Environment day today
The country’s forest cover has shrunk to less than 10 percent of land mass with only 0.02 hectares of per capita forest land, one of the lowest in the world.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and Department of Forest, a total of 2.52 million hectares area — nearly 17.4 percent of the land mass — are forests, of which 1.52 million hectares are under direct control of the department.
Recently, satellite image analysis under National Forest Assessment project in association with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that forest areas in Bangladesh are not more than 1.44 million hectares.
A population pressure of 1,075 people a square kilometre and lack of environmental planning have led to the country’s forest depletion, which is fastest in South Asia, experts say.
Statistics show, the annual deforestation rate in entire South Asia is 0.6 percent and 3.3 percent in Bangladesh.
In the backdrop of deforestation across the globe, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 the International Year of Forests to campaign for sustainable management and conservation of all types of forests.
Today is the World Environment Day. This year the theme of the day is Forests: Nature at Your Service.
A country should have at least 25 percent forest coverage to meet the global standards while in Bangladesh it is less than 10 percent including all natural forest and the planted woods.
A joint report of forest department and FAO says 78 percent of forest areas in Bangladesh are disturbed.
In the country, the total forest cover in 1990 was 1,491 thousand hectares, 1,468 thousand hectares in 2000, 1,455 in 2005 and in 2010 it was 1,442 thousand hectares, the report adds.
The rapid deforestation has put the country’s biodiversity and wildlife at stake.
Over the last 100 years, Bangladesh has lost about 10 percent of its mammalian fauna, three percent avifauna and four percent reptile, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found in 2004.
Another 201 species of the country’s wildlife are threatened with extinction, the local chapter of IUCN says.
The country has lost one-horned rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros, Asiatic two-horned rhinoceros, wild buffalo, nilgai, swamp deer, hog deer, wolf, pink-headed duck, common peafowl and marsh crocodile, says the forest department website.
Courtesy of The Daily Star