FORESTATION FOR FUTURE
Deforestation of Sundarbans mangrove forest has become a grave concern for the environment because forests are vital source of biodiversity and livelihoods but are depleting at an alarming rate. Forests are natural carbon storage systems balancing the weather and resisting the adverse impacts of natural calamities.
The Bangladesh Sundarbans is one of the world largest mangrove forest ecosystem accounts 44% forests of the country and 4% of Bangladesh landscape. The Sundarbans with an area of 10000 sq. km. shared between two neighboring countries Bangladesh (62%) and India (38%) is a mangrove ecosystem. The Sundarbans is an ideal habitat for a variety of mammals, waders and seabirds and also the nesting sites for both marine turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) (Blower, 1985) and 3.5 million people depend on Sundarbans resources. The Sundarbans is a Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar site) that are also an UNESCO declared World Heritage site.
Illegal forest felling, wildlife hunting, habitat degradation, climate change and good governance are causes of concern. Unsustainable harvesting of Nypa fruticans (golpatta) i.e. cutting of central leaf, honey harvesting causes deforestation and production, fish and crab harvesting using poisonous chemical violating occupational ethics by the stakeholders hamper natural regeneration of Sundarbans resources depleting production and mangrove terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem. Indiscriminate harvesting and illegal felling of tiger prawn fries from Rivers and canals dwindling the prey-predator relationship and aquatic biodiversity. High demand of shrimp larvae for shrimp farming in the Sundarbans buffer zone making the Sundarbans ecosystem degraded.
There is an urgent need for forestation in the buffer zone especially the accreted land /island (char land) evolved on the River bank and is possible for plantation by NGOs/private sector thus reduce the Sundarbans deforestation and storage carbon for future generation.