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September 21, 2018

PFC to plant 1m saplings to cope with climate change


September 21, 2018

Islamabad : Pakistan Furniture Council would plant 1 million saplings in the next five years to help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, regulate water cycles and increase the green cover across the country besides this drive would give impetus to wood-based furniture industry.

The Chief Executive of PFC Mian Kashif Ashfaq, while talking to a delegation of furniture manufacturers welcomed the Prime Minister nationwide tree-plantation drive to plant 10 billion saplings in the country and said that completion of the project, around Rs240 billion would be added to national economy and the government would earn Rs20 billion. “The situation for Pakistan is already critical. We are seeing impacts of climate change from the north to south. Communities are migrating due to extreme weather and their livelihoods are threatened, leading to various socio-economic problems,” he added.

But despite this, our forest cover is declining but in order to mitigate climate change we need to have reversed these trends, adding he said PFC would give all available support to the government for planting trees across the country and in this regard, it has also set a target of planting one million saplings.

Deforestation, however, creates an imbalance in the natural climate by increasing carbon dioxide, which leads to global warming. Unfortunately, Pakistan has the least amount of forest cover in Asia.

According to the Asian Development Bank, only 1.9 per cent of the country’s total area is covered by forest, while an average of 25 per cent is recommended.

Alarmingly, this is the lowest level in the Asia, he pointed out.

He further said Pakistan needed mass tree plantation at plain, hilly and other empty areas with the support of private organisations and the government to meet the demands of growing furniture industry.

He said about 500,000 workers were employed in forestry sector, and its related business like logging, carpentry, and timber products manufacturing, and tourism and the forests contribute only 0.3 per cent to GNP due to low area.

Mian Kashif said our exports declined due to three-fold rise in cost of timber used for furniture export and competition with foreign exporters.

Re-constitution of Federal timber board, comprising private and public sector members is necessary to restructure sheesham wood plantation and ban its illegal export.

He further said PFC would organize events with collaboration of private and public schools to sensitize the students about the awareness of the importance of trees.

It is estimated that by 2050 six billion people will live in cities and that unprecedented urbanization should not mean concrete urban sprawls.

Creating green spaces and planting trees in urban centres can significantly improve our quality of life and well-being, he remarked.

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