Overpopulated, largely poor, and environmentally degraded, the nation of Bangladesh has known its share of woes. Yet even in face of struggles, including a forest loss of over 90 percent, the women of Bangladesh are aiding the country's struggling people and biodiversity through the establishment of some 20 million home-gardens. Long-neglected by the government and NGOs, these home-gardens provide food, firewood, and medicine.
A new paper published in the open access journal Tropical Conservation Science explores the participation of women in home-garden management activities in Bangladesh. The paper looks at the impact of home-gardens on w omen's incomes and livelihood, while assessing the Bangladeshi woman's awareness of how home-gardens support biodiversity and environmental sustainability, including reducing pressure on the remaining forests.
Through interviews, the study finds that men and women share duties in the home-garden, but women spend on average more time. Reasons for starting a home-garden include substantial benefits, such as food security, extra income from selling products, health care through herbal medicines, and environmental services.
The home-gardens not only provide families with better economic circumstances, but help sustain livelihoods across communities, preserve agricultural biodiversity, and aid beleaguered forests.
The study recommends that governments and international organizations recognize the value of home-gardens and work to aid families to continue the positive practice through education and incentives.