While Bangladesh has been known for its lush greenery and natural diversity, with the passage of time and our inexorable march towards urban development, we have unfortunately been losing a portion of our natural beauty in the name of progress.

With our forests at risk of disappearing, that the government has taken a number of measures to reevaluate and reinforce policies in order to preserve what’s left is most certainly a good thing. In line with the government’s efforts to preserve our nation’s biodiversity, the 2016 decision by the cabinet to ban the cutting of trees in our natural and reserved forests till 2022 was extended till 2030 during a weekly cabinet meeting on Monday.

This is undoubtedly a positive development, and a necessary one at that.

Illegal tree cutting and deforestation have been a global dilemma since time immemorial, and has invariably resulted in the natural balance being compromised. Thinning forests not only impact the lives and livelihoods of all living creatures, but also give way to more natural calamities, like flooding and landslides, claiming countless lives. 

Moreover, with climate change proving to be an imminent danger to the earth’s existence, it is crucial — now more than ever — to protect our trees and, subsequently, our biodiversity.

Putting aside all of the threats to mankind that deforestation poses, the fact remains that the sheer act in itself is one of disrespect to the natural composition of our nation. We are all for progress, but that should certainly not be pursued at the cost of the natural beauty that our country has to offer.

Our conservation efforts must go hand in hand with our pursuit for development. After all, only with biodiversity preservation and a robust ecosystem can we truly achieve sustainable development.

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