Breathing is vital for a person to be called as living. For the purpose of proper functioning of lungs is necessary for a body. Similarly the lungs of mother nature are the living forests the body of earth. About one third (1/3) of earth is covered by forests. Which are providing provisioning services ( food, fiber, fuel, genetic resource, biochemical, and fresh water), regulating services (invasion resistance, survival for herbivores, pollination, seed dispersal, climate regulation, pest regulation, disease regulation, natural hazard protection, erosion regulation, water purification etc.), supporting services (primary production, provision of habitat, nutrient cycling, soil formation and retention, production of atmospheric oxygen, water cycling), and cultural Services (spiritual and religious value, knowledge system, education, recreation and aesthetic value). Thus forest health is vital for human well being.
The notion forest serves as lungs of the mother nature, which is facing continuous pattern of clearing all over the globe, with varying degree of degradation. By categorizing countries on the basis of their contribution to deforestation so, Nigeria ranks at top of the list till 2005, but results changed as now on annual basis Brazil losses largest area of forest cover. Almost 60% of the deforestation has occurred in Latin America, Canada and the United States in North America, Indonesia and China in Asia, Russia in Europe and the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa.
The root cause to all issues is rapid increase in population that has raised the demand for forest products. As a result vast areas of forest cleared for food cropland, rubber cropland production, industry, infrastructure and social forestry.
The most direct causes of deforestation include, for most conversion of forest land into agriculture area, about 60% of the tropical deforestation is due to this conversion. Fuel wood collection and grazing seems to be the major reason of deforestation in drier regions of tropics. In addition fires to clear forests for agriculture, mining, logging, urbanization leading to infrastructure development, air pollution, climate change, wars and military action and tourism are the leading direct causes of deforestation as a whole.
There are other causes which indirectly leading to deforestation are poverty, over population, burden of debt, colonization, industrialized countries exploitation, land tenure system, inequitable resource distribution, development and markets, and under valuing the forest values ate some of the underlying causes of deforestation.
Deforestation is now getting its due importance, as the generation is realizing the environmental and economic value of biodiversity loss; dependent upon forests for their food, shelter and survival. Deforestation contributes to fluctuations in watershed. Deforestation is leading cause to expose land to soil erosion, and infertile land bare land. Another major consequence of deforestation is of climate change, the alarming rates of deforestation has reduced carbon stock, in turn release of gases contributing to green house effect, leading to global warming.
Thus in face of crucial significance of forest many management efforts has been taken, and on way to maximize the forest cover. Sustainable forest management is required to ensure future availability of resource.
Apart from other countries Pakistan has lost vast areas of forests in northern areas, parts of Baluchistan and Punjab provinces and major causes include increased demand of land required for rapidly increasing population, increased wood and paper demand, improper or lack of management and planning regarding population growth, all these factors are a major threat and their result is extremity in climatic conditions, natural disasters are also directly and indirectly increasing due to deforestation, loss of habitat for wildlife, increased encounters of wild animals with sub urban population, decrease in oxygen leading to increasing in more carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide concentration in the environment leading to increase cases of lung diseases in humans especially children. So our overall live is directly associated with the forests.
Written By: Sadaf Aslam Ghori