Bangladesh, with its new Forest Conservation Bill of 2023, is on the brink of a momentous shift in its forest management practices, with two new laws set to revolutionize the sector. These laws, which will replace the colonial-era Forest Act of 1927, have been hailed as a “paradigm shift” and will have a significant impact on the way forest resources are utilized and protected in the country.
Forest Conservation Bill of 2023
The Forest Conservation Bill of 2023, which is set to replace the outdated Forest Act, will provide forest officials with the power to conserve forests and protect biodiversity as declared by the government. This new legislation aims to address the revenue-generation approach that has been prevalent in the past and prevent the auctioning of timber and issuing permits for extracting fish, fruit, honey, and timber from the Sundarbans, a reserved forest, a critical sanctuary for the endangered Bengal tiger.
Furthermore, the Forest Conservation Bill of 2023 will prohibit cutting trees outside of forests, which will profoundly impact the environment. According to Mohammad Shahab Uddin, the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, these new laws are set to bring about a paradigm shift in the forest sector. He believes that both laws will bring about a drastic change in forest protection and preservation in Bangladesh.
The Forest Conservation Bill of 2023 aims to protect forests and the region’s rich biodiversity. Saber Hossain Chowdhury, a member of the ruling party and the chair of the parliamentary standing committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, believes that forests should no longer be regarded as a source of government revenue globally. Rather, the focus should shift towards conservation, especially in a country as vulnerable to climate change as Bangladesh. The country is no stranger to environmentalism; activists have worked together to save forests in recent years.
The Forest Conservation Bill of 2023 laws have been designed to address the contradictions of the existing law and the harm it has caused to the environment. Mohammad Abdul Quddus, a senior adviser at the Arannayk Foundation, which works towards protecting Bangladesh’s forests, has noted that the provisions in the proposed laws will safeguard the forest, its ecosystem, and its biodiversity.
Bangladesh’s new forest protection and conservation laws mark a significant shift towards a sustainable approach to forest resource utilization. These new regulations will empower officials to preserve forests and safeguard biodiversity, which will benefit the environment and the people who depend on the forests for their livelihoods.