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12:48 pm | July 13, 2024
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forest occupation must stop in bangladesh to protect the natural environment and biodiversity
Aivee Akther Biodiversity Environment Protection

Forest occupation must stop in Bangladesh to protect the natural environment and biodiversity

Forest occupation must stop in Bangladesh to protect the natural environment and biodiversity


The Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove, are shrinking in both Bangladesh and India. The forest-covered 7,142 square kilometers in Bangladesh out of a total of 10,000 square kilometers, from 1904-to 24. It was 6,871 square kilometers in 2015-16. These changes have happened within the last few years.

The Rampal Coal Power Project is next to the Sundarbans. Power projects and many more private projects have taken place in its vicinity, which expects to impact the Sundarbans seriously.

The shrinking size of the Sundarbans means declining forest and wild animals’ resources. According to the World Bank’s 2020 report, there are 528 kinds of trees and shrubs, 58 reptile species, 300 birds, 42 mammal species, and nine amphibian species in the forest. The adjoining rivers and canals are home to 250 different fish species.

The Sundarbans protect Bangladesh from the cyclones from the Bay of Bengal every year. For this reason, it is called a natural barrier.

If we weaken this natural barrier in the name of development, then the plants and the animals will die. The existence of Bangladesh depends on the presence of Sundarbans.

Forests in the Chattagram Hill Tracts are also getting deforested in the name of so-called development. In Rangamati, there is a vast forest called Sita Pahar, 40 km away from the wetlands of Kaptai Lake, where orchards, settlements, hotels, and motels have sprung up.

In Bandarban and Khagrachhari, too, development projects are carried out by destroying many forests and hilly areas despite the objections of the locals.

On the other hand, the condition of Madhupur in Gazipur District near the capital Dhaka, the third-largest forest area, is even more deplorable. According to a statistic, Madhupur, built on 45,000 acres of land, now has only 9,000 acres of forest. The rest are under occupation.

According to the Global Forest Watch (GFO) and the World Resource Institute (WRI), between 2002 and 2020, 3.7 percent of Bangladesh’s natural forests has deforested.

Moreover, this rate is more than 9 percent in Chattagram and the Chattagram Hill Tracts. The three districts of the Chattagram Hill Tracts, Bandarban, Khagrachhari, and Rangamati, cover 40% of the country’s total forest area.

On the other hand, 78 percent of the number of trees grown in the whole country simultaneously is in Chattagram and the Chattagram Hill Tracts. According to the two organizations, most new trees have been cut down in natural forests and planted in orchards.

Therefore, if we do not want to destroy the natural environment, we must immediately stop occupying these forests. We must protect forests and biodiversity in the interest of humans and sustainable development. We hope the government will take quick and practical steps in this regard.

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