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Bangladesh Forest Figures

Forest Cover
Total forest area: 871,000 ha
% of land area: 6.7%

Primary forest cover: n/a
% of land area: n/a
% total forest area: n/a

Deforestation Rates, 2000-2005
Annual change in forest cover: -2,600 ha
Annual deforestation rate: -0.3%
Change in defor. rate since '90s: -1397.1%
Total forest loss since 1990: -11,000 ha
Total forest loss since 1990:-1.2%

Primary or "Old-growth" forests
Annual loss of primary forests: n/a
Annual deforestation rate: n/a
Change in deforestation rate since '90s: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990: n/a
Primary forest loss since 1990:n/a

Forest Classification
Public: 98.2%
Private: 1.8%
Other: 0%
Production: 31.7%
Protection: 7.8%
Conservation: 20.9%
Social services: 1.1%
Multiple purpose: 38.5%
None or unknown: 0

Forest Area Breakdown
Total area: 871,000 ha
Primary: n/a
Modified natural: 592,000 ha
Semi-natural: n/a
Production plantation: 195,000 ha
Production plantation: 84,000 ha

Plantations, 2005: 279,000 ha
% of total forest cover: 32%
Annual change rate (00-05): 600,000 ha

Carbon storage
Above-ground biomass: 51 M t
Below-ground biomass: 12 M t

Area annually affected by
Fire: n/a
Insects: n/a
Diseases: n/a

Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Number of native tree species: 1,074
Critically endangered: 4
Endangered: 2
Vulnerable: 6

Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood: 253,000 m3 o.b.
Wood fuel: 1,016,000 m3 o.b.

Value of forest products, 2005
Industrial roundwood: $21,253,000
Wood fuel: $2,321,000
Non-wood forest products (NWFPs): $199,757,000
Total Value: $223,331,000

More forest statistics for Bangladesh

Bangladesh's high population density (2,650 people/sq. mi or 1,075 people/sq. km) and lack of environmental planning have had a significant impact on the environment. Less than 4 percent of Bangladesh's original habitats remain, and virtually none of these are rainforest. Many of Bangladesh's 5,000 species of plants and 1,500 species of vertebrates are highly threatened. Several species have disappeared from the country in recent years.

Deforestation of the foothills for fuelwood (fuelwood provides more than 60 percent of the country's energy) may contribute to periodic floods that cause widespread misery to people living in the flood plains of the Ganges-Brahmaputra system, which covers about 75 percent of the country. When it is not raining, the country may be stricken with droughts. The cyclical drought and flood conditions take a heavy toll on the economy of Bangladesh. Hasan and Mulamoottil (1994) reported that between 1973 and 1987 an average of 1.7 million tons of food crops were destroyed annually by floods, while an average of 1.46 million tons were destroyed every year by drought. Models indicate that as much as 10 percent of Bangladesh, including its extensive mangrove forests, could be submerged should projected increases in sea levels due to global warming prove accurate.

Water contamination is a major problem in Bangladesh. Naturally-occurring arsenic affects perhaps 25 percent of the country's wells.

Most people in Bangladesh live in poverty, while 19 percent of the population controls 70 percent of the land. Some of the land owned by the wealthy is held simply as a hedge against inflation, while the poor struggle to gain control of even tiny patches of land.

Forest clearing has led to increased conflicts between wildlife and people. During a four-month period in 1997, elephants killed 30 people and injured over 100 as they sought food, which had become scarce due to forest clearing for agriculture. Subsistence agriculture is widespread in Bangladesh.

Gas operations also pose a threat to Bangladesh's forests. In June of 1997, a massive explosion at an Occidental Oil well caused a large fire that caused extensive losees to an area of timber-rich tropical forest.

The forestry department initiates and executes forest management decisions. In 1989 the government put a moratorium on tree felling and since has initiated a reforestation program. By 2012, Bangladesh aims to have 20 percent of its land under protection. As of 2003, the official figure was 0.5 percent of Bengladesh protected in one form or another. In the late 1990s the government established environmental courts to prosecute polluters.

Currently Bengladesh has a low deforestation rate—it has lost just over 1 percent of its forest cover since 1990.

Suggested reading - Books

Unless otherwise specified, this article was written by Rhett A. Butler [Bibliographic citation for this page]

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Last updated: 4 Feb 2006