It goes without saying that forests play an important role in the environment and the economy of the country. At present, only 4.5 percent of the total area is forested while it should be at least 20 percent to put the economy of the country and environment on stable foundations. Apart from providing timber, firewood, fodder, wildlife, seed resins, recreation etc, forests also produce oxygen and use carbon dioxide. Both locally and globally, forests play an important role.
They contribute significantly to oxygen generation and carbon dioxide storage. Therefore, they are known as the lungs of the nature.
The earth’s forests act as earth’s air purifier, soaking up the large amount of carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere. Forests cover almost 31 percent of the earth’s surface and are the part of the global sustainable process. More than 1.6 billion people depend on forests to survive and 300 million of them live in the middle of such ecosystem. By absorbing 2.4 billion tons of carbon in one year, trees and plantation help to slow the global warming process.
When they are destroyed through logging or burning of fuels, carbon is released into atmosphere as the climate changing green house gas, carbon dioxide. Forests all over the world are vanishing at an alarming rate. As the green lungs of mother earth, they are vital to our health and survival .
Year 2011 was proclaimed by the United Nation as ‘International Year of the Forests’. Its aim was to promote awareness and knowledge about conservation and sustainable development of all the types of forests for the benefit of the present and future generation. For us, the international year of forests is a great opportunity to increase awareness in our country, particularly in the northern areas where felling of the trees by the locals and traders and finally by the Timber mafia is denuding the area of its natural beauty and aura. The public needs to know how important the health of forests is for human life and biodiversity.
ZAINAB AFANDI,
Haripur, January 1.