Sustainable forest management in Bangladesh
The first -ever Bangladesh Forestry Congress was held on April 19-21 in the country in line with the UN decision to observe the year 2011 as International Year of Forests. The theme of the congress was "Forestry for Better Living "which has l drawn a broad spectrum of forest experts, officials and researchers to promote dialogue on forests as well as taking action for sustainable development and conservation of forests. Almost half of the forest areas worldwide have been deforested, and the remainder, mostly rainforests which, by any measure is most precious of all. In Bangladesh, where 16 per cent of the land was forested, half of the forests have been cleared away with now only 8 per cent of the land area forested in our country.
This deforestation will cause catastrophes to do with the climate, weather and survival prospects of species. Such deforestation may lead to desertification leading to disastrous consequences for our people. Recent models suggest that the mutually reinforcing effects of increasing temperatures and aridity could bring our rain forests to the 'tipping point' at which it becomes economically unviable. So far 50 % of the forest in our country have been cleared. A global temperature increase of about 5 % would put paid to most of the existing rainforest. The other threat is human. Our population is expected to increase over the next decades, and our 50 million or so hungry mouths will increase demand for food and drive up demand for clearing forests into agricultural land. The Forestry Congress has to devise ways of combating aridity and desertification and also clearing of forest for agriculture. At the closing session of the Congress on 21st April 23 recommendations for sustainable development of forests were made. Knowledge should be shared for proper management and protection of forests and optimum utilization of forest resources.
Amongst the recommendations it was suggested that moratorium on forest felling was not positive enough. Porgrammes have to be undertaken to harness renewable resources of the forests and maintaining bio-diversity. The government has to make people aware about the wealth of the mangrove forests and celebrate 'Sundarban Day' every year. The recommendations have to be implemented to face challenges in the forests sector in the context of global warming, increase in forest coverage in Bangladesh and coordination among forests institutes.