How Serious Is Forest Depletion In Pakistan Environmental Sciences Essay

Pakistan has approximately 4.2 million hour angle covered by woods, which is tantamount to 4.8 per centum of the entire land country ( Government of Pakistan 2003 ) , which is really low when compared with 30 per centum for the universe ( FAO 2001 ) . Entire forests country of different states and districts of Pakistan viz. Sindh, Baluchistan, Punjab, North West Frontier Province ( NWFP ) , Azad Kashmir and Northern countries is 0.92, 0.33, 0.69, 1.21, 0.42, and 0.66 million hour angle severally ( Government of Pakistan 2003 ) . This shows that most of the forest distribution is in northern portion of the state ( 40 per centum of state ‘s entire woods are in NWFP, 15.7 per centum in Northern Areas and 6.5 per centum in Azad Kashmir ) . There is a great assortment of species because of the state ‘s great physiographic and climatic contrasts. The woods of the state are of assorted types such as ( a ) litoral and swamp woods, ( B ) tropical dry deciduous woods, ( degree Celsius ) tropical thorn woods, ( vitamin D ) sub-tropical broadleaf evergreen woods, ( vitamin E ) sub-tropical pine woods, ( degree Fahrenheit ) Himalayan moist temperate woods, ( g ) Himalayan dry temperate woods, ( H ) sub-alpine woods and ( I ) alpine chaparral. The predominating species are of cone-bearing type ( Ahmed and Mahmood, 1998 ; Qazi 1994 ; Poffenberger 2000 ; Suleri 2002 ) .

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Forest depletion is one of the most serious environmental issues for Pakistan. Harmonizing to an estimation 39 thousand hectares of woods are disappearing yearly. Between the old ages 1990 and 2000, the deforestation rate in Pakistan was 1.5 % yearly ( FAO, 2005 ) .

Harmonizing to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, some South and Southeast Asiatic states, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka are losing woods at rates transcending 1.4 per centum per twelvemonth. These are among the highest rates of forest loss in the universe. Within South Asia, the rate of forest depletion is highest in Pakistan, despite intensive support from international giver bureaus and legion planetary and local enterprises for forest preservation, policy preparation, and improved administration. ( Rashid, S. 1993 ) .

Timber is a cherished trade good in Pakistan, with monetary values presently twice the universe norm, a map of both deficits in domestic supply and import responsibilities. Therefore, both bets and net incomes are high. Despite assorted steps and policy recommendations to minimise the negative influence of powerful local elites, they continue to be active participants in logging and other commercial activities. ( Shahbaz B, Suleri AQ. 2009 )

The forest shrinking in Pakistan is non merely merely because of the direct causes but besides intercession of other authorities sections for the land of forest section for their intents ; for new lodging strategies and allocation of the land to the workers, for route and railroad and other development undertakings in the state throughout the history.

The forest sections maintain an antique forestry statute law and disposal, which presents many loopholes which can be exploited by influential persons – the “ lumber Mafia ” – who are depriving lumber from the few staying natural woods. ( Shahbaz B, Suleri AQ. 2009 )

Politicians, contractors and administrative officials tend to organize informal webs that give them unsusceptibility from forest Torahs and a free manus to set about forest operations at their ain discretion. To add fuel to the fire, some unscrupulous elements of the Forest Department have facilitated contractors for hard currency inducements – such as payoffs to the local FD staff for every three-dimensional pes of lumber ( Rashid, 1993 ) .

The political economic system of the forestry sector has besides become really clear. In the hierarchy of influence, politicians and the “ lumber Mafia ” collude to derive entree to lucrative contracts and grants and therefore exert the most influence on wood policy and determinations ( Shahbaz B, Suleri AQ. 2009 ) . The general absence of political will has encouraged the runners and Mafia to spread out their illegal activities in the lumber trade. ( Rashid, S. 1993 ) This survey intends to concentrate attending on this of import factor behind forest screen shrinking in Pakistan i.e. , the function of province sections and lumber Mafia.


Pakistan is a state with low forest screen ; there are merely 0.03 hour angle of forest per capita compared to the universe norm of one hour angle. With the population turning at 2.6 per centum yearly, the forest country per capita is worsening. The country of public woods can non be expanded and trees grown on private land lend well to the state ‘s wood production ; this will increase in the hereafter. During 2000/01, Pakistan imported mush and paper merchandises deserving Rs.7 646 million and exhausted Rs.915 million on wood and lumber imports. Pakistan yearly exports athleticss and furniture goods deserving Rs.2 to 3 billion. ( National Forest Policy Review )

Harmonizing to statistics issued in 2006 by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, forests cover about 4.22 million hectares in Pakistan, merely 4.8 per centum of the entire land country. However, there is considerable contention over the precise forest country in Pakistan, as different national and international bureaus have published statistics based on different definitions of what comprises a wood. Areas designated as “ forest countries ” are simply lands under the administrative control of the provincial wood section. Thus, officially designated woods may be devoid of trees while considerable tree screen may be found in countries Other than the designated woods. ( Shahbaz B, Suleri AQ. 2009 )

After divider of the Indian sub-continent in 1947 the new province of Pakistan was left with a really little forest gift of approximately 7 % 1 of its entire land country. This little forest resource base was even further reduced to less than 5 % after the separation of East-Pakistan in 1972. ( INRMP )

The forestry sector contributes merely 0.3 per centum to the GNP. This excludes the indirect benefits that forests provide. Annual wood production is 3.5 million M3, which satisfies the domestic demand for industrial wood. Forest and related little industries provide employment for more than 500 000 people. Forests and rangelands provide eatage to 90 million caput of farm animal. Forests play a critical function in protecting the water partings of Tarbela and Mangla reservoirs, which are really of import for hydropower coevals and for providing H2O to extensive irrigation webs in the fields of Punjab and Sindh states. Annual harm ensuing from inundations, dirt eroding and siltation of reservoirs is estimated at Rs2.3 billion. ( National Forest Policy Review )

Deforestation is one of the most important planetary environmental jobs. Forms of forest debasement are peculiarly seeable in many parts of Asia and Africa. Harmonizing to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, some South and Southeast Asiatic states, including Cambodia, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka are losing woods at rates transcending 1.4 per centum per twelvemonth. These are among the highest rates of forest loss in the universe. Within South Asia, the rate of forest depletion is highest in Pakistan, despite intensive support from international giver bureaus and legion planetary and local enterprises for forest preservation, policy preparation, and improved administration.

Deforestation ever brings negative effects. In September 1992, Pakistan experienced the worst inundations in the state ‘s history, and the vanished woods in the northern water partings were regarded as one of the chief possible causes. Therefore, the federal authorities imposed a complete prohibition on logging in 1993. But the prohibition did non take into history the state ‘s ain lumber demands, and the prohibition non merely triggered illegal logging at that place, but besides led to smuggling of lumber from Afghanistan into Pakistan, doing extended deforestation in Afghanistan. On October 8, 2005, Pakistan suffered its worst catastrophe in history, when an temblor of 7.6 on the Richter graduated table struck South Asia, doing tremendous devastation in the cragged countries of northwest Pakistan. Massive landslides caused farther loss to the part ‘s dwellers. The landslides occurred largely in the bald hills, whereas topographic points with good wood screen suffered less devastation. ( Shahbaz B, Suleri AQ. 2009 )

Many accounts sing deforestation in the cragged parts of the subcontinent are offered. Most current among these is the Theory of Himalayan Environmental Degradation [ THED ] . The THED ascribes deteriorating environmental conditions of the Himalaya part to the increasing population force per unit area in the delicate mountain ecological environment. The 2nd statement addresses the wider socioeconomic processes-especially urbanisation of the lowland countries and the corresponding addition in the demand for lumber. This besides includes developmental activities and substructure enlargement in the cragged areas-particularly opening up of antecedently unaccessible woods due to building of roads. Alternatively, another strand of research underscores the political economic system attack to resource debasement. For illustration, research has looked into the rent seeking activities of the communities shacking in/around the woods as a beginning of deforestation25. Failure of the authorities to set up a proper institutional set-up for forest direction has besides been blamed as the cause of forest diminution. ( L. Hassan )

The unhallowed confederation between private wood contractors and forest functionaries taking to illegal logging activities has besides been quoted as one of import ground for forest diminution. ( Knudsen. 1996 )

The demands from forest proprietors, right- and non-right holders for lumber, fire-wood, graze and other non-timber wood green goods for subsistence increased significantly with rapid growing in human population, farm animal and alterations in life manners. Often local demands went beyond legal rights offered by assorted legal classs of the woods and several de facto demands were added, many of them pursued by illegal agencies. The of all time shriveling forest base particularly in the countries where such demands had out-grown disproportionately to the forest resource, created instabilities between sustainable supplies and existent demands for subsistence, income addendums to the local hapless and illegal commercial development by the “ lumber Mafia ” . ( INRMP )

Harmonizing to Geiser ( 2000 ) ,

“ in pattern, forest resources are made unaccessible for the hapless and marginalized subdivisions of the communities, whereas the influential along with members of the timber Mafia consumed these resources at their ain Sweet will. ”


As figures above show that Pakistan is among those states that have really high deforestation rates. Forests in Pakistan are really diverse in nature and of important importance for the state ‘s economic system and supports. Multitudes of people who live in or around these woods depend for their nutrient, shelter, fuel and other such demands on the woods resources partly or entirely and same is the ground incrimination for development and debasement of woods is put on them. A few others take hapless and unsustainable direction of the woods, deficiency of jurisprudence enforcement, hapless institutional capacity of authorities sections, hapless life conditions and deficiency of installations for locals, unplanned development and other such grounds as possible grounds for the forest debasement in the state. There are besides commercial involvements to function supplies to the lumber market and to fulfill Government grosss from forestry. Alongside there exists a big scale illegal commercial development of woods by the alleged “ lumber Mafia. In this paper I have tried to foreground the function of “ Timber Mafia ” in forest development and debasement far beyond the sustainable degree.

The complete development of woods is a consequence of utilizing the woods for economic intents and non due to the subsistence patterns of the locals. The economic utilizations when knew no bounds were halted by the authorities policies to restrict the forest development above the sustainable degrees. This prompted the illegal film editing and coming of the Timber Mafia. The term “ Timber Mafia ” encompasses the contractors, persons, organisations and even the corrupt authorities establishments who somehow or other by their strong lobbying and graft cut the woods even from the countries where lumber harvest home is non allowed.

( INRMP ) defines timber Mafia as

The term “ timber Mafia ” is a conversational term used throughout NWFP to measure up a group of people engaged in illegal lumber reaping for commercial intents. This group, in assorted configurations, include local lumber runners, Guzara proprietors, former harvest home contractors, local timber-traders, sawmill proprietors, and – at times – forestry staff and local politicians.

The lumber Mafia non merely uses such agencies but besides through buttonholing affects the forest policies that would in turn safeguard their involvements as good. In confederation with the Forest Departments they use the loopholes of the forest policies. Furthermore Law enforcement for wood protection is weak and punishments devised by assorted legal instruments such as the Pakistan Forest Act ( 1927 ) , the Hazara Forest Act ( 1936 ) , provincial wildlife regulations and related Acts of the Apostless are uneffective.

In add-on to this, none of the past wood policies identified unsustainable commercial lumber reaping and forest depletion by the powerful “ lumber Mafia ” supported by politicians and vested involvements as jobs.

With the turning scarceness of lumber in the wider market in Pakistan, lumber monetary values increased quickly and illegal harvest home created an extra load on the woods in NWFP. There were besides such policies like Timber reaping prohibition in NWFP which was an of import policy determination by the authorities with effects for the full forestry sector in the state but it besides gave a roar to the Timber Smugglers who when saw that there is no room for run intoing their demands, they shifted their attending to already war wreck Afghanistan so burden on the woods of was shifted from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

Another of import factor in illegal commercial harvest home by lumber Mafia are the wages of forest staff, particularly the field staff in lower ranks. Their wages are so light despite the fact that they were keepers of immense forest wealth. Gangs of illegal lumber bargainers have been so influential, good equipped, nomadic and ready to take hazard of damaging, harming, pain, and even slaying the forest staff, who offer opposition and create barriers and limitations in their manner. By and large, the field staff does non acquire the needed degree of support from the Government in commanding or groking the ill-famed wood wrongdoers. Neither the forest offense instances are adjudicated quickly, nor the penalties awarded by the tribunals are appropriate to their magnitude and earnestness. Furthermore, non merely does the mechanism of monitoring, detection, and describing little forest offenses lack answerability but it besides remains weak in the mechanism employed for big graduated table felling. These are the conditions that affect the morale, professionalism, transparence and efficiency of the forest staff.

In weaving up and reasoning the treatment I make note of the failings of our policies and establishments to turn to the Timber Mafia in existent sense in its policies and statute laws. My analysis besides allows me to province that the singular difference in the supply and demand of the lumber in the state should be addressed earnestly. My first observation is on the issue of utilizing the woods for economic intents by the strong and influential in the state who on one manus are involved in policy preparation and on the other they are found to be in complete confederation with the runners who with their cooperation non merely excel the statute laws but besides use the loopholes in the wood policies for their intents. It is besides noteworthy that in the name of the protected woods and other such types locals who used to be keepers of the woods themselves ( as they were determiners of their better supports ) were marginalized and woods were declared reserved and protected and so on so it was a kind of free manus to the runners, lumber Mafia and corrupt politicians who are working the woods to their will. Forests are leased out and given on contract that so called “ Conservation Policies ” allow the authorities sections to make so. It has changed the position of the woods from Vital Component of Nature to mere “ Revenue Generators ” . Revenue coevals belongings of the lumber has outperformed the other of import maps and belongingss of the woods in Pakistan. Furthermore, though the measure limitations had been imposed on the wood remotion by the community, the province itself was involved in inordinate lumber reaping for the building of camps and railroads and province itself is involved in marginalising and coming into direct struggle with the local communities by striping locals of their due royalties and portion on forest resources. The general absence of political will has encouraged the runners and Mafia to spread out their illegal activities in the lumber trade. Local people, if given sufficient powers and province support, can efficaciously battle illegal logging, but a sense of ownership is critical. Better, safe and sustainable direction of forest resources can besides be achieved by beef uping of the administrative and protective capablenesss of Provincial Forest Department and by supplying weaponries, wireless sets and operational vehicles and besides by apportioning magisterial powers on Forest Officers to take prompt awareness of forest offenses.