Community Based Sustainable Management of Tanguar Haor Program

Tanguar Haor is a unique wetland ecosystem in Bangladesh which has both national and global significance.

Fishing in the Tanguar Haor Photo: IUCN Bangladesh

Tanguar Haor is a unique wetland ecosystem of national and international significance. The haor is home to swamp forests, hundreds of species of birds, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, many of which are rare and endangered.

Tanguar Hoar covers roughly 10,000 ha and is located in North-East Bangladesh in the Sunamganj district. It was declared an ecologically critical area in 1999 by the Government of Bangladesh, and a wetland of national and international importance by the Ramsar Bureau in 2000.

The wetland supports freshwater mother fisheries and is a known residence for migratory birds. It also sustains the livelihoods of 88 surrounding villages and contributes to the national food security.


IUCN Bangladesh, on behalf of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and in association with local communities, is working to establish a co-management model to conserve and develop the natural resources of Tanguar Hoar for the benefit of its dependents.

The approach has a strong focus on access rights, local empowerment and capacity building to institutionalise and follow the Ramsar wise-use principles in natural resource management.

Key activities

• Facilitate delivery of social and economic services

• Increase capacity of local communities to take control over the management of natural resources to generate income
• Develop a community led monitoring system to track trends and understand the ecological dynamics of Tanguar Hoar
• Facilitate coordination of environmental protection measures and resource extraction.

Accomplishment highlights

• Accumulated more than BDT 15 million (US$ 200,000) as social capital by April 2011
• Provided more than BDT 12.1 million (US$ 165,972) as financial support to assist members to conduct alternative income generation activities by April 2011
• Restored habitats for fish and birds by planting trees and reeds, restocking endangered fish and establishing bird sanctuaries and no fishing zones
• Achieved unanimous agreement to treat the wetland as a single water body to be managed by a single organization
• Established a unique three tier organizational structure in the community, which restricts outsiders in the decision-making process
• Developed an information centre and database to document census, progress and socio-economic data.

The project is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).


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