Shrinking forests resulting in floods, endangering biodiversity: Experts

Lahore   -  Ecosystem degradation through the depletion of natural resources like cutting of trees, water, soil, air and habitat is bringing about destructive effects on the environment endangering biodiversity, experts said.

Furthermore, using agricultural land for housing societies and illplanned cities and towns have further aggravated the situation, they said.

Deforestation, in clear terms, means the felling and cutting of forest cover or tree plantations to accommodate developmental projects even for agricultural, industrial or urban use.

It involves the permanent end of forest cover to make that land available for residential, commercial or industrial purposes.

Therefore, the natural resources and green covers that are being depleted at a fast pace, provide the basis of our existence, that are massively under pressure as we witness the water table going down rapidly and agricultural land shrinking due to illegal construction.

Noted environmentalist Mirza Sarwat urged the government to mark a comprehensive policy for Forest Management System (FMS) as deforestation was happening at a rapid pace in temperature variations, proving fatal for livestock, crops and humans.

Talking to APP, he said that the government should make longterm policy and arrangements by providing incentives for advanced forest management technologies, adding all city-district governments in the country should earmark certain percentage of land in their areas for forestation.

Environmentalist Mahmood Khalid Qamar said that deforestation in Pakistan was a matter of great concern that was hitting the economy hard, adding government, private sector and all segments of the society should join hands to overcome the issue of shrinking forests in Pakistan.

While Defining a Forest Management System (FMS), he said that it was a process in which forests were tended, harvested and regenerated.

To a query, he said that forestation was one of the most neglected areas and there was a dire need to make joint efforts to protect and enhance forests through public- private partnership.

Qamar said that large-scale deforestation in the Sindh riverine forests, which was highly climate- vulnerable province,

has alarmingly increased the sensitivity of the forestry and agriculture sector of the province, which is seriously becoming vulnerable to climate change impacts, like torrential floods in 2022.

According to recent World Bank findings, climate change-related disasters have affected over 75 million Pakistanis during last three decades in terms of agriculture and bio-diversity damages incurring estimated losses of over $29 billion (roughly $1 billion per annum).

Asad Imran, Director Sustainable Agriculture and Food Programme at WWF told APP that without forest restoration, conservation and protection efforts, the country’s climate vulnerability could be increased, adding the pace of recurring floods, coastal cyclones, dusty storms, heat waves, environmental degradation had already further increased.

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