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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Saber: Bangladesh sets ambitious goals for tree cover expansion

  • Environment Ministry targets increased forest coverage, extensive reforestation
  • Expand tree cover from 22.37% to 25% by 2030
Update : 05 Jun 2024, 12:10 PM

The Bangladesh government has set ambitious goals to expand the country’s tree cover from 22.37% to 25% of total land area by 2030.

Forest coverage is also targeted to increase from 14.1% to 16%. Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury shared these objectives with UNB.

“The government has adopted the National Action Program for Combating Desertification, Land Degradation, and Drought for 2015-2024,” the minister told UNB.

In alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 15 and the decisions of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP-13, Bangladesh aims to achieve “Land Degradation Neutrality” by 2030. A national roadmap for addressing land degradation from 2021 to 2041 has also been developed.

Saber emphasized that extensive tree planting is underway to conserve the nation’s forests, biodiversity, and wildlife. From 2009-10 to 2022-23, approximately 217,402 hectares of block plantations and 30,252 km of strip gardens were established, with over 112 million seedlings distributed and planted.

“From 2009 to 2023, 160,699 beneficiaries involved in social forestry received dividends totalling Tk32.695 billion. Integrated efforts to reclaim encroached forest lands have resulted in recovering about 30,000 acres of forest land nationwide from October 2020 to last April,” he added.

In the current monsoon season, the government plans to plant 83.33 million seedlings across the country. A national forest survey is underway to measure the amount of tree cover and carbon content in forest sectors. Since 2009, approximately 89,853 hectares of coastal afforestation have been created to establish a green belt envisioned by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman along the coastline.

On World Environment Day today, under the slogan “Generation Restoration,” various events will be held nationwide. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the National Tree Planting Campaign by planting saplings at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center.

During the event, the prime minister will also distribute the Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation for 2023 and 2024, the National Environment Award for 2023, and checks to beneficiaries of social forestry. An Environment Fair will run from June 5 to June 11.

To raise awareness, Bangladesh Television, Bangladesh Betar, and other media outlets will air special programs on the significance of Environment Day. Additionally, commemorative supplements will be published in national newspapers, and various events, including painting and debate competitions, will be organized in schools across the country.

Local communities will be actively involved in the conservation of 22 protected forest areas through the formation of 28 co-management committees. The Red List of threatened plant species in Bangladesh has been updated, and strategies for managing invasive species in protected areas have been developed. Furthermore, existing laws and regulations for forest and wildlife conservation are being revised.

The environment minister concluded by announcing the launch of the first-ever “Wildlife Olympiad” to engage students in wildlife conservation awareness.

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