KARACHI - Forests are disappearing in the country as people are converting them into agricultural lands or using them for industrial purpose.

Speaks of the ‘World Forest Day’ forum expressed these concern here on Thursday. The WWF-Pakistan organized the event in connection to World Forest Day. The event was part of a four-day tree plantation campaign from 18 to 21 March at Pir of Jhaloo Village near Keti Bunder town, Thatta.

The programme is continuation of World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF - P) under its Building Capacity on Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Areas of Pakistan (CCAP) project funded European Union (EU).

The event was attended by local community members, government officials, NGOs’ representatives and media persons.

More than 100 teachers and students of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) and The Citizen Foundation (TCF) School participated in tree plantation activity. The participants planted 3,000 saplings in the area. Active participation of the students showed their integral role in preserving the environment and increasing the forest cover.

Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Forest Officer Muhammad Akeel Sheikh said that forests are essential for life on earth. He said that trees were the lungs of the land which produced oxygen and provided shelter to variety of animals and bird species.

He noted that with a growing global population at fast pace and subsequent demand for forest products, the forests of the world were at risk from widespread deforestation and degradation.  He emphasized that it was a very significant day that should be celebrated with great enthusiasm. He also pointed out that forests are decreasing as people are converting them into agricultural lands or using them for industrial purpose. Reduction in forests is one of the major causes for global warming. “This is becoming a potential threat for the existence of human beings including flora and fauna depending on these forests”, he added.

Addressing the event, CCAP project Site Coordinator Tahir Abbasi, said that World Forest Day commemorates the contribution and value of forests and forestry not only to human beings but also to other living creatures.

He also said that the day has been celebrated all over the world for 30 years. “This day reminds people of the importance of forests and the numerous benefits people gain from them”, he added. He elaborated that the concept of observing a World Forest Day originated at the 23rd General Assembly of the European Confederation of Agriculture in 1971. He further shared that the theme of 2013 WFD was “Biodiversity and Climate Change”. He also shared 2013 pilot interventions of CCAP project which would be implemented at Keti Bunder and Kharo Chan.

On the occasion, United Community Welfare and Development Organization (UCWDO) President Shakeel Memona, Keti Bunder; Muhammad CCAP Senior Project Officers Shahid Dayo; Chetan Kumar, Press Club representative Gahro Adam Janiaro and Village community members Asghar Shah and Sikandar shared their views and experiences with participants. They explained that how they can contribute in increasing forest cover and involve communities to plant more trees.