Pakistan’s forest cover has declined to 1.9 per cent: Navy chief


KARACHI: Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi on Wednesday said that according to Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations, in Pakistan, the percentage of the forest with respect to the land area has dropped from 3.3 per cent to 1.9 per cent in the last 25 years (1990-2015).

“Realising the severity of situation, federal and provincial governments have taken concrete steps to stop deforestation and increase plantation. In this regard a comprehensive campaign titled ‘Green Pakistan’ has been launched by the government,” he said in his message on the occasion of the launching of one million pine tree plantation campaign.

He said that the world is facing severe environmental challenges due to high deforestation rate. “I am confident that this pine tree plantation campaign along with mangrove and spring tree plantation campaigns being undertaken by Pakistan Navy would contribute towards the national efforts,” he said.

“Afforestation is vital for our socio-economic development and a sustainable ecosystem. For years, apart from the contributions toward food, fiber, livelihood, resources and water; trees have been instrumental in thwarting the adverse effects of climate change. The effects of climate change are alarming and its consequences are being felt in the shape of unpredictable weather conditions. There was a time in early 80’s that Margalla Hills would receive quite a sizable winter snowfall but this beauty is now a part of history primarily due to climate change and frequent fire incidents observed in Margalla Hills which rarely happened in past,” he added.

He said Pakistan Navy, being the immediate neighbor of Margalla Hills, felt the effects of this adverse weather and man-made calamities, the most. Thus, taking lead to ensure institutionalisation of necessary measures to mitigate such climatic effects, it is planned to plant one million plants in the Margalla Hills, in next three years in a phased campaign.

“I urge all my countrymen to join hands with Pakistan Navy in this noble cause and commit to planting at least one tree each, thus helping to provide a clean and better environment for our future generations. On this occasion let us commit to being saviors of the trees and environment which is a blessing of God,” he concluded.