This post is about the economic significance of the forests, e.g. conifers, alpine trees, riverain plants, mangroves, etc. that are abundantly found in Pakistan.
The man simply cannot live without forests. They have enormous economic value. They play an important role from providing us oxygen to acting as the main source of timber. Moreover, they make our life easy through their use in construction work and as the major source of raw material for industries.
Environmentalists are of the view that a country should have at least 25% of its land covered with forests. In Pakistan, only 5% of the total land contains forest coverage, much lower than the expected measure.
What is the economic significance of forests found in Pakistan?
The following is a brief but succinct description of the importance of forests found in Pakistan.
1. Use as firewood
The use of forests as a source of firewood goes back to time immemorial. The rural areas exp. the mountainous areas of Pakistan e.g. Gilgit-Baltistan, Tribal region, Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Chitral, etc. do not have access to natural gas. People in these areas use any type of forests they have as firewood.
Similarly, the communities living along coastal areas make use of mangroves and those in mountainous areas use alpine and other forests as fuelwood. People also plant trees esp. for firewood and maintain them in such a way that they help them meet fuel needs along with serving many other requirements of life.
2. An important source of timber
Furniture is an important part of our life. At our homes, offices, and public places furniture can be witnessed. Many forests are an important source of timber. For example, coniferous trees are used for making offices, homes, and other types of furniture, bridges, boxes, etc. Similarly, Shisham and Babul, two important examples of Riverain forests are also used for making furniture, agricultural and domestic implements.
3. Environmental protection
Another important significance of forests is that they act as guardians of the environment. They conserve soil and prevent flooding in case of rainfall. For instance, mangroves help stop the erosion of coastlines from sea waves that constantly hit them. They also mitigate the damage done during oceanic storms and tsunamis caused by earth quacks in the oceans.
The absence of trees in mountains exposes slopes to the rainfall which as result drains the soil with itself. Consequently, flooding occurs, causing human loss, damage to agricultural land, crops, livestock, etc. This points towards the significance of forests which conserve and preserve the soil with their deep roots.
4. Breeding and conservation centers
Forests act as a habitat for wildlife and unlimited species. They act as places of breeding, growth, and protection for wildlife. For instance, the coniferous forests in mountainous areas and mangrove forests in deltas act as breeding zones for birds and fish respectively. Thus the existence of forests is actually a gurantee for the protection of biodiversity.
5. Forests add to the scenic beauty of the areas
Forests add to the scenic beauty of any area. In Pakistan Azad Kashmir, Marri, Shangla, Nathia Gali, Kaghan, etc. are famous attractions for both domestic and foreign tourists. Thus forests play a vital role in promoting the tourism industry and enhancing the economic conditions of people as they earn income from tourism-related work.
6. Use for Grazing purposes
In villages, livestock farmers maintain irrigated forests which apart from giving many benefits also act as food for animals. Animals such as goats, sheep, cows, etc. feed on the leaves of trees. Similarly, camels and other livestock reared in coastal areas feed on mangroves. Thus forests along with many other functions also serve grazing purposes.