Dhaka, Bangladesh
Forest must be protected

Forest must be protected

Denudation of forests continues unabated across the country despite a lot of warnings from environmentalists about the danger of loss of forest cover. It is indeed shocking that we assume an air of nonchalance while our forests are shrinking fast. The media, more often than not, run reports on the alarming rate of deforestation for lack of effective conservation efforts. Felling of trees even in protected areas still continues. The forest cover we have is much too inadequate. Any damage or sabotage done to the existing small ratio of forest cover is tantamount to inviting wrath or fury of nature. It is common knowledge that an indifferent attitude to deforestation is suicidal. The residents of a remote village in Bandarban's Lama upazila have appealed to the authorities to protect the nearby forest, where some people are felling trees indiscriminately and with impunity. The forest is a Village Community Forest (VCF). The communities living around it use the natural resources of the forest as sources of food and water. Although the people of Kalu Moro Para village protested several times against the tree felling and bamboo cutting, this criminal act is going on. Already bamboo groves and a large number of trees have been cut down. Written complaints were made to the union parishad chairman, but to no avail. Why are the local officials so unwilling to take action against people, who are violating law and threatening the livelihood of families and causing enormous harm to the common forest as well? The forest is threatened by the greed of influential and powerful. Why do the local administration officials ignore the criminal act of a bunch of people engaged in denudation of forest? Once about 86 per cent of the country's forests were natural; but today a very small tract of land is covered by natural forests. The denudation of forests forebodes ill omen for our natural bulwark against cataclysm. Within the span of 25 years natural hill forests decreased to a great extent. This gives a despairing message for the ecologists who clamour for redress for climate change effects. Indiscriminate deforestation is going on due to construction of a lot of establishments and roads. About 1.6 lakh acres of forest land has already been handed over to different government agencies and establishments, making recreation centres, guest houses, offices, houses, according to a report. This contradicts with the SDG to stop deforestation by 2020 and have 20 per cent of the landmass as forests by 2030. Now the tree felling in the VCF must stop as we have already lost much of our natural forest cover.

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