FEDERAL Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi deserves a pat on the back for pointing attention towards the reckless felling of trees across the country. He revealed that Pakistan was losing forest cover at 0.2 to 0.5 percent annually. He also said that the rate was the worst in the world. This is alarming because forests form only 5 percent of the country's territory. The situation is quite serious made by several factors including poor performance of the environment department, excessive use of wood as a resource for energy generation mostly in NWFP, desertification, lack of awareness etc. However the biggest evil responsible for wanton deforestation is the timber mafia operating throughout the country, which various governments have done little to rein in. Though President Zardari on Friday launched a reforestation campaign, which is no doubt a positive development, environment department would have to do a lot more than planting saplings. What happens in most cases is that the trees once planted are left to their fate and fall prey to the timber mafia.