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3 November, 2021 10:16:43 PM

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Prioritize homestead tree planting

Different sources show that in Bangladesh the natural forest area has shrunk significantly over the years. It is estimated that over the three decades from 1975-2010 agricultural activities had destroyed around 17,179 hectares of mangroves while shrimp cultivation had destroyed another 7,554 hectares.
Alaul Alam
Prioritize homestead tree planting

Tree planting around the homesteads is an age-old practice. History claims that in the agrarian society trees were considered as a constant source of food and shelters.

During that time people would feel the necessity of planting essential trees around their homesteads for safety and livelihoods. Throughout generations, collecting fruits, firewood, timber and household materials from trees has been a significant practice for human survival.
Since the primitive ages life and livelihoods have been dependent on trees in many ways. Not only that, trees have been the inseparable part of the human environment. Certainly, these days human beings have uncovered more benefits of trees but being kind to trees and plant more in the homesteads, road sides and other open spaces has not been the significant practice of the mass people yet. Besides, trees which are being cut down are much more in number than they are planted every year. But it is estimated that the contribution of homestead forestry is much more to meet up the necessity of the people for timber and firewood.
Again, it is noticeable that to fulfill the demands for food, energy and timber of the growing population world forestry is facing a tremendous pressure. Natural and man-made cruelties altogether are contributing to global deforestation. In the recent years forest fires have been so pervasive in the Amazon rainforest.
The Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) estimated that in 2020 more than 2500 major fires burned across the Brazilian Amazon. On top of that, the world saw many massive wildfires and forest fires around the world in the recent years risking the biodiversity and causing extinction of birds, animals and other species.
Different sources show that in Bangladesh the natural forest area has shrunk significantly over the years. It is estimated that over the three decades from 1975-2010 agricultural activities had destroyed around 17,179 hectares of mangroves while shrimp cultivation had destroyed another 7,554 hectares. It has been a matter of concerns that despite the Sundarbans being our guardian angel, our actions and interventions are risking its biodiversity and also causing extinction of many wildlife species. In many cases, human interventions have been more catastrophic than climatic interference on the way to the extinction of the plants and animal species in the forest.
Studies have revealed that the decision of the people in case of planting trees around their homesteads is primarily based on economic rather than ecological. Certainly, increasing household financial contribution by planting trees is good but do we have any scopes to deny ecological concerns?
Deforestation and disappearing forestry contribute to climate change which has disastrous effects on living beings and species on earth. It is obvious that when forests are cleared to make way for agriculture and other activities, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases rise into the atmosphere resulting in climate change. Trees absorb greenhouse gases and protect the environment. Not only that, trees regulate water flows and protect coastal communities from extreme events and sea level rise.
However, compared with other cities the capital city Dhaka has lost its natural attraction to a certain level due to density of population, and many other man-made causes. Concrete buildings and infrastructures have made the city artificial look. This city is considered as one of the worst polluted in the world undergoing various climate-induced hazards. The air quality of the city is a threat for city dwellers. Disappearing greenery has impacted much that the city people face in their everyday life. As per the report of the World Bank, the green areas in Dhaka shrank by over four per cent in the decade between 2006 and 2017.
However, it is appreciative that massive plans have been taken to make Dhaka city green and livable in the recent years. Not only that, the country has seen a significant growth of forests. The forest area covers nearly 17 per cent of the total land area of Bangladesh.
Every year tree plantation campaign is held across the country to make people aware of the importance of trees for survival on earth. The present government calls upon the countrymen to plant more trees around their homesteads to avoid the adverse impact of climate change. Despite all efforts, how far the people are conscious of planting trees? If they were really aware, the major environmental hazards could be averted in many ways.
However, to ensure the Sustainable Development Goals-2015 along with multilateral environmental agreements there is no alternative to concentrate on enhancing forests. Priority must be given to planting trees around the homesteads. Truly, one of the most important issues is to combat the global trend of deforestation.
Obviously, every country should strengthen tree planting activities that can contribute to global forestation. Unless every citizen prioritizes on planting trees with their individual efforts, the initiatives of the individual countries will never see the light. Finally, there must be a slogan across the world “Let us save the world by planting trees from every home”.

The writer teaches at Prime University. He is also a research scholar at the IBS. Email: [email protected]
 

 

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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