Kumrat valley is one of the most scenic valleys of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and a picturesque spot that attracts thousands of tourists from different areas of the country every year during the summer. But the natural splendour of the deodar forests that are a major attraction of the region is being threatened by a local river that has changed course and is eroding the forest, which serves as a habitat for a variety of flora and fauna.

Locals and tourists alike have expressed fears that the river was destroying the precious deodar trees in the forest as its water was eroding the soil. The issue deserves urgent attention as the average age of deodar trees in the forest was more than 200 years and it would be a shame that an integral part of the ecology of the area faces a threat due to a river that can be diverted with intervention. It is likely that the deposition of a great deal of mud or boulders by the flood that devastated the region last year, at several sections of the waterway is responsible for the changed river-course. While earthquakes have often been blamed for rock failures and landslides on mountain slopes in the northern areas, global temperature rises for rapid thawing of snowfields and glacial melt are also responsible for disturbing the flow of snow-fed rivers.

The forest department should make the necessary arrangements to protect the precious forest. Along with the cooperation of the local administration retaining walls can be built along the river and make other arrangements to stop the water from entering the forest. Forests are an integral part of the natural ecosystem that must be protected and conserved at all costs. The KP government has showed promise by committing to reforestation in the area. It would also do well to conserve the ones that already exist since the last 200 years.