Stolen Forests - Documentary

 Stolen Forests Documentary Cover

Biponno Bon (Stolen Forests) is a documentary film on the forests of Bangladesh (except for the Sundarbans) that have been devastated. The hills in the Chittagong Hill Tracts are bare today. The traditional sal forest has become history in most parts. The monoculture plantations of exotic and invasive species in place of hundreds of species of the native forests are not forests at all. This is the central theme of the documentary film Stolen Forest.

The film is divided into two parts. The first part tells the story of the sal forest destruction. The second part of the film is on the appalling state of the forests in Chittagong, Cox’s Bazar and the Chittagong Hill Tracts belt. Like what is seen in the sal forest, “simple plantation” afforestation with few species has replaced the towering native forests of Garjan, Chapalish, Chikrashi, and numerous other species in this vast expanse. Acacia, eucalyptus, teak, and pine are the dominant invasive species seen in these areas. This dramatic change has largely been caused by different projects financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank. 

The key message of the film is that man can plant trees but can never create a forest. Trees alone don’t form a forest. Hundreds of species of trees and bushes and a large number of other vegetable species grow at all stages and on the forest floor. The knowledge of the forest-dwelling communities, their traditions, culture, history, education—all are parts of a forest. The forest cover in Bangladesh has now shrunk to merely six per cent. This includes more than 400,000 hectares of plantation established since 1872. Given [monoculture] plantation is not real forest, the actual forest cover is less than six per cent.

Publication Details

Published: 2005
76 minutes
Bangla: 45 minutes
Director: Philip Gain and Junaid Halim
DVD: Tk.200 / US$10
CD: Tk.100 / US$5