WB expresses concern over increasing deforestation in Bangladesh
The World Bank (WB) has expressed deep concern as deforestation is alarmingly increasing in the country.
The country has only 17.8 per cent or 2.56 million hectares of forest at present and such rapid reduction of forests lead to soil erosion, serious landslides and loss of biodiversity.
The issue has come to light while a meeting was held with the concerned forest department officials at the WB Dhaka office last week.
Conversion of forest lands for settlement, agriculture and commercial purposes have alarmingly increased deforestation and such declining and deteriorating of forest significantly reduces the opportunity to mitigate climate change, said the WB.
If total forest cover continuous to decline in Bangladesh, the potential for forests carbon sequestration will be reduced in coming years, it fears.
To face the catastrophe, the WB also has suggested to undertake afforestation and reforestation drive to improve forest management and development of alternative livelihoods of forest dependent communities to address the challenges of vulnerability to climate change in Bangladesh.
In this regard, Mohammded Younus Ali, chief conservator of forest (CCF) under the Forest Department told BSS today that Bangladesh Climate Change Resilient Fund (BCCRF) has recently approved the allocation of US$35 million for the ‘Bangladesh Climate Resilient Participatory Afforestation and Reforestation Project’ that aims to reduce forest degradation through participatory planning/monitoring and to build the long-term resilience of selected communities in coastal areas to climate change.
Under the financial management of the WB, Younus Ali said the project will be implemented by the Forest Department and the activities of the three years project will begin on January 2013.
‘The proposed project will cover afforestation and reforestation of total 17,000 hectares of land and 1,672 kilometers roadside plantation in nine coastal and hilly districts’.
The districts are Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong, Noakhali, Lakshimipur, Barisal, Patuakhali, Barguna, Bhola and Feni. The proposed project will also initiate piloting a non-forest based livelihood support programme in 200 pilot villages.
‘In addition, it plans to improve forest management practices through the initiation of programme monitoring, long term planning, and human resource tools as well as the introduction of technological interventions’.
‘This will improve the capacity and the technical knowledge base of the forest sector. Even, the proposed project will also reconstruct and rehabilitate 43 existing field offices of the Forest Department’.