KARACHI: Sindh Forest Department Chief Conservator Aijaz Ahmed Nizamani, said on Sunday that 145,000 acres of forest area is under forcible encroachment in Sindh, whereas 64,500 acres have been illegally allotted by the Sindh revenue department.
“Sindh has a land area of around 14 million hectares, out of which 1.125 million hectares fall under the control of Sindh Forest Department,” said the chief conservator.
Speaking about the importance of increasing forest area, he added, “It is not a question of deforestation but of efficient harvesting of forests. Deforestation causes poverty in forest neighbouring communities as poor people depend on forest products for their livelihood. Due to deforestation, these rural masses migrate to other areas.”
Nizamani said that deforestation causes massive emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. Carbon dioxide combined with these gases act like a blanket around the Earth. They trap heat in the atmosphere causing the temperature to rise. This phenomenon is called greenhouse effect. Trees which are being rapidly cut to build infrastructure help in keeping the environment in check.
He said that the most immediate impact of deforestation occurs at the local level with the loss of ecological services provided by forests and related ecosystems. Such habitats afford humans valuable services such as erosion prevention, flood control, water filtration, fisheries protection, and pollination—functions that are particularly important to the world’s poorest people, who rely on natural resources for their everyday survival.
Deforestation also reduces the availability of natural resources like timber, medicinal plants, fruits and vegetables.
“The key problem is ruthless harvesting without checking the ability to regrow forests. This phenomenon is not only present in Pakistan but all societies which are at a similar stage of economic development as Pakistan. Sindh Forest Department is working on reforms to increase forest areas with the help of local communities,” he concluded.