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Study on the bio-physical characteristics of the river karnaphuli

Isabel Foundation had conducted survey and study on the river karnaphuli during 2015-2016. The study focused on the river morphology, hydrology, river ecology and anthropological subject related to riverine life. All those studies generated huge primary data and information; and documented bio-physical features in both still and video media. The study also recorded new species of flora and fauna from the Karnaphuli River valley those are first report in the natural history of Bangladesh. Isabela foundation is interested to publish all the reports for communicating the important findings to various stakeholders like Policy maker, Researchers, Managers and practitioners in River management and aquatic resources conservation. This publication will provide a state-of-the- art report of the river and wetlands ecosystem and suggest the ecosystem—based management approach for maintaining the renewability of the natural aquatic resources for sustainable development based on scientific facts and figures.

Isabela Research Team “Quest for River and Life” at Karnaphuli

Isabela Research Team “Quest for River and Life” at Karnaphuli

River systems together with its vast network of wetlands are natural resources rich ecosystems in Bangladesh those are major economic pillars comprising fisheries, agriculture, forestry and navigation. Rivers and wetlands are major ecosystems supporting habitat of massive biological resources, wild flora and fauna, sources of fossil fuels, biofuels and hydropower. Wetlands are the foundation pillar of rural economy as a result of its highest biomass productivity, source of domestic and industrial water needs, role as ground water recharge and discharge, water reservoir and pollution abatement . Wetlands   water regime in this country are intricate and diverse networks of oxbow lakes, bowl-shaped depression, low-lying islands, floodplains, lakes, reservoirs, streams, springs, swamps, canals, ponds ,inter-tidal mudflats, creeks, estuaries and mangrove swamps are producer of ecological water and the vast natural renewable resources including zoo plankton phytoplankton, algae, macro benthos,  hundreds of species of aquatic Coelenterate, Porifera, Nematodes, Helminthes, Mollusks, Crustaceans, Arthropods, Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Aves and Mammals.

The wilderness of the rivers are inbuilt in its vast courses with the natural diversity in biome, ecosystems and genomes originated, evolved and distributed along its tributaries, distributaries and associated wetlands . River, rivulets and wetlands those are the lifeline of people’s social, economic and cultural life. The river runs through Bangladesh mark both the physiographic character of the nation and the life of the people, are all most all trans-boundary in origin and nature. The beauty and bounty which are engraved in each and every meandering of the river runs from hills to the sea are the main attraction of river tourism from time immemorial.

Historically, the civilization in this delta is built on the bank of rivers. “ Bandars”  (ports)the trading hubs  were all located on the bank of rivers. But those river borne heritages is now a days are history. Flooding of the rivers during the monsoon season causes enormous hardship and hinders development, but fresh deposits of rich silt replenish the fertile but overworked soil. The rivers also drain excess monsoon rainfall into the Bay of Bengal. Erosion and accretion are two major characteristics of our rivers which are causing severe natural hazards to the people living on the bank of river. Thus, the great river system is at the same time the country's principal resource and its greatest hazard. Although there exists policies, master plans ,strategies and action plans pertaining to water, river, wetlands and aquatic biodiversity but its implementation is lagging far behind as result the rivers are dried up, wetlands are drained and land filled,  , encroached , heavily polluted and finally dead. Holistic thought about river is a naturally evolved biome and integrated approach for renewable natural resources management is one of the remedy to sustain the renewability and continuity of river and wetlands productivity for both nature wellbeing and human wellbeing. Priority need is to Paradigm shift from river- backyards theme of dumping grounds to river—front development for better environment.

Nodi o JibonerSondhane

Considering the exigencies of conserving biodiversity resources of Chittagong region, thriving uniqueness against the obstacles and the immense ecosystem values of the region, Isabela Foundation has brainstormed a massive initiative called Nodi o JibonerSondhane, in literal interpretation, or depicts an epic quest of river and life in the Hill Tracts

Nodi o JibonerSondhane is for skimming out –

  • a composed database of the persisting biodiversity thriving in the wilderness of the  Karnaphuli river Chittagong Hill Tracts;
  • an elaborated map depicting  Karnaphuli river   
  • any possible new and rare flora and fauna under the spotlight of science;
  • species that can be considered as umbrella/keystone/flagship species for the region, ways to assist in promoting sustainable ecotourism strategies;
  • long-term solutions to conservation of both wilderness 
  • fruitful decision and management strategies from obtained data and citizen science-driven holistic approach.
Karnaphuli River System

Nodi o JibonerSondhane, from this pilot study, looks forward to exploring beyond the known realm. The campaign seeks to bring all the sector experts, specialists and researchers under its umbrella and wishes to bring out every gem and exceptionality of the Hill Tracts ranging from geomorphological attributes to species diversity in every major and minor group, namely, invertebrates, herpetofauna, ichthyofauna, avifauna, large mammalian groups and even diversity in the known and unknown tribes residing in seclusion in those areas.  Since birth of Bangladesh, there is hardly any true expedition led in the Hill Tracts, Nodi o JibonerSondhane fills the gap of knowledge and wants to bridge it with the known world. With the belief, the project wants to proceed river-wise having the Sangu, the Matamuhuri, the Bagakainlake and the Raikhiyang Lake in the scope. After composing an updated inventory, the initiative wants to find ways to assist in promoting sustainable ecotourism strategies; in formulating long-term solutions, effective decisions and management strategies to solve the issues hampering the wholesomeness of the last wilderness of Bangladesh.

Etymology, legends and love stories of the river Karnaphului

There is a legend about the naming of the Karnafuliriver. It says an Arakanese princess who fell in love with a tribal prince of Chittagong was once enjoying a moonlit boatride on the river with the prince. While admiring the reflection of the moon dancing on the rippled water surface, the princess inclined slightly and a flower tucked in the hair over her ear by the prince suddenly fell into the river. The princess was grief-stricken at losing the flower, which she held very dear as a present from her charming prince. She immediately jumped into the river to retrieve the flower but could not. Instead she was carried away by the fast-flowing current and vanished in the river. The prince dived into the river to rescue the princess but in vain. Out of sorrow he drowned himself in the river to unite with the princess after death. This tragedy gave the river its name Karnafuli from the word 'karnaful' meaning 'flower adorning the ear'. The river is known to the Marma tribe as the KynsaKhyong.

The publication will focus on the following aspects of the river karnaphuli

The research reports comprised of the following thematic areas.

The research reports comprised of the following thematic areas.

  1. RIVER AND LIFE: UNDERWATER EXPLORATION IN THE KARNAPHULI
  2. TRIBUTES TO KARNAPHULI’S WILDERNESS
  3. FLORA OF THE KARNAPHULI RIVER AND ITS SURROUNDING AREAS
  4. INVESTIGATION ON HYDRO-MORPHOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL STATUS OF THE KARNAPHULI RIVER
  5. LIFE AND LIVELIHOOD OF RIVER DEPENDENT COMMUNITIES. A PILOT ENTHOGRAPHIC STUDY OF THE KARNAFULI RIVER OF BARKAL UPAZILA IN RANGAMATI DISTRICT.
  6. ETHNOMEDICINAL PLANTS USED BY THE CHAKMA PEOPLE IN BANK OF KARNAPHULLY RIVER IN RANGAMATI HILL DISTRICT, BANGLADESH