Special Program for International Students

Current MEXT students


Rahman Md. Mostafizur (Bangladesh)

Email: mostafizu2001 @yahoo.com

Thesis title:  Land degradation due to geoenvironmental issues in the Rajshahi district of Bangladesh.
Supervisor:  Prof. H. Ishiga (2003-2005).

Land is the most valuable of natural resources, and is fundamental to the life of mankind. It is a renewable resource so long as it is used according to its potential. Continued unplanned and unscientific exploitation leads to land degradation and to a non-renewable state. Land is the primary basis for production of food, fibers, fruit, fertilizer, fuel and many other essential goods needed to meet the needs of humans and animals. This important resource therefore needs to be conserved, and must be prudently utilized and managed. However, we face a serious threat of land deterioration due to unrelenting human pressure and utilization incompatible with its capacity. Land degradation occurs because people in affected areas are driven by poverty to extract as much from the land as possible in the short term. This has a severe impact on rural communities, and starts a vicious downward spiral of declining health, decreased quality of life, and shorter life expectancy.

Bangladesh has a wide range of mineral soils developed from parent materials originating from the Himalayas and Assam Hills. These soils formed under varied topographic and hydrological conditions. The broad physiography of these soils comprises recent floodplains (80%), hills (12%), and terraces (8%) (Saheed, 1994). These soils can be divided into 20 physiographic units on the basis of parent materials. Sporadic studies of their morphological and physicochemical characteristics have carried out to determine the fertility status of these soils for management purposes. Research aimed at evaluating changes of soil characters with time is almost non-existent in Bangladesh. Natural and human effects could bring about changes in soil characters, and consequences could be long-term and far-reaching. Evaluation of change in soil characters with time is therefore critical.

Land degradation is a significant problem across virtually all agro-ecological zones in Bangladesh, and the nature and extent of this degradation varies widely among and even within regions. The Barind Tract is an extensive area is situated in the Rajshahi district. For various reasons, cultivation is not possible in the Barind Tract. Natural and induced land degradation is occurring simultaneously in Bangladesh. Water erosion, nutrient depletion, waterlogging, salinization, acidification, burial of fertile land by sandy alluvium and riverbank erosion, and inadequate nutrient replenishment in agricultural soils are all very active processes. Whatever the cause of land degradation, especially of top soil, the consequences are grave for a land-starved country like Bangladesh.

The general aim of my research is to study the major and minor element systematics of soils in my study area in the Rajshahi district, including comparison between the Barind Tract and normal flood plain areas. This will include study of cation exchange capacity, soil organic matter, and pH, and exploration of the roles that geological, environmental or socioeconomic factors are playing in land degradation.

This study is urgently needed to ensure that agricultural production in the area can reach acceptable levels, to help Bangladesh reach self-sufficiency in food production.