By Shahrukh Nasim
Roots sealed deep within the dirt, waiting to grow into one of the most valuable assets on mother earth. It starts with the base and then slowly drifts away upon the ground, becoming one of the most prominent life dwellers. They consume, eat, reproduce and die just like the average human on this planet. Yet, often times they are looked down upon for substitutes, such as shelter or business related ventures. Since the beginning of times, from the fires started in the caveman era to the modern day book material which is published; trees are one of the essential sources of the ecological system.
Forests are a part of the life cycle, providing fire-wood, timber, forage and medicinal plants. For many animals in the wildlife, it provides a shelter as well as recreational facilities. It help sustains our countries wild life and glorifies the exquisite scenery of Mother Nature. It helps regulate the supply of water and assists in the conservation of soil fertility. Even in the aspect of Economics, forests play a vital role in all sorts of industries. Think of the minute you wake up from eating breakfast, getting your parking ticket or even signing a check, trees played a paramount role in each activity. Forest products are used systematically in our daily lives, yet as humans we tend to destroy the most constructive and lavish creation given in the environment. According to the minister of climate change, Mushahid Ullah Khan said “Pakistan is facing huge losses due to deforestation. It has aggravated our weather condition.” The various materials gained from forests, support industries such as paper, plywood, pulp rayon, sports good and newsprints. It is even a source of beneficial food as many various types also produce fruits. Thus giving benefits to all walks of life and not just limited to certain species. Even though they play such an immense role in the ecosystems, we are still allowing them to perish.
Unfortunately over the past 50 years, we have lost half of the world’s original forests due to the unorganized manner of utilizing our resources. According to Dr. Syed Manzoor Alam from the Sindh Tando Jam council, says that we have to spend Rs. 1.75 billion on every year on imports. Pakistan’s average annual per hectare yield for the wooded forests is 0.21 cum, as compared to 1.65 cum in case of UK and 1.19 cum. in USA. This basically gives a general overview that Pakistan has nearly 4.5 percent of the area under forest, as this is quite low to the desired level of 20 to 25 percent.
In the beginning of times, when the growth and population rate was low, it did not cause an enormous deal on whether or not resources would be utilized properly or wastefully. Due to the increase of urbanization, rural development, along with the increase of population, man is continuously disrupting the ecological system and creating a mass deal of pollution. Deforestation has no benefits whatsoever, and only gives benefit to the owner of the area in terms of greed and profit. Pakistan is already going through the most hectic and chaotic energy crisis of this time period, as wood is the next dominant source of energy after coal. Also when you clear out a forest, the vacant land tends to receive intense heat rays which allow the land to lose its vegetation and rich soil nutrients. With natural disasters such as flooding which are evident in Pakistan, trees are known to have the extrusive ability to absorb water and disrupt water from entering water sheds. It has a natural way of managing water through a coordinated system. This bare soil loses its ability to produce food production. Without wood, it is merely asking to squander our last bit of resource. Abolishing forests does not only harm the environment, but brings gloomy visualizations in scenery and eliminates opportunities for every living life in our ecosystem. This is our world and only awareness along with action leads to a conclusive revolution.
The writer works for WWF-Pakistan, based in the head office, Lahore. He tweets at @shahrukhnasim_ and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org