A soothing stretch of the protected forest at Shuknachhari in Cox's Bazar Sadar upazila. -AA
In Chattogram and Cox's Bazar, plantation activities started in 1923. Huge quantity of timber was extracted between 1942 and 1945. During 1945 and 1947, plantation program which had mostly been in abeyance during the war was generally extended and special works of improvement undertaken under the post war reconstruction schemes.
In post partition period after 1947, separate working plans for the period 1950-51 to 1969-70 were written for Chattogram and Cox's Bazar. The working plan divided the forest into five working circles Timber Working Circle, Selection cum Improvement Working Circle, Sungoo Working Circle, Bamboo (overlapping) Working Circle, and Protected Forest Working Circle. Areas with existing poor quality crop where regeneration was inadequate were put into Timber Working Circle.
Coastal plantation' To protect the life and properties of the people living in coastal areas and in the offshore islands, Forest Department started planting trees on the outside of the protective embankment after the severe cyclone and tidal surges of 1960.
Subsequently to stabilize accreted lands on coastal regions and to accelerate the process of land accretion in the bay of Bengal, mangrove plantations were taken up. The main species selected for the a forestation are mainly Keora and Baen. In specific locations other associated mangrove species have been tried.
Forests are vital for maintaining the earth's ecological balance. They form an integral component of the biosphere, essential for the stabilization of the global climate and management of the land and water. Forests shelter countless species, including organisms that are useful in pollinating crops and controlling disease-carrying pests. Forest trees also help increase the ability of soil to absorb rain water and check desertification.
Environmental pollution and depleting of natural resource occur due to poverty, over-population and lack of awareness. It is manifested by deforestation, destruction of wetlands, depletion of soil nutrients, etc. Natural calamities like floods, cyclones and tidal bores further inflict severe socio-economic and environmental damage.
Recently, many climate experts discourse that we are two decades too late in undertaking remedies to counter the adverse effects of global climate change although remedies were at hand over the last 20 years.
It hardly needs reemphasizing that the security will be greatly impaired by the degradation of the state of our environment and of our economy because of the effect of climate brought about by global warming.
Like it or not, climate change is a reality. But its harmful impact can and must be attenuated. the most unfortunate aspect of it is that it is not countries that are responsible for causing global warming that will bear the brunt of consequences of its aftermath.
It is the poorer countries that are at the receiving end of the deleterious effects that will accrete over end of the deleterious effects that will accrete over time. And it is the poorer in the poorer countries that will have to bear the heavy cost if steps are not initiated immediately.
And if one were to go by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predictions which experts say are the best guide to future shape of the global environment, things are going to get worse since we can expect, with things as they are, a temperature rise of between two and four and half degree Celsius. Therefore, the time to act is now.
Nowadays for our country it is very bad news since land and agriculture, on which the majority of our people subsist, will be the worst affected not to speak of the large areas of forest that stands the risk of decimation coupled with declining availability of fresh water. The time to act is now and we are heartened by the government's focus on the indigents by its recently initiated project on "Community-based adaptation to climate change through coastal forestation with tree plantation".
It hardly needs to be said also that while the worst affected countries must formulate environment friendly development plans, the cost of ameliorating the consequences of global warming is indeed very high for the poorer countries to bear by themselves; that are primarily responsible for the current state of global environment.
No cure has yet been found to save a tree once the disease has not taken hold, nor has its spread been arrested. Increased salinity is a prime suspect for ailment but it has not as yet been substantiated officially. Besides organized gangs are very frequently engaged in cutting down trees and carting them away. If no strict guideline is maintained, deforestation will certainly not decelerate. The government must see to it that the concerned administration employs dedicated workers.
At present our government is committed to protect the environment for the wellbeing of the current and future generations. So, our government has attached due importance to increasing the forestry resources and ensuring their proper management for environmental conservation.
A national policy has been adopted for conservation of trees and forest environment. Apart from a forestation, program include planting trees on fallow lands, alongside roads and rail lines, on flood protection embankments, the coastal belt and educational institutions, and encouraging home forestry and social forestry.
In recent year, the government has taken some important steps toward environmentally sound use of natural resources and pollution control. Adoption of National Environment Policy and formulation of National Conservation Strategy and the National Environment Management Action Plan comprise measures undertaken by the government to integrate environment with development in a policy framework.
To take prompt legal actions against environment pollution, the government has recently set up Environment Courts. The Environment Conservation Rules has also been passed by the Parliament. The Department of Environment is taking measures to carry out surveys on identification and control of polluting industries, river pollution and automobile pollution. All strategies are also being devised for protecting the country's bio-diversity.
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