Sindh Forests

About Forest

Published by Roohan Siddiqui under on 01:42

Forest Info

A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending on various cultural definitions, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have different classifications according to how and of what the forest is composed. A forest is usually an area filled with trees but any tall densely packed area of vegetation may be considered a forest, even underwater vegetation such as kelp forests, or non-vegetation such as fungi,[2] and bacteria. Tree forests cover approximately 9.4 percent of the Earth's surface (or 30 percent of total land area), though they once covered much more (about 50 percent of total land area). They function as habitats for organisms, hydrologic flow modulators, and soil conservers, constituting one of the most important aspects of the biosphere.
A typical tree forest is composed of the overstory (canopy or upper tree layer) and the understory. The understory is further subdivided into the shrub layer, herb layer, and also the moss layer and soil microbes. In some complex forests, there is also a well-defined lower tree layer. Forests are central to all human life because they provide a diverse range of resources: they store carbon, aid in regulating the planetary climate, purify water and mitigate natural hazards such as floods. Forests also contain roughly 90 percent of the world's terrestrial biodiversity

The importance of forests is expected to increase worldwide in the new millennium for preservation of environment, stabilizing of climate and conservation of all kinds of biodiversity. Forest management would be increasingly carried out by measures, which are eco-ethical in theory and practice. A number of such measures are currently being proposed for this purpose at international forums. The developing countries and regions, which have usually small forest resource base, high human and cattle population and fragile ecosystems would however continue to suffer forest depletion and consequent environmental degradation due to their lack of awareness and support for forest conservation as well as technical and financial resources for forest management. This would also happen in Sindh province, which is facing this situation, unless drastic measures are taken to rectify it.

Total area of riverine forests and irrigated plantations is 323,350 ha spread in 14 districts of the province of Sindh. This is only 2.3% of total area of the province. Management plans have recently been prepared for the forests of all these districts. Forest data collected for these plans show that on the whole, both riverine and inland forests are poorly stocked having open crop, and have low rate of growth. The forests are in highly depleted condition due to unsystematic felling and poor management and protection practiced during past 150 years. With the exception of two forestry development projects implemented during last two decades, there was hardly any material and financial investment for their conservation and development for many decades. Currently, the forests are on the verge of extinction due to number of reasons, namely, lack of development funds, low or non-existent flood and canal water supply, high incidence of illicit tree cutting, grazing and occupation of forest lands through encroachment and unauthorized leases. If this state of affairs is continued, then almost all forests would soon disappear, leaving deserts in their place and cause, besides environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, immense suffering to the millions of poor rural population in the province who are dependent upon them for their subsistent livelihood.

The challenges of forest management in Sindh, as in the rest of the country, are, therefore, how to rectify the above situation, reverse the process of desertification and conserve and develop forest resources of the province for the welfare of its people and their living environment. These include, procurement of funds for forest development, assured river and canal water supply and its management, strengthening monitoring and evaluation of implementation of forest management plans, control and management of illicit tree cutting and grazing, integration of forest management with wildlife management increasing awareness of forest conservation and development, involvement of communities in forest management etc.


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