By Akhtar Khan
MAR 03 (APP): Trees and plants play significant role in the conservation of soil and environment whereas continuous wood cutting in the are was leading to deforestation Wood cutting for various purposes like timber wood, fodder etc puts tremendous immediate and long term consequences on the environment besides causing soil erosion and a lot of other climatic problems.
It is pertinent to note that in various areas of Dera Ismail Khan like hilly terrains of Koh-i- Sulaiman Dara Zinda, Dara Ban, Dara Wahova , outskirts of Koh Kahaisor and sandy parts on the western bank of River Indus are turning into barren lands whereas soil erosion is also happening on large scale.
The matter is in dire need of analytical focus by the concerned quarters with creating awareness among the masses who are busy in cutting of trees for their livelihood across the region.
The existing situation depicts a dreary picture about the flora and fauna of this ill fated region which is gradually becoming wood-less to some extent due to shortage of water and water mismanagement logging ,salinity and ruthless cutting of forest.
The environmental degradation is also causing water and air pollution in the region apart from endangering wild life and birds.
The sensible circles are of the opinion that it would completely destroy the natural beauty if left unnoticed.
In the absence of modern civic facilities the villagers across the district are involved in illegal business of wood cutting and selling whose livelihood solely depends on natural resources. A senior official of Forrest Department Syed Hyder Bukhari in a chat with this scribe said that repeated wood cutting and deforestation caused certain challenges to the Dera Region beside shifting the epicenter of Hydro-logical cycle from North-east to South East was also caused by these impacts which considerably decreased rain fall in the Dera region, he added.
It is pertinent to mention here that the present government was set to provide the gas facility to rural areas of the southern districts beside the incentive of billion tree project which would undoubtedly solve the problem.
Another suggestions to overcome wood cutting issue is that people of the area should be mobilized against deforestation and provided with alternative business.
It merits a mention here that phenomena of deforestation got momentum when Afghan nomads took refuge in the southern districts after Afghan civil war started in 1979.
They had no other source of income but to cut and sell the trees for fuel . Secondly ,the landlords of the areas hit by persistent droughts in the region for the past so many years also indulged themselves in selling their trees to these Afghan Jungle cutters.The region, consequently turned into barren lands.
Professor Lal Badshah Mahsud a botanist when contacted by APP underlined that the area was confronting Plant Succession issue because of incresing wood cutting.He said the lands undergoing such type of problem across the area ,are gradually leading to the extinction of various plants and trees including Sueda fructicosa, Tamarix aphylla, Salsola foetida,Accacia nilotica, Prosopis specigera etc.
He strongly deplored that mostly the areas in the remote hilly terrains and rain fed region were faced with soil erosion beside undergoing a natural deserting process due to silty soil and clay over there.
According to experts ultimate result of deforestation in rain fed areas emerges in the form of soil erosion which disturbs even the ecosystem of the region beside damaging the fertile land.
Abid Saeed an agriculturalist was of the view that an inch of fertile soil took approximately 3-6 thousand years be formed.
He underlined the need to grow more forests.
Abid said that due to disturbance of hydrogical cycle in the envirnoment the air pressure emerges with less rainfall or drought in the area because of deforestation impacts.
However,short rainf-fall occurs in case the hydrogical cycle is disturbed owing to less moisture in the region. Plants transpiration Subsequently resulted in more rainfall in the region, he added.
Experts say weak and distrubed hydrlogical system causes less rains. which not only lowers the recharging capicity of land but decreases the water table too.
Listing the disadvantages and outcomes of wood-cutting , the experts were sure that agricultural lands get shorter; and definitely reduce proliferation and thus disturbs national economy.
Refering to direct impact A professor of Botany at local college Muhammad Asghar mentioned that live-stock and wild life also suffered enormously as a result of deforestation. The public infrastructure and even the fertile land faced damages in the absence of plants and forests following they were hit by water run off or torrential floods.
He noted that a similar situation was experienced last year in Baluchistan province when due to excessive wood cutting certain parts were hit by heavy floods and as a result of which hundreds of families got marooned besides irreparable loss to public infrastructure.