Bangladesh fell behind in forest protection
By 2020, the government of Bangladesh has declared 16 percent of the country’s total forest area as protected forests.
Almost all the world countries have signed the Charter of the United Nations intending to preserve biodiversity and maintain the natural balance. However, Bangladesh is far behind in meeting the target.
According to a study entitled ‘The Status and Future of Protected Forests in South Asia,’ this is published in the science journal “Science of the Total Environment.”
According to the study, in 2011, almost all countries, including Bangladesh, set that target following the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Among these countries, South Asian countries are lagging in achieving the targets. Among the countries in the region, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Maldives have less than 5 percent forest cover. By 2021, Bangladesh can protect only 4.61 percent of protected forest areas.
Bhutan is at the forefront in South Asia, with 49.67 percent of the country’s protected forest. The protected forests area in other south Asian countries are as follows
- 7.52 percent in India,
- 29.89 percent in Sri Lanka,
- 12.31 percent in Pakistan,
- 23.63 percent in Nepal,
- 2.3 percent in Maldives and
- 3.64 percent in Afghanistan.
One of the research team members was Sharif Ahmed, a senior researcher at Sunshine Coast University in Australia. He said, “The declaration of protecting forest came one after another in Bangladesh.
However, the task of protecting them remains project-based. The forest department and other government agencies have not been able to develop central management.”
According to a January 2022 report by the World Resources Institute, an international organization of nature, global protected forest area accounts for 15.73 percent, and 7.92 percent of the water area is in guarded condition.
Most countries in Europe, North America, and Africa have protected forests. However, in this case, the Asian countries are lagging.
Amir Hossain Chowdhury, Chief Conservator of Forests, Bangladesh, said, ‘We are creating a legal framework to build central management in protected forest management. Work has also started to create regular funds for the protection of these forests.”
According to the study, less than 1 percent of the protected area of Bangladesh remains under effective management. In the rest of the site, there are 14 types of problems, including killing and trafficking of wild animals and destruction of trees. If the protected areas are adequately managed, they will be on the green list of (IUCN).
Till now, no protected forest in Bangladesh was able to shift in that list. The CBD has proposed to set a target to conserve biodiversity to raise 30 percent of the total land area between 2020 and 2030.
Environmentalists believe that if the current trend of conserving forests in Bangladesh continues, it will not be possible to meet the previous targets by 2030.
For this, they have suggested declaring the forest lands as protected forests in phases and making necessary arrangements for its protection. They also think it is essential to provide the required workforce and funds.
The study has identified a problem of protected forests in Bangladesh. That is, most of these forests are in the exact location.
For instance, the two crucial protected forests are in Bangladesh are the mangrove forests in the country’s southern and southwestern regions. Most of Bangladesh’s protected forests are so small that they cannot contain biodiversity.