Shrinking forests – 03 May 2023

According to a report by WWF, the forest cover of Sindh has decreased by over 50% in the last four decades

Sindh is renowned for its coastal splendour, rich cultural heritage and expansive plains. However, the province’s natural resources — forests in particular — are under a constant threat. The once extensive and dense forests of Sindh are rapidly declining at an alarming rate, warranting urgent attention.

According to a report by WWF, the forest cover of Sindh has decreased by over 50% in the last four decades. This trend is worrisome, especially because forests play a crucial role in sustaining the environment, regulating the climate and supporting biodiversity. The loss of forests in Sindh has occurred mainly due to human activities such as deforestation, encroachment and overgrazing. The clearing of forests for agricultural land, urbanization and infrastructure development has left little space for natural forests to grow organically. This has resulted in soil erosion, reduced water retention and loss of wildlife habitats. The impacts of this are not just limited to the environment but also to the economy and livelihoods of local communities. Forests provide a range of ecosystem services, including timber, fuelwood and other essential raw materials that help sustain the rural economy and support livelihoods. The depletion of forests in Sindh, therefore, puts the well-being of communities and individuals at grave risk.

The government of Sindh needs to take immediate action to address this issue. This will require a comprehensive approach that includes strong policies, regulations and monitoring mechanisms to curb deforestation, promote reforestation and encourage sustainable forest management practices. The government must also engage local communities in forest conservation efforts and provide alternative livelihood options. This will help reduce the pressure on forests and promote their conservation in the long run. It is also crucial to raise public awareness about the importance of forests and the threats they face. Education campaigns can help increase public understanding of the need to conserve forests and encourage public participation in conservation efforts.

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