Every year on March 21, the International Day of Forests, also called World Forest Day, promotes environmental awareness. In addition to commemorating the green cover around the world and its importance, the day reminds us of the importance of forests in our daily lives
The total coverage of forests in Bangladesh is less than 11 percent of the total land mass. This is alarming as each country should have at least 25 per cent forest coverage to meet the ecological balance. Forests are critical to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, preserving soil and countering climate change effects. With deforestation taking place steadily in the country, we are at a critical stage and action must be taken now to increase and preserve the forest areas.
It is alarming to note that the annual deforestation rate in Bangladesh is almost double the global average, 2.6 percent. Reportedly, in the last seventeen years, about 66 square kilometer of tropical rain forests have been destroyed in Bangladesh, which is a matter of concern. According to the forest department, 2, 87,453 acres of forest land have been occupied all over the country. Of this, 1 lakh 38 thousand acres are reserved forest land.
We need to ensure transparency,
accountability and effective
supervision in forest conservation
Forestry remains a crucial sector for the country’s economy through the provisioning of ecosystem services such as timber, bamboo, honey, fruits, and other primary forest products. It also provides other ecosystem services such as fuel wood, recreation, water and protection.
Forests play a big role in protecting the land in times of natural disasters as well. Protecting our nation’s forests will not only be beneficial to the environment and the economy, it will also go a long way to protecting the country’s biodiversity and endangered animals such as the Bengal tiger.
We need to ensure transparency, accountability and effective supervision in forest conservation and management. The government must devise schemes to encourage afforestation activities, both by the private and the public sector. Corporate organizations should also do their part in expanding forests as their reach is far beyond small institutions.
Protecting our invaluable natural resources is our duty and should be the top priority for each and every individual. If everyone pledges to do their part in protecting our forests, we will be able to reduce our carbon footprint and fight the adverse impacts of climate change.