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The Dawn

Published Date: Mar 22, 2014

Concerted efforts needed to contain deforestation

Speakers at a seminar on Friday said the government efforts to
contain deforestation could not produce any tangible results, which has
increased average temperature, floods, droughts and other natural

The seminar: "Save the Forests: Promoting Green Growth
in Pakistan" was organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute to
mark International World Forest Day.

The purpose of the event was to highlight the significance of day and to create awareness of importance of forest ecosystem.

Maryam Aurangzeb said environment was high on its list of priorities,
therefore, it had set up a 10-member Pakistan Environment Council (PEC)
to discuss and devise a strategy about forestation.

government has been considering taking steps to formulate committees for
the preservation of forests at provincial level. PEC can be utilised to
solve the issues of food security, risk management, water storage and
stabilising climate change," she said.

"A forestation awareness campaign should be launched in which youth should be involved," she said.

on the occasion, Patrick T. Evans, the representative of Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of United Nations, said International Day
of Forests was dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of
forests towards economic, social and environmental security.

resource is less than five per cent of the total geographical area of
Pakistan but even it has major threat of degradation which should be
controlled," he said.

Inspector General Forest, Climate Change Division, Nasir Mehmood said there should be transparent
procedure of monitoring forest in Pakistan.

"Tharparkar has come
under natural stress many times before, but there was never a collapse
of local sustenance systems like today. Plantation of guggal, prosopis
or aloe vera can be efficient for such areas as
they have extreme drought resistance. We need a proper planning and
implementation to survive such
natural disasters," he said.

The representative of Sindh Forest
Department, Mohammad Abdul Sattar, said that attention should be given
to protecting blocks of rangelands in Tharparkar and Cholistan areas by

“Priority may be given to rangelands in the allocation
of funds as this approach would be a proactive rather than a reactive.
Thar crisis could be blamed on lack of coordination between the
stakeholders and
inappropriate investment by government,” he said.

Dr Kamran Khan
of Hamdard University Islamabad said that deforestation could be
controlled by creating consciousness in society and awareness through
proper research, political commitment, brainstorming and
lawmaking regulators.

Executive Director, SDPI Dr Abid Qayyium
Suleri said that there was a need of a comprehensive definition that
what comes into the category of forests, and that how to balance
livelihood of dependent people with

According to report issued on March 10 by Senate
Sub-Committee on Environment, the phenomenon of climate change, largely
caused by human activity, has environmental, political, developmental
and security implications.

"The tragic Gyari incident in which
about 135 soldiers and civilians lost their lives to an avalanche in
floods of 2010 and the changing monsoon patterns are just some of the
alerts of the bad days ahead and a reminder of the critical role the
climate conditions play in our lives," the report says.