Monday, May 20, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Eradicating that which protects us

Our forests have been our first and, sometimes only, line of defense against the devastating forces of nature

Update : 11 Dec 2023, 09:55 AM

Recently, the nation has been witnessing an increasing trend where various forest reserves are being decimated to pave the way for land development. This is especially alarming when one considers that many of these forests are located along the coasts of Bangladesh and that, without them, the people living in these areas will be made even more vulnerable to natural calamities such as cyclones and depressions.
In keeping with this trend, according to a report by The Daily Star, the Gangamati Reserve Forest in Kuakata, Patuakhali has already lost around 10,000 trees while soil was extracted from several acres of land, and that the spoils are being sold for the construction of a dyke and other similar projects.  The reserve in question acted as a natural shield against Cyclone Sidr in 2007, indicating its importance when it comes to protection against natural disasters.
So far, deforestation in this reserve has already led to the creation of numerous ditches which has led to water accumulation after rainfall. This potentially opens up Kuakata to river erosion and floods, and all of this might come to a head in the coming monsoon, when Bangladesh as a whole is most vulnerable to natural disasters. Such potential for danger is not exclusive to this reserve, of course. As this newspaper had editorialized just recently, this potential threat is imminent for most forest reserves in the country.
Bangladesh is an incredibly climate vulnerable country as is -- as such, no matter the reason, destroying our forest reserves is akin to shooting ourselves in the foot. It is imperative that the government empower our forest department in a way that would allow them to clamp down on such obviously problematic development endeavours. Current conservation laws have to be enforced, and sustainability has to be a core tenet of both development and commerce.

Our forests have been our first and, sometimes only, line of defense against the devastating forces of nature. To allow them to disappear as a result of callousness would be nothing short of a tragedy.
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