Excessive tourists’ pressure creates a detrimental effect on Bangladesh’s Lauyachhara National Park
The Lawachara National Park in Moulvibazar receives around 13 times more visitors each year than it can accommodate. While the enormous number of tourists has benefited the local private-sector businesses, the forest department’s revenue is insignificant.
The park’s biodiversity is under threat as a result of the high volume of tourists. As a result, environmentalists have proposed limiting the number of tourists and setting aside monies to protect the environment.
According to the Sylhet Division Office of the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Area of the Forest Department, an average of about 0.02 million people visit the Lauyachhara forest every year.
However, according to their survey, the maximum annual capacity of Lauyachhara National Park is 15 thousand. According to the forest department, the natural beauty of the Lauyachhara forest is deteriorating due to excessive tourists each year. As a result, the ecosystem and biodiversity are in jeopardy.
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, Forest Officer, Sylhet Division, Wildlife, and Nature Conservation Area, said, “We also want to limit the number of tourists here. Otherwise, it is not easy to protect the biodiversity of this forest. ‘
The West Vanugas area of Sylhet Forest Department established Lauachhara National Park in 1996, with 1,250 hectares of forest area. The forest is home to rare species of Apes, Dusky leaf monkey, Shy Monkeys, Pangolin, Fishing cat, Indian muntjac or Barking deer, various species of snakes, and various species of birds.
As per Lauachhara People’s Forum and Tourism Services Organization, 65 hotels, motels, and resorts are set up in the vicinity of Lauachhara Forest with tourists in mind. These places have accommodation for seven to eight thousand tourists.
In this regard, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), said, “The forest department has made Lauyachhara Udyan like Ramna Udyan in the name of co-management and eco-tourism.
However, according to the country’s wildlife conservation law, the forest should be the sole habitat for wildlife. Letting this huge number of people enter the forest is nothing but violating the law by disturbing the wildlife.
Authority should be more concerned with the healthy environment of the forest rather than earning money. Excessive tourism must stop soon. “
According to a research report published in the science journal “Small-scale forestry” by Springer, tourists spend around BDT.460 million a year sightseeing at Lauachhara national park.
This expenditure is mainly borne by the tourists in hotels, travel, food and other sectors. However, the forest department gets only 0.7 million takas as an entrance fee.
Narayan Saha, a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, and Shariful Mukul, a Sunshine Coast University in Australia, jointly conducted the study. Shariful Mukul said, “We have to take the initiative to give the benefits of tourism to this park.”
For this purpose, a fund must be set up to safeguard the area’s biodiversity. The funding should collect from tourist spending in the public and private sectors. The method should be figured out by the government personnel responsible for it.