Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has said that with the government following a multi-pronged strategy for food, energy, water and environmental securities, forests, undoubtedly, occupy a pivotal position in economy and ecology.Social, cultural and heritage values of forests have their own significance, he said in a message on the launching of Spring Tree Planting Campaign 2010.The Prime Minister appealed and impress upon every Pakistani citizen, especially the farming communities, and elected members to actively participate in the Spring Tree Planting Campaign ensuring the aftercare and protection of the saplings for better economic development of Pakistan. Let us make Pakistan green, he said and mentioned that forest area in Pakistan is hardly five percent of the total land mass which is far below the internationally recommended standard. To increase the forest cover, large scale planting on marginal lands and farmlands is the only option. Therefore, the government launches tree planting campaign twice a year in the spring as well as in the monsoon to increase forest area in Pakistan, he added. The Prime Minister said forest resources in Pakistan comprising 4.2 million hectares are inadequate to meet the growing demands of timber, firewood and other non-wood products. In the current perspective of growing energy crises, fuel wood production on farmland can serve as a renewable source of energy, providing sustainable livelihood for tree farmers as well, he added. The Prime Minister said in view of the immense importance of forests, national laws and policies have special focus on this sector. Today for any development project Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and particularly impact on forests is an integral component of the projects to meet EIA standards is a prerequisite, he added. The Prime Minister said depletion of natural forests calls for well planned and concerted efforts to manage forests and related ecosystems on a sustainable basis. Efforts are needed not only to rehabilitate the degraded forests and transform them to dense forests but also harness the vast potential by extending tree cover on our farmlands that at present meet more than 90% of household fuel wood requirements in the country, he added. For this, the Prime Minister said, the participation of farming communities through a comprehensive national farm/agro forestry programme has become necessary to realize sustainable economic benefits, alleviate poverty and ensure environmental stability in the country. He acknowledged that main constraints in developing forest resources are water shortage and lack of funds, adding, to overcome these constraints, we have to develop non-traditional and innovative ways. The Prime Minister said Forest Departments should promote native and drought resistant trees besides introducing new irrigation techniques. Apart from financial assistance being provided under PSDP, there is a need to explore other sources of funding as well, he added. The Prime Minister said Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is emerging as a potential source of income for tree growers for their service to sequester carbon, adding, the Ministry of Environment, as the focal point for CDM, is extending technical assistance to tree farmers getting them into carbon trading under CDM.