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Saturday, March 21, 2015, Chaitra 7, 1421 BS, Jamadi ul Awwal 29, 1436 Hijr

Thrust on Forest Dept overhaul
International Day of Forests today
Published : Saturday, 21 March, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 11
Banani Mallick
Bangladesh Forest Department needs to be strengthened and restructured for better conservation of forest resources, experts demanded on Friday, the eve of the International Day of Forests.
The day is being observed today (Saturday).
Environmentalists and experts expressed the view that if necessary steps were not taken forests will face further threats.
The Forest Department is divided into four wings considering magnitude of the works and line of jurisdiction. Each wing is administered by a Deputy Chief Conservator of Forest (DCCF).
Eminent Botanist and Ecology researcher Pavel Partha said that among other steps the FD needs structural adjustment including giving preference to forest conservation and security.
"A new dimension can be introduced only the FD gets restructured. So these steps will help prevent poaching of forest lives," he said.
When the structure of the FD will be changed, automatically its man power will be increased and by giving training and creating more scopes this department could be strengthened, he observed.
Partho who has been engaged in doing research since the incident of oil spill incident in Shela River of the Sundarban, referred to extreme form of government's ignorance about conservation of the forests.
"For the last few years, not only oil incident of the Shela River occurred on December 9 last year, but also government officials are cutting trees indiscriminately creating a threat to its ecology and its biodiversity," he said.
The International Day of Forests, the 21st day of March, was established by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012.
Referring to the 1927 Forest Act, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Executive Director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, earlier in a press conference organized by BAPA said the law does not oblige the department to protect and preserve the natural forest.
Professor Ainun Nishat, Water Resource and Climate Change Specialist, said
 "Before making any commitment, government should realize it," he said.
He also noted that the native forestation has been destroyed when the government has concentrated on growing of the foreign forests.
"The growing of Mehogany, Shishu, and Eucalyptus has caused serious destruction on the native forests," he said.
Referring to Sundarban forest he said that about 23 per cent is protected area and in the rest of the reserved forests no economic production should be allowed.
"But in reality we observe when the Environment Ministry suggests no movement of any commercial vessels in the protected areas, the shipping ministry allows vessels to move there," he said.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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