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9:27 am | July 19, 2024
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dhaka has a forest cover of only two percent
Bangladesh Environment Pollution

Dhaka has a forest cover of only two percent

Dhaka has a forest cover of only two percent

Dhaka has been steadily losing its forested areas century after century. A study by the Department of Environmental Science of Jahangirnagar University says that only 2 percent of Dhaka now has forest cover.

And 70 percent of it is in Mirpur and its surrounding areas. The study says the forest is also home to some endangered species.

Sustainable forest management (SFM) is handled by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on behalf of the United Nations.

The organization says that if an area has more than half a hectare of trees and is taller than 5 feet, it should be considered a forest. And according to the United Nations Biodiversity Charter, it is the responsibility of the state to protect these forests.

How much forest cover has decreased?

According to a recent study from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), Dhaka city needs 20% green areas. In contrast, it has now less than eight and a half percent.

Also, maintaining and managing these areas is not on any one organization (Dhaka has half the greenery a capital requires: BUET study).

According to research, several organizations, including Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) রাজধানী উন্নয়ন কর্তৃপক্ষ, Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation, Public Works Department (Bangladesh), National Housing Authority (Bangladesh), and Forest Department (Bangladesh) manage the green space in Dhaka.

However, RAJUK has a dispute with the City Corporation regarding the transfer of green space. Again, city corporations, in many cases, started commercial activities in green space to make a profit. One is not compatible with the other. As a result, the forests of these areas are losing.

Over a span of 31 years (1989-2020), Md. Mostafizur Rahman, PhD from Jahangirnagar University’s Environmental Science Department discovered through his study that green tree coverage in Dhaka decreased by 56%. The area that can be called forest has decreased from 17 percent to 2 percent. And about 70 percent of these 2 percent forest-type areas are in Mirpur and its surrounding areas.

Last December, the US Environment Challenges journal published a research report titled ” Present status and historical changes of urban green space Changes in Dhaka City, Bangladesh:

A Remote Sensing Approach” According to the study, the forest area in Mirpur and its surroundings has decreased from 1 thousand 56 hectares to 794 hectares between 2011 and 2021.

In this regard, Md. Mostafizur Rahman said there are still many open spaces in Mirpur. It is possible to create urban forests by planting trees in a planned manner. At the same time, there can restore the habitat of wild animals. But before that, we have to protect whatever forest land we have.

In the forest area of Dhaka, 209 species of animals are surviving

A research report titled Species Diversity, distribution and habitat utilization of Urban Wildlife in Megacity of Bangladesh’ published in 2021 by the Department of Zoology of Dhaka University says that 209 species of wild animals are living in the surviving forests.

According to a research report titled “Birds of Dhaka City: Their Habits and Conservation,” published by Sourav Mahmud, a researcher from the Technical University of Dresden, Germany, 248 species of birds call Dhaka their home. The report was released at the end of 2021. But their number is decreasing very fast.

Saurabh Mahmud said Dhaka’s parks and green areas are seen as a piece of land or entertainment centers. These areas are not considered habitats and food sources for wildlife. As a result, more than half of the animals living in Dhaka breed in its surrounding districts. These animals can survive if small scrub forests and wetlands are preserved.

What to do?

Ainun Nishat, Emeritus Professor of BRAC University, said forests are being protected and reforested in cities worldwide. Bangladesh is also committed to the United Nations in this regard. But in reality, the trees in Dhaka’s Botanical gardens are decreasing.

Ainun Nishat stressed the importance of planting trees matching wild animals’ habitat in Dhaka alongside roads.

He said planting such trees is more common, which is unsuitable for wild animals, but it causes problems for people and traffic in the city. He thinks that this city needs separate management to manage trees and wild animals.

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