Forests Importance WHAT IS A FORESTS? A forest is community of trees, shrubs, herbs, and associated plants that cover a considerable area that use oxygen, water and soil. Ten counties with largest forest areas (million hectors) The United Nations declared March 21 the International Day of Forests in late 2012, part of a global effort to publicize both the value and plight of woodlands around the world. It was first celebrated March 21, 2013. Importance of Forests Forests play very important role in the economic development of our country. The area under forests in Pakistan is very small. According to experts the area under forests should be at least 25 to 30% of the total area of the country. In Pakistan the forest area is only 4.5%. Forest is also called green gold of the country. Its importance can be judged by the following facts : They help us breathe Forests pump out the oxygen we need to live and absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale. Just one adult leafy tree can produce as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year. Plankton are more prolific, providing half of Earth's oxygen, but forests are still a key source of breathable air. Source of Fuel Forests are sources of fuel for domestic and commercial consumption. It is cheap source as compared to oil and electricity. Source of Foreign Exchange Forests produce various goods like honey, timber and oil which can be exported to other countries. So it is also a source of foreign exchange. Source of Employment Forests provide employment to a large number of people. There is forest department which look after forest's affairs. Climatic Importance Forests make the climate more pleasant. pollution problems can be solved by increasing the area of forests. Attraction for Tourists Forests attract the tourists from abroad and earn foreign exchange for the country. Hilly area attracts the tourists because these are full of plants and greenery. Checks on Floods Erosion Forests are very useful in checking floods and erosion of soil. On the banks of rivers and canals should be planted. Source of Government Income The government of Pakistan also earns a lot of income from the forests. The sale of timber products of forests add to the revenue of the government. Source of Recreations Hard working people need recreation in the form of hunting and sight seeing. Forests provide them recreation for holiday. Shelter for Birds Forests provide shelter to the animal and birds, these also provide breeding centers for the birds and animals. The wildlife like deer, tiger and peacock have also commercial value. Source of Raw Material Forests provide the raw material to the various industries like sports goods industry, paper industry and furniture industry. It has vital importance for industrial development. Food for Cattle Forests also provide the grass for the cattle's. The government also gives on lease the grassy plots to the people. Importance for Defense Forests are also very useful for the defense purpose. In case of war these protect our army from enemy. They constitute natural boundary of the country. GOVERNMENT MEASURES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FORESTS The government of Pakistan is trying to increase the area of forest due to its importance in the economic development. The government has taken control on the other hand fast growing seeds . The forests are also being grown on the government vacant lands. The plantation development programs on the road sides, railway sides and canal sides have been transferred to the forests department. Now the production of wood and other forests is increasing day by day. Promotion of free plantation in private sector is encouraged in certain areas. In short following measures can be adopted for increasing the forest area. 1. There should be extensive use of fast growing plants. 2. The farmers should encourage for tree plantation in the farms, and around villages. 3. Forests laws should be more strict and any one who violates must be punished. 4. Forest staff should be trained and educated. The research work should be expanded. 5. Government of Pakistan has also allocated 50000 acres of land for forests in the area of "Thal" keeping in views its importance. 6. In Abbotabad, Peshawar and in the province of Sindh forests are grown for protection of soil. 7. In Hyderabad division one lac acre land was reserved for forests. In Pakistan plantation is launched twice a year. In the 8th five year plan government had paid proper attention to the forests. The government of Pakistan has also morally persuaded the people to increase the tree plantation in the country.