LAHORE -  Forests are equally important for the economic safety of the country as round wood production, wood processing and the pulp and paper industries account for nearly 1 per cent of global gross domestic product. Non-monetary benefits from forests, such as water, energy, shelter and medicine, are estimated to be two to three times as great. Forested catchments supply three quarters of freshwater, which is essential for agriculture, industry, energy supply and domestic use.
This was the upshot of speeches delivered at a seminar “ Public Private Partnership in Promotion of Forestry in Pakistan” jointly organized by the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, government of Punjab, Greengrowth and British Council. Provincial Secretary Forests Javed Akbar Bhatti was the chief guest while the seminar was presided over by the LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar. Deputy Secretary Forests Shahid Rashid also spoke on the occasion.
Secretary Forests Javed Akbar Bhatti urged the private sector to play their role for the promotion of forestry in the country. “We have terribly failed to recognize that forestry is an integral feature of sustainable economic development. It could not capture policy attention for generating new economic opportunities. Resultantly, the economic and social potential of forestry has remained underexploited.”
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI Vice President Kashif Anwar said that unfortunately it is one of the most neglected area of present time but it is a matter of satisfaction that public and private sectors are making joint efforts to protect forests and plant trees.  “We have terribly failed to recognize that forestry is an integral feature of sustainable economic development. It could not capture policy attention for generating new economic opportunities. Resultantly, the economic and social potential of forestry has remained underexploited.
He said that by developing forestry as a commercially viable sector, the country can make the agriculture sector stable and valuable for economy.  He said that considering the available facts and figures, the potential for new investment in forestry is very much significant. Currently, local industry such as paper and furniture is experiencing serious supply-shocks which are not only impeding their further growth and but also slashing their international competitiveness. 
The LCCI Vice President said that timely policy-response, investment and coordinated efforts from the key stakeholders are required to improve the situation.
He proposed that government should adopt a comprehensive forest development strategy to address the production and conservation needs in close consultation with the private sector and scientific community while paying full attention to environmental, water table and social displacement considerations.