250 hectares of reserve forest disappear in 5yrs | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 12, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:02 AM, February 12, 2016

Kuakata in Patuakhali

250 hectares of reserve forest disappear in 5yrs

Erosion, sand removal by tidal surges causing the menace

Erosion due to frequent hit by tidal surges causes depletion of the reserve forest in Kuakata sea beach, badly affecting the natural beauty of the picturesque tourist spot where the visitors can see both the sunrise and the sunset from the same spot.

The government declared 5,661 hectares of forest land in Kuakata as National Park in 2005, said sources at Patuakhali forest department.

To make Kuakata more attractive to tourists, the forest department created a tamarisk garden covering about 10,000 hectares of land there.

Shortly after the super cyclone Sidr hit the area in 2007, the forest department planted many trees in Kuakata.

More trees were planted from 2010 to 2012.

But in last five years, at least 250 hectares of forest land was lost to the sea as tidal surges frequently hit the beach, said Mihir Kanti Doe, divisional forest officer.

"We sent several letters to the Water Development Board [WDB], asking them to take necessary steps regarding the matter," he said.

During a recent visit to Gamgamoti area, about eight kilometres to the east of Kuakata Zero Point, this correspondent saw some people cutting a number of trees that had been uprooted due to removal of sand.

Rumman Imtiaj Tushar, managing director of Kuakata Tourism Centre, said Kuakata tourist spot has lost much of its beauty as the eye-soothing coconut garden and tamarisk garden are disappearing fast.

Under the impact of climatic change, water level of the Bay sees rise every year and so, the level of tidal surges is also getting higher, said Prof Mohammad Ali, chairman of agro-forestry department of Patuakhali Science and Technology University.

Repeated hit by tidal surges remove sand, causing the trees to get uprooted, he said, adding that trees tolerant to tidal surges and salinity should be planted to protect the beach.

Contacted, Abul Khayer, executive engineer of WDB in Kalapara Circle, said a survey is going on to take a project to protect Kuakata beach.

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