Of endangered trees
In a bid to conserve endangered trees as well as make the campus green, the Chittagong University authorities have planted about 17,000 seedlings of more than 60 local species.
The CU authorities implemented the project, which started in 2011, with the financial help from Arannyk Foundation, a non-profit organisation. The seedlings were collected from across the country.
Earlier, several teachers of the Institute of Forestry and Environmental Science of the university conducted a research on the issue. They also published a book titled, "Conservation of Patent Tree Species in Chittagong University Campus".
The book carries pictures and information about the 60 species of endangered trees. Before conducting the research, the participants studied a book, "Encyclopedia of Flora and Fauna of Bangladesh", published by Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
Its first 13 volumes mention that a total of 486 species of indigenous flora of Bangladesh are in an endangered state. Of them, more than 200 species are trees.
Besides, they studied another book titled, "Red Data Book of Vascular Plants of Bangladesh", published by Bangladesh National Herbarium.
The two-volume book states that 226 plants in Bangladesh are in an endangered state. The researchers said the two books mentioned most of the 60 species. Of them, they said, 21 species are critically endangered.
These are Anisoptera Scaphula (local name Boilam), Bhesa robusta (Sal Kachra), Bouea Oppositifolia (Miriam), Brownlowia Elata (Moos), Canarium Resiniferum (Dhup), Cinnamomum Iners (Tezmatan), Cordia Dichotoma (Bole Gota), Dipterocarpus Costatus (Baittyagarjan), Dipterocarpus Turbinatus (Teli), Engelhardtia Spicata (Jhumkabhadi), Hydnocarpus Kurzii (Chalmugra), Lagerstroemia Parviflora (Shidhajarul), Lophopetalum Wightianum (Raktan), Mangifera Sylvatica (Uriam), Palaquium Polyanthum (Tali Dudhi), Podocarpus Neriifolius (Banspata), Pterygota Alata (Buddha Narikel), Scaphium Scaphigerum (Sampan), Schleichera Oleosa (Joyna), Swintonia Floribunda (Aam Chandul), Zanthoxylum Rhetsa (Bajna).
Moreover, Aphanamixis Polystachya (local name Pitraj), Artocarpus Chama (Chapalish), Artocarpus Lacucha (Barta), Bischofia Javanica (Kanjail), Butea Monosperma (Polash), Calophyllum Inophyllum (Ponyal), Cassia Fistula (Bandar Lathi), Chukrassia Tabularis (Paba), Dillenia Pentagyna (Hargaja), Dipterocarpus Alatus (Dhullyagarjan) and Duabunga Grandiflora (Bandarhula) are on the list of such species.
Prof Mohammed Kamal Hossain and Prof Mohammad Shafiul Alam of Institute of Forestry and Environmental Science at CU, who were involved in the project, said most of the trees were widely available in Bangladesh 15 years ago. Now those are disappearing due to rush for planting trees of foreign origin, they said.
Prof Kamal said, "We have a dream of building a conservation area of indigenous trees on the CU campus so that our students as well as teachers can earn more knowledge and conduct research."
Dr Mohammed Mohiuddin, chief research officer of Bangladesh Forest Research Institute of Chittagong division, confirmed to The Daily Star that the 60 species of trees are in endangered state. He also praised the initiative taken by the university.