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Seminar on “Identification and Assessment of Potential Accreted Char Land for Plantation in Coastal Areas”
On June 25, 2015 Climate Resilient Participatory Afforestation and Reforestation Project (CRPARP) under Bangladesh Forest Department (BFD) organized a seminar on “Identification and Assessment of Potential Accreted Char Land for Plantation in Coastal Areas” at Ban Bhaban, Agargaon Dhaka. Honorable Prime Minister while her visit to the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) on May 15, 2014 asked for the preparation of a master plan for the reclamation of newly accreted char lands through afforestation in the country’s coastal areas. Accordingly the seminar was organized. Dr. Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, BRAC University graced the seminar as the Chief Guest. Engr. Waji Ullah, Executive Director, CEGIS was the Key Note Speaker of the Seminar. Md. Yunus Ali, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) chaired the session. Broad- based experts of the country were present in the seminar. Among the guests, Deputy Chief Conservator of Forests (DCCFs), Conservator of Forests (CFs), Mr. Ishtiaq Uddin Ahmad, IUCN Country Director, Representatives of the World Bank, Executive Director of Arannayk Foundation, UNDP, UNFAO and many other GoB bodies were present in the seminar.
CRPARP focuses on enhancing resilience of forest ecosystems and communities in ten coastal and hill forest divisions. The seminar was intended to provide required assessment and relevant ideas for the preparation of a reclamation plan through plantations on newly accreted coastal char lands as a part of updating the Forestry Master Plan of 1995. Main objectives of the Seminar were to discuss and share relevant data and ideas on coastal afforestation on newly accreted char land with the experts working in this arena, to identify a methodology for assessing newly accreted char lands in the coastal area, and to make an initial assessment of potential accreted char land available for plantations in coastal areas.
Before the presentation by the key note speaker, CCF informed that, BFD for more than 40 years has worked on mangrove afforestation in coastal areas and in the process valuable lessons have been learnt on raising coastal plantations. He suggested focusing on reclamation of newly accreted char lands through plantation, as a priority, in view of heavy load of sedimentation coming from the Himalayas but also for addressing climate change.
Engr. Waji Ullah, Executive Director, CEGIS in his presentation focused on identifying and assessing potential char lands for plantation and cluster multi-level opinions to find out the process, issues and solutions for afforestation in newly accreted char lands. Important rationale included climate change, huge flow of sediments, land scarcity, and the important goods and services accruing from the country’s forests were also listed. A slide was specially prepared to present the country’s forests in various categories i.e., Hill forests, Mangrove forests, Plain lands and Sal forests, Coastal afforestation, unclassified state forests and homestead state forests.
The presentation was appreciated by the CCF and he extended his sincere thanks to the key note Presenter. Followed by the presentation, a floor was opened for expert discussions and comments or suggestions. The expert professionals who attended the meeting delivered valuable comments. Mr. Ishtiaq Uddin Ahmad, IUCN Country Director, who made a number of suggestions.
Professor Dr. Nishat in his speech expressed his observation on the development and accretion of Suborna Char, which over the period has developed as Nijhum Dwip, covering two Thanas presently. He distinguished char land accretion and char land reclamation – while accretion refers to new land formation, char land reclamation is about making the land, which is already available, as usable for human habitation and other use. During the concluding part of his speech, Professor Dr. Nishat advised BFD to document the char land accretion and reclamation process under the CRPARP so that the World can understand about the pioneering of char land afforestation works being done under CRPARP with financial support provided under the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (BCCRF).
Finally, CCF expressed his gratefulness to the Chief Guest and the expert participants for giving valuable inputs, suggestions and comments. He also thanked the CEGIS team for an informative and valuable presentation which will help formulate a coastal char land afforestation plan. CCF then summarized the outcomes of the seminar and ended the same with a vote of thanks to all the participants.