International Day of Forests

Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir urged people to be a part of the Clean and Green Pakistan initiative to promote green areas and a clean environment in rural and urban areas.

She highlighted the importance of forests in daily life and discussed the environmental effects of deforestation, such as loss of habitats, increase in temperatures due to greenhouse gas emissions, water depletion and soil erosion and their impact on the lives of indigenous people.

She was speaking at a seminar on the International Day of Forests at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) on March 21, 2019. The seminar was organised by the university's Department of Forestry under the International Day of Forests theme 'Forests and Education: Learn to Love Forests'.

She also discussed issues such as food insecurity, the change in rainfall patterns and shelter and energy issues, saying it was the right time for long-term planning and policies and their implementation.

She said the gap between knowledge and practices needs to be bridged and invited scholars and researchers to take an active role regarding such matters.

Prof. Dr Nadeem Akhtar Abbasi PMAS-AAUR Vice Chancellor said Pakistan's forest area is below 5pc, while 25pc of forest area is required in a country to maintain natural balance.

He said Pakistan is among the top 10 countries at high risk to climate change. The remedy to mitigate the impacts of climate change undoubtedly lies in planting more and more trees, he said.

He added that Pakistan has the largest part of youth in population and the youth needs to be made aware of the importance of forests and a clean and green environment for human survival.

Vice Chancellor also said that the university is going to initiate an awareness campaign by organising seminars and workshops in this regard.

Earlier, Dr Tariq Mehmood, PMAS-AAUR Dean Faculty of Forestry, Range Management and Wildlife, in his welcome address discussed climate change in detail and highlighted threats, challenges and opportunities in Pakistan's context. He stressed the need for introducing new technologies and research for the efficient use of natural resources.

On the occasion, technical talks were delivered by Dr M Irfan Ashraf and Syed Mehmood Nasir, Inspector General of Forests, on power of knowledge and role of education to prosper forest resources.

In addition to a large number of the students from different departments of the university, senior academicians, faculty members and representatives from civil society organizations also attended the seminar.

Later, Minister of State planted a sapling at the university and distributed plants to members of the public on Murree Road.