KARACHI - Federal Forest Inspector General Dr Syed Nasir Mahmood said that about 6 to 10 degree centigrade temperature can be reduced in Karachi by planting trees following the international concept of urban forestry.

He expressed these views at the 45th public awareness seminar on “Recent Advances in Ecosystem Development” held at the Professor Salimuzzaman Siddiqui Auditorium, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi. Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi and Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP) jointly organised the seminar.

Dr Mahmood said that there is dire need to promote vertical or roof gardening in the megalopolis, where 80 percent of land is covered with concrete, he said, adding that deforestation and degradation of forest have become the real threat for the ecosystem of Pakistan. He added that internationally, deforestation and forest degradation impact the lives of millions of people whose livelihoods depend on forests. Earlier, in his speech, Director ICCBS Professor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Chaudhary welcomed Dr Mahmood to the international centre.

The federal inspector general said that like other parts of the country Karachi was also being provided vegetables which are cultivated from unhygienic water of gutters and sewers. In the city, every building or house need to have its own vegetable garden for small-scale production of fresh food, he maintained.

Talking about Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation Plus (REDD+), he said that the REDD was new paradigm and new hope to alleviate global emissions and mitigating the drivers of deforestations.

Forests have a critical role to mitigate climate change, he said, adding that jungles work as a carbon sink. Deforestation weakens this foremost carbon sink function, he said, and pointed out that it is estimated that 15 to 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation.

The forestry sector is facing great destruction worldwide despite the fact this sector contributes greatly to national development goals, and provides more than 8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in some developing countries, he said.

He added that demographic factors including population growth, density, distribution, migration, and urbanisation are important drivers of deforestation. He pointed out that fire in the forest was one of the foremost factors of deforestation.

He said that Pakistan’s total forest area was at 3.57 percent back in 1990, while it was 3.44 in 2004, which show an alarming situation. He said that Pakistan needs to fight against the adverse and unpleasant impacts of climate change by promoting forest culture in the country.