Dr Saeed Ahmed Ali
LAHORE, Jul 22 (APP):Rainforests are one of the main natural factors that regulate and maintain climate change impact, weather patterns including amount of CO2, in an area abundant with forest cover.
Forest experts believe that globally, a significant increase in mean-surface-temperature was a major consequence of rapid industrialization and urbanization, due to which deforestation was occurring at a rapid pace. Many parts of the world including Pakistan had witnessed rapid and unchecked cutting down of rainforest cover, which resulted in the worst disasters, during the past many decades. Noted forest expert Mirza Sarwat Baig told APP that massive deforestation could have a direct impact on the environment and the consequences of severity of climate change on agriculture, biodiversity and water would be manifold, if maximum area of land would not be brought under forest cover.Replying to a query Baig said that the rainforests of Pakistan reflect great edaphic, physiographic and climatic contrasts in the country.
He said, “We should give awareness to the masses that rainforests were essential for the conservation of biodiversity and water resource management.Expressing concern over fast deforestation, Mirza sarwat Baig said that the government should evolve a comprehensive strategy and a concise plan to control tree cutting which was the major reason for the environmental degradation.Noted environmentalist and forest expert Dr Mehmood Khalid Qamar said that fast deforestation in the country was causing climate hazards, adding rainforests decline was an existential threat that demands urgent and result oriented action.” “If all formations and communities start with concern, we can overcome tree cutting,”says Qamar.
He mentioned that tree cutting was the main cause of rising temperatures around the globe, which had a direct impact on melting of glaciers, rise in sea-level, frequent floods, increase in mean-surface-temperatures and a higher frequency of droughts and expanding desertification. The climate change-related disasters, particularly riverine and flash floods, were causing billion dollars of losses annually in economic damages, most of them related to clean drinking water, irrigation, education, public health, energy and public infrastructure sectors, he said. Meanwhile, it may be mentioned here that United Nations Messenger of Peace Jane Goodall Inst has recently introduced a new global effort uniting people of all faiths to end tropical deforestation (of rainforests), around the globe. It is pertinent to mention here that UN has initiated a declaration move namely ‘Faiths for Forests,’ which is a global ‘ invitation to all faith-based organizations, networks and places of worship, round the world to take the practical steps in the movement to end destruction of the planet’s rainforests and join advocate for climate justice. ‘We begin from a place of profound concern for the state of the world’s rainforests, which are a sacred trust, an irreplaceable gift and essential to life on Earth,” said a document of the UN Declaration on rainforests.
“We commit to raise awareness about the deforestation crisis within our communities, places of worship and congregations as an expression of our care for the Earth and to advance religious teaching and education that reflects a moral commitment to protect rainforests. We will make ending deforestation a high spiritual calling,” it said. The National Environment Information System (NEIMS) in its report had revealed that the natural forest cover of Pakistan had reduced from 3.59 million hectares to 3.32m hectares at an average rate of 27,000 hectares annually.It may be mentioned here that NEIMS is a project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for Pakistan to study and research on the environment, eco-degradation and its impact, biodiversity in plains, forests, mountains, threatened flora, fauna and various animal species.
The report highlighted that only 4.72m hectares or 3.36 per cent of its land mass was covered with forests, as there had been a declining forestation trend since 2000.Forests are home of around 70 to 90 terrestrial species which are found there having widespread economic and medicinal uses, in which most benefits are still unknown to mankind, it said.
The natural resources were decreasing at such an alarming speed that all the forest area would be consumed within the next five years, the report observed.“The roots of trees hold soil in place and the fertile soil that was needed to grow crops would otherwise be washed away in rainstorms, decreasing the amount of soil available for agriculture. Rich soil transfers nutrients to food which contributes to human health,” the report said. According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report, human developmental projects and deforestation activity was responsible for the unsustainable calamities around the globe.