Deforestation alert!

150 major weather events have been reported across Pakistan from 1998 to 2018


Editorial August 09, 2020

Pakistan has been witnessing a considerable increase in the intensity as well as the frequency of extreme weather events over the past few years. According to recent statistics, 150 major weather events have been reported from 1998 to 2018. The significant rise in temperature has led to water-stressed conditions which have resulted not only in the reduction of agricultural productivity but also a decrease in the overall forest canopy of the country. All these factors indicate that biodiversity in Pakistan is under grave threat as its destruction is unfolding in front of our very eyes.

Environmentalists now fear that the Chichawatni Forest Division, considered as the second-largest planted forest in the country, is at a risk of being destroyed as only 30% of useful and valuable trees are left there. It is clear that the negligence of authorities has further exacerbated the depleting condition of the forest owing to their corrupt practices. Even though the furniture and wood industry contribute considerably to the overall economy, regulation measures need to be set in place, such as limiting the number of trees cut down and initiating re-planting projects as an alternative. Furthermore, the authorities need to put an end to the timber mafia activities once and for all. It is important to understand that forests play a vital role in promoting wildlife and reducing pollution — factors that will eventually increase the overall living standards of citizens in the backdrop of increased natural disasters.

Even though the country has been at the forefront of fighting climate change and global warming, what lacks is a comprehensive plan in curtailing its effects by targeting the multiple root causes. The incumbent government needs to understand the biological landscape of Pakistan and include safety mechanism for the preservation of biodiversity in their overall initiative, which seems to be absent at the moment. Since the concerned authorities still lack adequate knowledge, it is imperative that they study the extensive literature present regarding climate change and global warming before moving forward.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2020.

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