Deforestation in Pakistan and Climate Change

The country ‘Pakistan’, is a home for trees of rare species, such as Chilghoza (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Juniper (Middle and North Baluchistan) and Deodar (country’s national tree, Hindukush). The chopping of such trees for commercial, as well as, personal goods, results in destruction of forest. The process of shrinking forest is known as ‘Deforestation’.

Pakistan’s Coniferous Forests, reside in Northern areas, which includes, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northern Punjab and Northern and Middle of Baluchistan. The forest (especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) have been a home for villagers. Trees are used by villagers for heating during winter, cooking foods, Timber wood products, Livestock feeding and other uses. The electricity is supplied to six villages, out of eight. Due to high cost of electricity, villagers cannot afford and thus, woods are used for heating purpose. Furthermore, high cost of Kerosene gas cylinders cause people of forest to use woods from trees for cooking. Few people use woods to get enough money for survival. Either villagers use wood for survival or for commercial purpose. Moreover, illegal chopping of trees by dealers is supported by giving bribe to villagers, and lack of inspection of forest cutting by Forest department mismanagement. In fact, Forest department in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is organized as in Colonial era. Fodders for livestock are obtained by either bringing some leaves or woods for domesticated animals, or by taking them to forest for feeding.

Moreover, construction of roads and cities cause deforestation, due to urbanization. The population of cities of Pakistan is increasing due to immigration of people from rural environment (mostly for jobs). The resources are needed for increasing population and it is obtained through deforestation. Trees are replaced by crops for food production.

The report further states that the majority of villagers in Northern areas are poor, illiterate and lack of awareness. Even, most people in villages answered that there is little decrease in deforestation.

Between 1990 and 2000, the rate of deforestation is increased by 1.5% per year. Even replanting of trees cannot replenish the forest.

Deforestation causes loss of moisture in soil, loss of Biodiversity and lack of precipitation, since, agriculture in Pakistan needs lots of water from precipitation, economy of country decreases.

Climate change in Pakistan is not only due to deforestation, but also through carbon and heavy metals emission by vehicles. The resultant Climate change affects living of villagers which leads to urbanization and social conflict between groups of people.

Population of Mangroves in Pakistan’s coastal region is shrinking due to alteration in Climate, such as, high temperature, high quantity of Greenhouse gases and others.

In short, Forests balance Greenhouse gases in atmosphere, maintain soil moisture and increase in Biodiversity of Flora and Fauna. The biosphere includes animals, plants, microorganisms and their interaction with atmosphere, which is maintained by forest vegetation.


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About the author

Mohammad Irtaza Tafheem

Mohammad Irtaza Tafheem is a talented postgraduate student of Biosciences from SZABIST, Karachi and currently an Intern in Biology Decoded.