PESHAWAR - Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Barrister Masood Kausar, has said that the ground realities with regard to depleting ratio of forests and their importance demand efficient role and contribution of every segment of the society to take it a challenge and cover each and every inch of the barren land of the province and FATA with greenery.

Addressing the 49th Convocation of the Pakistan Forest Institute on its premises on Wednesday, the Governor said, “I believe in the practical field work and it is always my earnest desire to join hands with the general public to promote forests; make tree plantation process a success story in true sense and I expect a vigorous response in this respect” 

In all 33 graduates who got M.Sc and B.Sc Forestry degrees, Kashif Sajjad clinched all the three top honours; the Secretary Environment Gold Medal, the Director General Gold Medal and the PFI Gold Medal for overall best performance; best being practical Forester and best Forest Manager for the session 2009-11 while for the session 2010-11; Syed Mazhar Hussain Shah got the Secretary Environment Gold Medal and Asghar Khan was honoured with Director Generals Gold and the silver medals for his extra ordinary achievements.

It merits to mention here that the institution has recently been devolved by the federal government to the province wherein it has been made a part and parcel of the provincial Environment Department. The Governor said that forests protect the upland watersheds against erosion and landslides and maintain ecological balance, production and ecotourism and the fact that only 5 per cent area of the country is under forest cover, is really a matter of grave concern. With this fact in mind, he added, the forest resources are extremely important for the nation due to their invaluable services, particularly sustaining water supply in the river systems of the country. The global warming and climate change are the greatest challenges of the modern era, posing serious threats to the survival of mankind on the earth as well, he said and therefore, conserving and enhancing carbon stocks in the forests is the most economical and viable option to overcome this problem.

Appreciating the devolution of the Ministry of Environment to the provinces under 18th Constitutional Amendment, the Governor hoped, it will indeed enable the provinces to devise more realistic and effective strategies to meet the confronting problems. In fact, the Governor said, it is a joint responsibility of the government, civil society, NGOs, farmers, students and public at large to plant, protect and promote trees in order to enhance the forest resources.

Congratulating the graduates, the Governor said that the PFI has imparted them with the latest knowledge and skills and expressed the hope that they would deliver their best in even odd field conditions to fulfill the expectations, which the nation has pinned with their success.

Earlier, Provincial Minister for Environment, Wajid Ali Khan, while highlighting the role and importance of the institute to help in discouraging deforestation and land erosion; protection of environment and improving climatic condition also stressed the graduates to act as the role model in the field.

Bukhari while presenting the annual report of the institution said that the institute since its establishment in 1947 has produced more than 2500 graduates of whom 120 were from different friendly countries. All the respective disciplines of forestry sectors; including wildlife, sericulture, social and eco-forestry as well as forest management are fully focused both from research and teaching point of view at the institute, he said.