GIS based e-Governance model for managing forest

GIS based e-Governance model for managing forest

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Mohammed Al-Amin
Associate Professor
Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences
University of Chittagong, Bangladesh
[email protected]

Ashraful Alam
IFESCU, Chittagong, Bangladesh,
[email protected]

A model of GIS based e-governance is proposed in the present study. The proposed Electronic Case Management Information System (ECMIS) would incorporate a comprehensive Forest case Database that will be updated weekly through Internet and linked to a GIS of the area. This database could then be queried for updated forest case information and the query results could be depicted on an interactive map of the area enabling graphical representation of the query results

Management of forest is a complex process requiring the accumulation and integration of information from diverse sources. The requisite information has then to be made available to the decision makers in time to smoothly and efficiently resolve the impending issue requiring a decision. Unfortunately, the crucial data and the processed information are not always available when Forestry managers need it. Hence there is a crying need, in a developing country like Bangladesh, to develop and maintain a consolidated database with implementing tools for a Management Information System (MIS), which will support Forest Management. This Information System can unite the multifarious activities of various wings like Forest Management, Wildlife Management, Research and Development, Forest Planning, Implementation, Monitoring, Evaluation, Human Resource Development, Finance, Legal and Commercial etc., into a frame work that best addresses the specific requirements of decision makers at various levels in the management.

“Forest offence” in Bangladesh, means an offence punishable under the Forest Act 1927 or under any other rule made there under (Rahman, 2000). Prosecution of forest cases usually takes a long time as investigations are delayed and lengthy, thus at times proving the proverb Justice delayed, Justice denied. This is a multidimensional management problem, which requires a cumulative effort from policy maker to the field level officer and also needs a weekly monitoring system. Use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Government machineries may lead to an efficient, speedy and transparent process for disseminating information to the public and other agencies. Therefore a system for monitoring of the forest cases using ICT is proposed which will enable the necessary involvement of the higher authorities during any stage/level of the case trial, facilitating speedy trial.

Materials and Methods
Chittagong North Forest Division (CNFD) was selected as division for the collection of data. This division lies in 22°20′ N and 91°20′ E (Fig. 1). It has moist tropical climate, with high rainfall, concentrated during the monsoon period from June to September. CNFD has total 56131.70 hectares of forest area of which about 75.75 % is a reserve forest wherein everything is prohibited unless permitted; 18.5 % is a protected forest wherein everything is permitted unless prohibited; 1.37 % is acquired forest and 4.38 % is vested forest. Moreover, it has about 35838.47 hectares of plantation area that is roughly 64% of the total forest of this division (FD, 2004). Information related to forest crimes and cases was collected from the Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) and Forest Case Conducting Officer (FCCO) of CNFD through semi-structured questionnaires. A total 3643 POR cases in CNFD over a period of four years were studied.
Table 1 Illustrate details of POR cases filed in CNFD from 2001 to 2004

Status of POR cases Total number
Cases not taken into consideration 1732
Charge trial 536
Period of witness 1056
Freed 116
Convicted 18
(imprisonment for 2 months with fine tk. 2000/-)
174
(imprisonment for 6 months with fine tk. 5000/-)
11
(imprisonment for 1 year with fine tk. 5000/-)
Grand total 3643

Use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in Government machineries may lead to an efficient, speedy and transparent process for disseminating information to the public and other agencies. Therefore a system for monitoring of the forest cases using ICT is proposed which will enable the necessary involvement of the higher authorities