Deforestation intensified by timber mafias

Nusrat Bibi

Biodiversity is the genetic pool of the country and both forest and biodiversity are interconnected because forest provides food, habitat and protection to biodiversity and cannot be separated. In the current ruthless forest cuttings how many species would have lost their homes/habitats and food sources and how much economic losses would have been occurred to our country and how much time would these trees have taken in growth and how much their important role in flood as a natural buffer would have been? infinite to write in figures. The Ministry of Climate Change must regulate each natural resource for the survival of our country.

The forests are our most precious national wealth and a habitat to countless other diversity of life. Biodiversity and forest habitats are interconnected and integral parts and cannot be separated. If forests cut down, the natural balance of habitats conservation is harmed and biodiversity is extinguished. If biodiversity is ended, then human life on earth will stub out. Biodiversity is the most significant factor of the food chain in the natural ecosystem of forests. Both forests and biodiversity maintain the genetic diversity of animals and plants, provide hub to water recharge and CO2 sequestration. It also provides natural resilience to flood and other natural calamities.

Pakistan is a forest poor country where less than 6% of total area is under forest. The reasons vary from the development pressure to uses of forest as a fuel, as a shelter materials and the government failed policies for not regulating the land use planning as well as the substitutions of forest wood. Moreover the other limiting factor is the weather conditions and topography of land from arid to semi-arid due to which precipitation influences the growth of forest.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the most forested province of the country and makes 45%of the total forest area of the country, included the world’s most rear and precious variety of animals and plants. Pakistan due to its geographical location is the most affected area of the globe to the climate change extremes in the world on German watch’s Long-Term Climate Risk Index (1998-2017) which has witnessed more than152 extreme weather change events from 1999 to the current date. These extreme climatic events are heat waves, flashfloods, heat island, cyclones, landslides, avalanches, glaciers and snow melting, earthquakes, water shortage and multiple health hazards etc.

Every year our communities are due to natural calamities such as flood and earthquakes and leave billions worth losses in infrastructure, property, people in psychological trauma and the greatest loss of biodiversity. KPK is home to the world’s highest and most glaciated mountains of Himalaya, Karakorum and Hindu Kush and is the biggest hotspot to flood and earthquakes due to glaciers melting and proximity to fault line of these mountains.

Despite of the Pakistan’s climatic harshness and our vulnerability and the importance of forest and biodiversity as a natural buffer, deforestation is continued at the highest rate. In addition to; a heinous planning for separating the reserve forest from the National Parks of highest importance is the most greedy and stupid planning to make money by harming the habitats of biodiversity by cutting their food sources and developing the national parks in housing societies.

National Parks are the property and food source of biodiversity which are the genetic pools of the country and play an imperative role in pollination and productivity. Preservation of biodiversity and their habitats are critical for human health and economic well-being, aesthetic value and practical benefits from biological research and worldwide biological stability. Similarly, if National Parks are separated, it will violate the Endangered Species Act.

And do not incline towards those who do wrong, lest you be touched by the fire, and you would not have other than Allah any protector; then you would not be helped, AL-Quran (Sura e Hood, 113).

Now questions arising that; Why massive deforestation and interference in the National Parks of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa? Who is behind such mass destruction? Why Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Climate Change Ministry are silent?