KARACHI (APP) - Sharmila Farooqi, Advisor to Chief Minster of Sindh, has expressed concern on deforestation and degradation of range-lands which is causing desertification in Tharparkar. Sharmila visited Nagarparkar with Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE) to observe deforestation process in Nagarparkar. This was stated in a statement of the Scope- a non- governmental organisation (NGO) issued here on Monday. It said that Karonjhar range in Nagarparkar is rich with Camiphora mukal (locally known as guglan) which yields a gum resin, gugral, which is used in medicine industry. Farooqi visited Adhigam village where a score of local men, women and children greeted her and called for saving trees and guglan. Later Sharmila Farooqi and Tanveer Arif of SCOPE said that Nagarparkar is an important ecosystem, where rare animal and plant species are found, which has a lot of significance. The Adviser said that traditional management of grazing lands (Gowchers) was a commendable traditional practice, which needs to be revived to combat desertification. She stated that in Tharparkar more than 400 plant species are found which are know as of high medicinal value such as 'birma booti which is proven as a cure for leukemia. Karonjhar hills are known as for many rare plant species, some of them are to be still classified. Such plants, she said, can be a possible cure for incurable diseases like cancer or AIDS. Farooqi said that some of these species found in Karonjhar are still to be classified botanical. She said the Nagarparkar area has a great potential for development of eco-tourism, which is nowadays is a flourishing business. The Adviser said local livelihoods depended on googlan gum extraction can be easily converted in ecotourism base income by poor locals, which will be a win win situation to eradicate poverty. She said that Pakistan has ratified environmental treaties on biodiversity, climate change and combating desertification, and it has international obligation to protect its natural resources, not only for global interest but for ensuring livelihoods of local people. Ms. Farooqi said that she is amazed that Nagarparkar has a lot of attractions such as rare wild and plant species, archaeological remains such as Bhodesar mosques and Jain temple (part of world heritage sites) and Run of Kuchch eco-region, and the area is already under wildlife sanctuary, which is unfortunately not managed properly and deforestation and illegal hunting of wildlife is harming this natural heritage. She said that she will recommend to the Chief Minister that the Nagarparkar area may be declared as national park, to escalate the conservation status of the area. Tanveer Arif Chief Executive Officer (SCOPE) described the activities of SCOPE in Tharparkar. He said that SCOPE is implementing a conservation project with the support of UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme. The main purpose of the project is to protect natural resources, grazing areas and forest resources in the fragile ecosystem of Karonjhar area. Tanveer said that desertification is threatening very livelihood base of the local people and it is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders to protect natural resources by restoring age old local self control over natural resources. He demanded that entire Nagarparkar Tehsil be immediately declared as National Park to protect rare fauna, flora and archaeological sites.