By Hameed Ullah
Forests play a very important role in the economic development of any country. The area under forests in Pakistan is very small. According to experts, the area under forest should be at least 25 to 30 of the total area of the country. In Pakistan, the forest area is only 4.5pc.
Forest areas are also called green gold of a country. Now we have to identify those areas which have rich forestry in Chitral and one of them is Arandu. Arandu is situated in the extreme south of Chitral about 90 km from Chitral town and is the last boundary line between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In Chitral there are four types of forests: sub-Alpine, Alpine, dry temperate and most temperate. Arandu exists at a transition zone between the dry temperate and moist temperate zone.
Therefore, in Arandu many species are found like Qurcus, Qurcusincoana, Moras-alba, Moras-Nigra, Accica-Nildtea. Populous species and Celix-ciba are found in moist temperate zone. In dry temperate zone, trees like cdrius dedoara, Apies pendrofie, pines-wallchana and walnut tree. Commercial trees are found abundantly.
The short term advantages of forests are felt by majority while those belonging to long term and indirectly related to disasters are felt by very few.
There is partially functional community to stop unregistered wood cutting.
But to engage the community to stop tree cutting Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMC) have been formed.
The forest department taxes the timber from the community forest and shift it to FDC like forest Development Corporation.
An agreement takes place between community and forest department under which 60% stakeholder are the community and 40% is the forest department and royalty is distributed among the local communities equally. But, unfortunately, there is no share for women and the so-called community is not ready to equally distribute the share.
Due to deforestation, there are large number of issues rising up from deforestation. But there are no measures to avoid these issues. The only way is to create awareness so among societies about the importance of forestry such s a source of raw material, fuel, foreign exchange, source of employment, climate importance, attraction for tourists, shelter for birds and other wildlife.
But the forest department looks like a silent spectator and people are worried about the issue. The government should launch awareness programmes about deforestation among the communities so that we can save our green gold.