Pakistan in Dire Need of Increasing its Forest Cover
Rapid deforestation in Pakistan has led to many problems. Along with snowballing environmental pollution, prices of furniture items are continuously increasing because of the scarcity of wood in the country.
Forest area (% of land area) was 3.28% in 1990, which decreased to 2.74% in 2000 – registering a dip of 16% in forest area in five years.
In 2005, forest area of the country decreased to 2.47% and in 2010 it dropped to 2.19. Further dip was seen in the next five years and the forest area decreased to 1.91% in 2015.
According to Apnafurniture.pk CEO Shahzad Ali, furniture made of chipboard is becoming widely popular because not many people can afford furniture made of solid wood. “Rampant deforestation and continuously decreasing forest cover have led to insufficiency in supplies of wood for manufacturing high-quality furniture,” said Ali.
According to a report, 27,000 hectare of land is deforested every year in Pakistan and if the same situation prolongs, environmental pollution will increase.Trees store carbon and deforestation, on the other hand, contributes to climate change in an adverse manner.
In order to overcome the situation, Pakistan joined Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) –a global initiative that discourages deforestation and encourages reduction of carbon emissions that lead to global warming.The program offers modern techniques for monitoring forests and helps in their restoration. Although REIDD+ is a slow evolutionary process, it has been put in place in the country.
On the other hand, the Billion Tree Tsunami campaign led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan also gained popularity. Under this campaign, one billion trees were reportedly planted in a period of 2 years.
There is a dire need of initiating similar programs on national level in order to mitigate the effects of climate change and also increase Pakistan’s continuously depleting forest cover.
Forestation is also the need of the hour for strengthening the furniture industry, which has the capacity to bring billions of foreign income to the country.
“If green initiatives are not taken on a priority basis, the whole country will have to bear the brunt of rampant deforestation in the shape of increased furniture prices, decreased furniture exports and adverse effects on climate,” said Ali.
An interesting fact is that China has made it mandatory for graduating students to plant trees. If our education department also replicates the same idea in Pakistan, we can increase tree plantation at an impressive speed.