest of these, Kaliajuri Area, Tangua Haor, Hakaluki Haor, and Kawadighi Haor, are also identified here as key wetland sites. Information from the Fisheries Specialist Study has been incorporated into the Ramsar sheets describing these and other key sites (Annex C).
1.7 DISSEMINATION OF RESULTS
The information provided here was presented and discussed in a seminar entitled Biodiversity, Wetlands, and Surface Water Quality of the Northeast Region held on 6 April 1994 in Dhaka. In addition, members of the Wetland/Biodiversity Subteam participated in several of the district-level seminars. Seminar proceedings are published as NERP reports.
1.8 NERP WETLAND SUBTEAM
The NERP Wetland Subteam consists of:
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