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Dhaka Sunday,  Apr 14, 2024

Saber asks forest dept to identify deforestation ratio

DHAKA, Feb 25, 2024 (BSS)

Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury today stressed the need for identifying the deforestation rate in Bangladesh, urging authorities concerned to ensure optimum utilisation of allocations in forest conservation.

“There is no proper and up-to-date statistics on deforestation ratio but this is happening in Bangladesh. So, we have to know the deforestation rate,” he told the inauguration of the Second National Forest Inventory of Bangladesh at Hotel Intercontinental in the capital.

Bangladesh Forest Department arranged the function.

Speaking as the chief guest, Saber said the Second National Forest Inventory is going to be conducted with about a Taka 25 crore support from the World Bank. “But it is a loan and we must repay the money. That’s why we have to ensure the optimum use of the loan,” he added.’

The forest minister said his ministry has already formulated a draft forest policy and the findings of the second forest inventory will be inserted to the policy.

Baseline data on forest is a must to indentify the country’s natural resources, he said, adding, “We should give more emphasis on conducting research on forest and forest resources”.

He emphasised the national forest inventory’s significance in establishing Bangladesh’s National Forest Monitoring System and its role as the primary data source for forest biomass and carbon inventory.

In addition, he said, the inventory will encompass non-timber forest products, soil analysis, and cultural aspects, going beyond wood volume assessment.

Saber said this database will be an asset to materialise the country’s target under the SDG goals and international declarations as well as better management of the forest resources.

He highlighted Bangladesh’s previous completion of a comprehensive national forest inventory from 2016 to 2019 and underscored the second cycle’s objective of analysing trends and identifying areas requiring interventions.

Later, Saber formally announced the commencement of the second National Forest Inventory aimed at developing effective forest management plans and ensuring the sustainable use of Bangladesh’s forest resources.

The comprehensive data collection will facilitate tracking changes in forest cover, biodiversity, policy decision-making, international reporting, and national strategy development.

Chaired by Chief Conservator of Forests Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, the function was addressed, among others, by Environment, Forest and Climate Change Secretary Dr Farhina Ahmed, Additional Secretary (Admin) of the ministry Iqbal Abdullah Harun, FAO Representative to Bangladesh Jiaoqun Shi and Project Director of the SUFAL Project Gobinda Roy.

Deputy Conservator of Forests Zaheer Iqbal, Team Lead-Environment, Forest and Climate Change at FAO Bangladesh Dr Dicky Simorangkir, and National Socioeconomic Consultant at FAO Bangladesh Dr Nikhil Chakma presented keynote papers respectively.

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