Our country is rich with diverse forests.
Due to geographical position and fertile land, various types of forests have emerged in this country.
There are mainly evergreen forests, deciduous forests or Sal forests and mangrove forest in Bangladesh.
These beautiful forests are also reservoirs of huge resources.
These forests are rich with both floral and faunal resources.
Among the floral resources, there are woods, bamboos, rattan, murta, nipa palm, honey etc.
The wildlife is one of the most vital parts of the faunal resources of the forests.
There is a magnificent combination of insects, butterflies, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals in the natural forests.
Forests are vitally contributing in maintaining the natural balance and numerous people of this country are living depending on the forests and forest resources.
Every single forest, with its unique characteristics, is serving as a reservoir of wildlife and other resources.
But due to various reasons the forests and the environment are threatened now.
The forestland is decreasing due to gradual increase in population, climate change, pollution, destruction of natural forests, tobacco cultivation and alien invasive plants etc.
So, a proper management of this resource is needed to protect the forests and the environment.
The Forest Department is responsible for the management of the forests in Bangladesh.
The duties of the Forest Department include conservation of the forests, expansion and collecting revenue.
Implementing various projects to protect, conserve and expand the forests according to the present laws and policies of the country is another prime responsibility of the Forest Department.
The aim of the national forest policy, various environment policies and initiatives is to protect the natural forests and to do reforestation in those places where the forests are destroyed or appropriated.
The Forest Department also carries out the forest survey and various researches.
Though once the forests were considered as the source of revenues, now the concept has been changed completely.
The Forest Department is performing various activities in order to protect the natural forests.
Besides, the forests are managed by declaring as protected forests, where various activities harmful for the plants and animals are considered as punishable offenses.
The protected forests in our country are divided into two groups; wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.
Besides, the Safari Parks, Eco Parks, Ecologically Critical Areas, World Heritage Sites, Ramsar sites etc. are categorized as protected areas.
But it is not possible to protect the forests properly by fashioning the policies or by declaring protected areas only.
Involving local community in the forest management is essential to solve this issue.
The social afforestation and co-management have been added to the management of the forests.
The social afforestation in Bangladesh was started in 1979.
The conservation system integrating the local community has been built by this initiative.
This system helps to build up a relationship of compromise and mutual cooperation between the Forest Department and the local community of the forest area.
The main goal of social afforestation and co-management is to train the local community to integrate them with forests conservation and to share the income from the forests with them.
As well as encouraging the local community to protect the forests.
Though various activities are being done by the Forest Department, we are not achieving expected results in context of protecting the forest resources and expansion.
The forest protection activities are being interrupted due to insufficient manpower.
Though regular afforestation program is going on, many hills in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are still remaining tree less.
Besides, the wildlife conservation activities are also being affected.
The capacity to deal with the impacts of climate change is also reducing.
So a national conservation policy, in collaboration with different ministries of the government, is needed for the proper management of the forest resources of the country.
Along with this, efficient and adequate man power, modern technology, and environmental education can help to make the forest management sustainable.
A sustainable forest management has to be initiated through the participation of the local people and proper implementation of the existing Forest Act and Policy.
Only then the conservation and proper use of this precious resource of our country will be ensured.