Before partition of Indian sub-continent in 1947, Bangladesh forests were administered under Forest Circles of the Bangal and Assam Forest Departments. From 1947 to 1962, the Provincial Forest Department was the authority with a Conservator of Forests, and subsequently until 1971 by a Chief Conservator of Forests. With the formation of Bangladesh in 1971, reserved and proposed reserve forests passed to the Bangladesh Forest Department. From 1971 to 1989, BFD fell under the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Department enjoyed varying interest in terms of attention from Government. For a brief spell, there was an Inspector General of Forests, in addition to the Chief Conservation of forests, to coordinate forestry activities. During 1987-89, Forestry was a Division of Agriculture Ministry, with a Secretary to Government in charge of the Forestry Division.
The Department of Environment (DoE) established in 1977 under the Environment Pollution Control Ordinance, 1977 still functions under the ECA. With the formation of the new Ministry of Environment and Forests, in 1989, both the departments were transferred to this new Ministry. The DoE has been placed under the MoEF as its technical wing and is statutorily responsible for the implementation of the Environment Conservation Act, 1995.
Besides these two departments, MOEF controls the Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC), Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) and Bangladesh National Herbarium (BNH). The Ministry of Environment & Forests is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government, for the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of environmental and forestry programmes. MOEF oversees all environmental matters in the country and is a permanent member of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council.
The Ministry is also plays a pivotal role as participant of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The principal activities undertaken by Ministry of Environment & Forests consist of conservation & survey of flora, fauna, forests and Wildlife, prevention & control of pollution, forestation & regeneration of degraded areas and protection of environment, in the frame work of legislation. The main tools utilized for this include surveys, impact assessment, control of pollution, regeneration programmes, support to organizations, research to solve solutions and training to augment the requisite manpower, collection and dissemination of environmental information and creation of environmental awareness among all sectors of the country’s population. The organizational structure of the Ministry covers number of Divisions, Directorate, Board, Subordinate Offices, Autonomous Institutions, and Public Sector Undertakings.
In short, Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has the following major functions:
- Management of environment and ecology.
- Matters relating to environment pollution control.
- Conservation of forests and development of forest resources (government and private), forest inventory, grading and quality control of forest products.
- Forestation and regeneration of forest extraction of forest produce.
- Plantation of exotic cinchona and rubber.
- Botanical gardens and botanical surveys.
- Tree plantation.
- Planning cell is responsible for preparation of schemes and coordination in respect of forest.
- Research and training in forestry.
- Mechanized forestry operations.
- Protection of wild birds and animals and establishment of sanctuaries.
- Matters relating to marketing of forest produce.
- Liaison with international organizations and matters relating to treaties and agreements with other countries and world bodies relating to subjects allotted to this Ministry.
Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI):
Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) was established in 1955 and mandated to provide research support to the Forestry sub-sector of the country, including Forest Department, Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation, NGO and other private enterprises. BFRI’s research activities aim to develop appropriate technologies to maintain sustainable productivity of forest land and of forest industries without resource depletion.
Bangladesh National Herbarium (BNR):
Bangladesh National Herbarium is a plant survey, collection, identification and conservation organization. It documents the plant biological diversity of the country and its collections are accessible samples of natural population. The collection of the herbarium is a national property that goes down to the posterity through generation for hundreds of years and work as reference materials on the flora of the country. The National Herbarium serves as repository of technical information on plant genetic resources and advises the Government on technical aspects of question dealt with by the herbarium. It also provides direction required in the implementation of policies laid down by the Government in relation to plant biodiversity conservation.
Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC):
Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC) has mandated to rubber plantation, processing and has also mandate to extract timber from inaccessible Forest areas. After sawing, Seasoning and treatments, these timbers are used in wood based industries for production of quality furniture, electric poles, anchor logs, cross arms, railway slippers, doors & windows, woodtex, tea chest and plywood etc.
In addition to this BFIDC have been raising Rubber plantation in the district of greater chittagong, Sylhet, Mymensingh and Tangail since 1961 in order to increase the productivity of the fellow forest land through producing row rubber in the country. BFIDC so far has raised 32,625 acres of started plantation in its 15 (fifteen) Rubber Estate in greater Chittagong, Sylhet, Tangail and Mymensingh districts and 10 (ten) acres experimental rubber plantation in Barind tract (Rangpur distict ) to test the viability rubber plantation. Besides, about 33000 acres rubber plantation has been raised in private sector with technical assistance of BFIDC.
Thanks for reading. For further details please visit the web portal of The Department of Environment and Forest, Bangladesh.
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