ISLAMABAD (APP) President Asif Ali Zardari urged upon the environmentalists and civil society to make concerted efforts to protect existing forests and turn the country green by planting more trees to arrest the negative impacts of environmental degradation for a prosperous future. In a message on World Environment Day, he congratulated United Nations Environment Programme for adopting the right theme for the year 2011 i.e 'Forests Nature at your Service that underscores the intrinsic link between quality of life and the health of forests and forest ecosystems. The President said the World Environment Day is a wake-up call for the world community to realize that the land and water resources are under acute threat of degradation and badly impacting life of all living creatures including human beings. He said climate change is posing a major threat to the countrys economy and existence, and this is largely owed to carbon emissions in industrialized counties. He said undoubtedly forests are at the heart of possible solutions to all the environmental problems. Their functions to absorb atmospheric carbon make them lungs of the world and the key players in climate change mitigation, protection of land, water and wildlife resources. President Zardari said the depletion of forest wealth has drained the worlds wetlands, depleted fish stocks, and emitted enough heat-trapping gasses to keep the planet warming for a long time to come. The problem is even more acute in Pakistan which recently witnessed unprecedented floods that many believe is linked to climate change. He said the government is fully aware of the fallout of the challenge posed by forest depletion. Under Millennium Development goals (MDGs) it plans to increase forest cover from 5-6 percent by the year 2015. This will bring an additional one million hectares of land area under forest. The President said Pakistan has legitimate expectations from the newly developed mechanism of forest carbon trading whereby local people are compensated for their contributions to environment protection. He expressed satisfaction that the PPP government had actively participated in international negotiations on environmental issues and several programmes were underway to implement international agreements. Meanwhile, PM Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said the government attaches high priority to environment protection and has promulgated several laws, worked out policies and implemented programmes to achieve this objective. In a message on World Environment Day, the Prime Minister said Pakistan was blessed with numerous natural resources and eye-catching aesthetic landscapes. He mentioned that the countrys precious lands - from the snow-covered peaks to the beaches, provide livelihood and shelter to nation of 180 million. We are a growing economy with high dependence on natural resources for energy, agricultural, industry, transport and domestic sectors, he said. The Prime Minister said this economic development process was affecting the environment by degrading land, water and biological resources as ample safeguards had not been adopted. He said besides global environmental problems like global warming, glacier melting, droughts and floods, forest conservation has become one of the most serious challenges because it had become one of the most stressed sectors under the increasing demands for timber, fuel wood and other products. He said the world community had recognized immense importance of forests as a global environmental agenda four decades ago, but practical measures to protect and develop global forests were not up to the mark. The Prime Minister said the United Nations recognized this lapse and declared the year 2011 as International Year of Forests to invoke participation of all segments of the society in the noble task of forest protection and development.