Forest Resources and Their Exploitation
At the time of the establishment of Pakistan about 50 lakh acres area was covered with natural or artificial forests.It was about 2.6 % of the total area,which was insufficient for the country’s needs,because according to experts the area under the forests in a country should not be less than 20 to 25 % for a well balanced economy.In Pakistan only 4.5 % of the total area is under forests.
The Government has taken various steps to increase the areas under forests.Large areas have been reserved for afforrestation in Thal,Ghulam Mohammad Barrage and Gudu Barrage and it is likely to improve the future acreage of forrests to some extent.Besides this the forests department celebrates weeks for tree plantation in the months of spring and rainy seasons.During these works people are encouraged to plant more and more trees.
Kinds of Forests in Pakistan
1.Evergreen Coniferous Forests:
These forests are found in the Northern and Western hills such as Chitral,Swat,Dir,Abbotabad,Malakand,Kohistan,Mansehra district of N.W.F.P and Rawalpindi district of Punjab are the main areas covered with coniferous forests.
These forests remain evergreen throughout the year i.e.they do not shed their leaves at a time .The leaves of the trees are mostly of conical shape .In these areas these forests are found upto about 3000 ft.In Baluchistan,these forests are found at the height of 5000 ft.
Deodar,Kall,Spruce,Chir,Fir are important trees of these forests.In Baluchistan,two more important ,pencil juniper and chilgoza are also found.
The trees grown in these forests are of immense help to many industries.Deodar is the main source of limer and is used for building houses and railway sleepers.Fir is used to the making of hardboard.Chir is used in the match,rayon, and resin industry.
2.Baluchistan Hill Forests:
These forests are found in area of Quetta and Kalat divisions.
Due to poor rainfall,these forests are not dense .They are found in altitudes of 5000 to 10000 feet.
The main trees of these areas include chilgoza, pines, pencil, junipers and chestnuts.
These forests are found in the districts of Gujrat,Jhelum,Rawalpindi,Hazara,Mardan,Peshawar,Kohat and in some patches of the Baluchistan plateau.
These forests cover land rising upto an altitude of 3000 feet.The trees of these forests shed their leaves at a time when the amount of rainfall and temperature is insufficient in a particular season
The dominant trees of these forests are Phulai,Kao,Chestnut,Juniper,Walnut,Oak,Maple and Poplar.Olea and Chir occur occasionally at high elevations.
These forests are an important source of timber for the manufacture of furniture ,rifle butts,sports goods etc.
4.Riverian Or Bela Forests:
Narrow belts along the banks of River Indus and its large tributaries are occupied by the riverion forests commonly known as Bela Forests.
These forests are found near the banks of rivers where underground water is available in the flooded areas.They cover the active flood plains which are inundated almost annually.They are usually not very dense.
Babul,Shisham and Willow are the main varieties found in these forests.
The Shisham wood is mostly used for making high quality furniture.The wood of Babul provides firewood and is used for making agricultural implements.The Bark of Babul is used for tanning purposes.
In some areas of Punjab and Sindh,a few irrigated plantation units have been established .Changa Manga forest situated about 40 miles from Lahore is the largest of the irrigation forest plantation.Besides this Chichawatni in Sahiwal,Multan,Thal and in some parts of Ghulam Mohammad and Guddu barrages,artificial forests are being maitained.
In these forests,harwood species such as Shisham,Mulberry and Acasia trees are grown for commercial purposes.
6.Tidal Or Mangrove Forests:
These forests are mostly found in the Indus delta.Hub delta is also covered with these forests which extend to Runn of Kuch covering an area of about 750,000 acres.
The trees of these forests grow in awampy areas.Lack of fresh water results in shunned growt of trees and in the occurance of limited number of species .The normal height of trees is 10 feet while in better watered areas the trees rise to 20-25 feet.
Some valuable species are being experimented upon in these areas.Avicennta Officanilis,Ceriopa and Rhizo phoras are some of them.
A vital advantage of these forests in that they supply a large amount of firewood.The trees have mostly soft wood which is also used as fodder for animals.
These forests are found in the Indus valley scaltered far away from human settlements.
These are mostly shrub forests and the trees are not very tall.
The main species which are generally found in these forests are Jand,Neem,Karil,Farash and Bakain.
The wood of those trees is mostly used for fuel purposes or in the making of cheap furniture.
Importance and Uses of Forests
According to an agricultural export “A country can live without gold and silver,but not without forests,”The following is the importance of forests for us:
1.As there is a shortage pf power resources,the coal and oil found in our country is insufficient to meet our requirements.So a large population of our country living in rural areas uses wood as fuel and for other domestic purposes.
2.Besides timber ,wood is being used as fuel.The wood for making furniture and building material is also obtained from forests.
3.Forests supply the raw material and wood for various industries of our country,such as matches,paper,sports goods,resins,rayon,etc.
4.Forests keep the climate of the adjacent areas pleasant by getting the moisture through its roots from interior of the earth and spreading it through their branches and leaves.
5.The forests areas of our country serve as pasture,but for the cattle of farmers living near them,camels,sheep and goats get their food from them.
6.In mountainous areas forests help to preserve our agricultural land from the dangers of erosion.In plain areas forest or trees save the banks of canals and rivers from erosion.
7.The most important thing is that the forests provide oxygen gas for us and consume filthy carbon dioxide.
8.A large number of fruits that we use are provided from trees,or forests.
9.In forests a large number of animals take refuge,so forests provide hunting facilities for hunters and they get meat and skins from them.
10.Forests help the farmers in saving their crops from strong dual storms.