Deforestation in Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan is increasing day by day and the forest department is in deep sleep and the forest minster is himself a timber contractor. The people of the region are unaware of the impact of deforestation. This article will try to highlight some of the main impacts of deforestation on Gilgit-Baltistan and wider on Pakistan and the world.
Deforestation means large scale cutting of forests. The forest lands are converted in to farms, ranches and urban areas through deforestation. Another cause behind deforestation is the cutting of trees for timber and fuel. Deforestation has also been used in war situations to deprive an enemy of cover for its forces and other vital resources. It essentially leads to extinction of vital things and destroys the ecological balance of nature. Thus causing:-
• The roots of the trees hold the soil firmly keeping it intact. With large scale deforestation soil erosion and landslides have become a normal phenomenon. During heavy rains and typhoons soil is washed away to lower regions. This increases the risk for landslides which can cause seriously threaten the safety of the people and damage their properties.
• Destruction of the forests leads to a tragic loss of biodiversity. Millions of plants and animal species are on the verge of extinction due to deforestation. Countries with tropical forests suffer the greatest causalities due to deforestation.
• Many wild animals have started relocating to urban areas as a result of massive deforestation. There have been many cases of various wild animals like snakes, bats etc causing accidents in urban areas. Many times wild animals get killed in an effort to capture them. There have been instances of carnivorous predators like lions, tigers and wolfs preying on humans in villages surrounded by forests.
• The trees absorb the harmful carbon dioxide and release the life sustaining oxygen, thus acting as natural friends of humans. Deforestation increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leading to global warming due to greenhouse effect.
• Deforestation causes large scale deposition of sediments in the rivers. This leads to collection of sediments in the dams, thus reducing their lifespan.
• Trees absorb water in large quantities during heavy rains. But due to large scale deforestation there are very less tress to retain water. This again leads to heavy floods causing heavy loss of life and property.
• Deforestation is one of the causes behind the conversion of many fertile tracts of land to deserts. This phenomenon is known as desertification. When mountain forest faces desertion, watersheds are degraded and this leads to the loss of sustained water supplies for lowland communities.
• Due to massive deforestation, the average temperature of the earth has risen in the last century. If this phenomenon continues then the increased temperatures would lead to melting of glaciers. This would lead to a massive rise in the sea levels leading to submersion of coastal areas.
Keeping these dire consequences in mind, an honest effort should be made by the human civilization to conserve forests.
Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the extent of damage humans have caused, and we are not sure if an individual can make any impact. Yes you can, there are millions of people just like you, who are learning about the issue and taking little steps to help. Additionally, many governments, organizations and societies are making great strides in helping reducing deforestation, and encouraging forest plantations. But there is still a lot to do. Due to the extent and nature of forest destruction, efforts to stop deforestation and preserve them are best achieved at government and organization levels. This means that laws, rules and regulations from countries can help to enforce the preservation of forests. Laws on farming, timber and wood, as well as land use must be encouraged and enforced.
If we’re going to stop deforestation, we need government to do its part. Specifically, we need world leaders to embrace ambitious domestic and international forest policies based on the latest science.
Make a conscious effort to share information with others (friends at school and family members) on deforestation and its’ effects. Some of your friends may laugh at you and say it is silly to think that you can solve problems like this. But that is OK, things work better when responsible people don’t give up. Stand up for what you believe in.
Join organizations, forest-preservation societies and pressure groups that aim to help preserve the rest of our natural resources. When more people work together, the impact is greater.
Reduce the use of artificial items, recycle more and re-use items. Wood, paper, plastics and many other things we use every day at home can be linked to natural resources being destroyed. This means that if we all recycle more, there will be less dependence on the environment (and trees). It also means that companies and governments will import less raw-materials from the forest regions of the world.