State Policies and land Use in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh
Degradation of land and forests by short rotation slash and burn agriculture, known locally as jhum, has become a serious concern in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of Bangladesh. Polices and programmes to promote alternative land use practices have largely failed. Conventionally, indigenous people are blamed for the problem, which is attributed to their conservatism and unwillingness to adopt alternative land use systems. However, this explanation overlooks the constraints inherent in adopting alternative land use practices.
This paper offers an alternative explanation by examining the impact of state policies on land use in the CHT over the past two centuries.