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Environmental And Social Impacts Of Deforestation Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 2617 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Pakistan is blessed by many things; forests are one of them, which cover 4.224 million Hectare (ha) which is 4.8% of the total land area (Wildlife of Pakistan). Out of these 4604 ha area is covered by forests in Khyber-pakhun-khwa (KPK) and Northern areas.  Between 1981 and 1990, there had been a 4.3% decrease in forest areas of the Tropical Asia and Oceania, which Pakistan is a part of. During 21st century, 1.6% deforestation had been occurring each year. This is an alarming situation and needs to be stalled and then reversed, if possible (Wildlife Pakistan).

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Deforestation is a great threat against ecosystem and deteriorating the relationship between human and ecosystem. It is a main reason of Global Warming. The conventional view of deforestation is that rural people overexploits forests for local consumptive use and also the timber and woods traders using all possible ways to smuggle woods. The demand of people of consumption of wood is increasing, according to bureau of statistics; the consumption of wood in 1993 was 29.5 million cubic meters where as in the year 2010 it was around 50 million cubic meters. Pakistan, at present, is producing only 14 million cubic meters of wood.

Over 80 percent of the population in KPK is below the poverty level, which consumes available natural resources for their survival, which results to deforestation.

Deforestation contributes in the lacking of Biodiversity by affecting the Wild Life in forests. It is the main source of causing climate change, which results to Global warming, which is the major problem of the world, it is the reason of the dramatic change in temperature, from which Pakistan is suffering. No recycling of water, less carbondioxcide and nitrogen exchange, more decertification, soil erosion, decrease in rainfall rate indicates the alarming rate of deforestation.

The area where this research has been conducted is Basho valley which is located in Batistan region in the northern areas of Pakistan. The valley ascends from the southern side of the Indus river with the altitude of 2060 approximately above the level of the sea towards Banak La mountain at 5500m.

The findings show that the forest has been decreased 50% in Basho valley and the rate decreased after establishment of the valley in 1968.

1950 people of the population of the valley which depends on the forest for energy necessities, cooking purposes, and heating.

The theory of huge deforestation due to fast population growth and local use; the study did not support this theory.

The study indicates that the improved convenience combined with mismanagement of the forest department which is main factor in deforestation in Basho valley. The forest department is very much involved in deforestation as they support all the illegal commercial harvesting on a large scale.

Damage to the forest in the valley has done due to the authorities of the superiors in forest department. A lot of woods which is fallen or green from the valley forest has been taken by the outsiders or the contractors using some informal permits which is called chits and the officers of the government department has given incentives from this systems by receiving payments.

As by local elders the contractors took wood around ten times more than the quota which was allocated to them officially for the construction of government buildings. The contractors then sell out the woods in Skardu market to earn or they build their own shops and houses.

The result of the corrupt performance or activities done by the government faculty or the increased access to a forest in the last thirty years; the forest has been reduced significantly.

The methodology which is used in the study is that the qualitative data which has been selected for the study by the author in 8 years.

During this period of time he meet with the officers of forest department, he also get interacted with the forest contractors and few people of the valley which includes men and women.

Interviews has been conducted which was both individual and group in the three different workshops which was conducted by Agha Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) and the Norwegian University of Life Science. At least ten people attended the workshop who was representative of the different villages near Basho valley.

Some meetings were also arranged in each village.

Almost 95 people attended all the workshops in which 65 were women and 30 were men.

The interview has also taken by the officers of the Basho development organization.

As like this several interviews were conducted there in valley from local jeep owners who transport woods to the people, from the local volunteers and 16 stakeholders in which two were women and 14 were men.

Survey was also conducted in different villages with different group discussions and some key respondent interviews and this period was of six months. These fieldworks were also consisted of survey of price, natural resource and village profiles.

For the improving of historic information about Basho valley’s forest; two pictures were taken, the first one is Landsat Multispectral scanner (MSS) image which was of 20 July 1976 and Landsat-7(ETM+) image which was of 16 august 2002.

Rafi khan S., and S. Rafi khan (2009)

“Assessing poverty:deforestation links: Evidence from Swat, Pakistan”

Ecological Economics 68 (2009) 2607-2618


Ecological degradation



Local institutions

Resource management

The literature analyzes the linkage between poverty and deforestation in Swat valley, KPK. As the poor community has no approach to energy resources like Oil and Gas, so they depend upon wood and timber more than other classes of the country, which results to deforestation. But the hypothesis of the researchers stood wrongs and they debated further that poverty has no link with deforestation.

This study has highlighted the historical, empirical and institutional aspects of deforestation. Historically, the research took out the history of 16th century, where forests were protected by the institution and departments assigned for forests by the Walis (Kings) of Swat Valley.

When in 20thcentury, Swat was merged into Pakistan in 1969; forests were ignored due to poor managerial and the policies of Pakistan. By reason of rapid rise in Timber prices, the forest departments, for more incentives, collude with ‘Forest Mafias’ than to protect forests. The corrupt department and the lack of communication between revenue department and forestry also helped in speeding up the exploitation of forests.

Locals of Swat valley depend on the forests for daily life use and are also a main source of income for them. Such dependency and also historical and institutional evolution clearly describe the rights of locals on these resources. It is required for Pakistan to look after the managerial skills of forestry department and prevent them for colluding with ‘Forest Mafias’. Only such policies can avoid the exploitation of these resources.

The sample were selected in the study and that was of 12 villages of Swat; in which five villages from low eco zone, four from mid zone and three from high zone. Information of household was collected by 403 households.

For the qualitative analysis 200 households were selected for information from six additional villages from high zone.

For the analysis of resource dependence, information was collected on resource income (RI) as the dependent variable and the independent variables included income from other sources or non-resource income (NRI) and livestock numbers (LS), given their potential impact on resource degradation.

The total aggregate income was derived from: natural resources (fuel wood collection, timber, fodder, no timber forest products, fish, and forest royalties); agriculture (crops and orchards as an annual figure including both kharif(summer) and rabi (winter) seasoncrops); livestock; employment; donations/transfers; forest royalties; and rental income.

Ali T., M. Ahmad, Babar and Abid (2007)

“Impact of participatory forest management on financial assets

of rural communities in Northwest Pakistan”

Ecological economics 63 (2007)



Northwest Pakistan

Participatory forestry

Financial assets

Livelihood strategies

Research paper indicates the relationship between forest management and the livelihood of locals of KPK. It is shown in the paper that the cash needs of local communities is not dependent on natural resources like forests but rather non-cash needs are dependent on forest like use of wood in day to day needs such as cooking, constructions etc.

Interviews with different people of local community show how forest management is difficult for locals. They say, people living on mountains are completely dependent on forest for survival as they have no other ways available, unlike people living on lowland like Punjab. It is further argued, that locals cannot be motivated for forest management before giving them economical benefits.

These are the reasons which are involved in deforestation in KPK. To avoid deforestation in KPK, government must give priority to the needs of locals which are dependent on forest such availability of resources like Oil and Gas, economical benefits etc. Locals must be employed on the conservation of forest and incentives should be given to them. Government should focus on people at macro level and should work on microcredit and infrastructure development before the implementation of macro projects.

The study shows that two main districts were selected of NWFP (KPK) which was Mansehra and Swat because these two districts were having maximum forest cover.

In these two districts there were two types of villages, project villages and non project villages. Eight villages were selected randomly which consist of four from each districts in which two were project villages and two were non project villages.

For quantitative data survey were conducted with a questionnaire. 400 households were selected in both districts. 200 were from each district in which 100 from project villages and 100 from non project villages.

Tahir S.N.A. ,


A.S. Alaamer.


“Biomass fuel burning and its implications: Deforestation and greenhouse gases emissions in Pakistan”

Environmental Pollution 158 (2010) 2490-


Keywords: Deforestation Biomass burning Brick kilns Green house gas emission

The article indicates the impact of biomass fuel burning due to deforestation and greenhouse gasses emission. Pakistan has an average population of 170 million and average growth in population is 2.4%. Whereas 54% of energy requirement is met from conventional means and the remaining 46% from natural resources like wood and coal. Forests in Pakistan cover a total area of 2.4%, and deforestation rate in Pakistan 1.68%. Gasses emission from human body and brick making in big cities s higher that fresh environment due to forests. This results to polluting of environment.

As Pakistan imports coal from foreign countries, therefore, it is expensive for brick maker to use coal, so they prefer to use wood which is comparatively cheaper, which results to deforestation.

The study has found out the consumption of wood by brick builder due to deforestation is estimated to be 1378,000 m3.

Global warming is assessed to be increasing rapidly due to high rate of greenhouse gasses emission.

Researcher has found out these results for helping others for study in same field.

For the collection of data 180 brick kilns of 18 provincial divisions in all of four provinces of Pakistan were selected. In each division 10 brick units were randomly selected and surveyed and this was questionnaire based.

The emission of total carbon is estimated by applying the basic methodology. This was done by multiplying the quantity of biomass burnt (t dm) by the fraction of biomass oxidized and the biomass carbon content (t C/t dm) (IPCC,1994). The default value of 0.9 is used for the fraction of biomass oxidized. Whereas, for woody biomass, a conversion factor of 0.5 t C/tdmis used.

(Ct = Mt *Mf)

Where in Equation (1), Ct, Mt and Mf represent total biomass burnt(tdm),fraction of biomass oxidized(0.9)and woody biomass carbon content(0.5tC/tdm) respectively.TheemissionofCO2 from fuel wood burning can be estimated by conversion of total carbon content(tC) to Carbon dioxide content (tCO2) using the conversion ratio of 44 t CO2/12 t C

(Ct = Mt _*Mf)

Qasim M. ,

K. Hubacek,

M, Termansen,

A. Khan


“Spatial and temporal dynamics of land use pattern in District Swat, Hindu Kush

Himalayan region of Pakistan”

Applied Geography 31 (2011) 820-828


Spatial analysis

Land use change

Land degradation

Remote sensing





According to Pakistani officials the forest are increasing due to deforestation and environmental awareness. In a contrast with Pakistani officials, international researches and statistics shows a rapid rate of increasing in deforestation have is 1.68% annually. This study is about the difference between Pakistani and international statistics.

In this study District Swat is taken as a subject matter which is a part of the high altitude Hindu Kush Himalaya region of Pakistan comprising a diverse set of biophysical, ecological and socio-economic characteristics. The forest land in converting into agriculture land and also uses for developmental reasons like roads, infrastructure and construction etc. which results to deforestation in the locality.

In Kalam, forest area is decreased by 30.5%; with 11.4% of the deforestation caused by agricultural expansion.

In Malamjaba, forests decreased by 49.7% over the last 40 years. Agricultural land expanded by 77.6%.

In the Barikot region, forest cover area decreased to 9.5% in 2007, whereas the built up areas increased by 161.4%, and agricultural land expanded by 129.9% consuming 18.96% of forest area in 2007. Annual deforestation rates observed were 1.86% in scrub forest zone, 1.28% in agro-forest zone and 0.80% in pine forest zone in Swat. Growth of agriculture has largely been achieved at the cost of forests.

It is concluded that the claim of Pakistani officials of increasing in forest is wrong but rather decreasing rapidly which is alarming.

The area where this research has done is district Swat. It is a valley located in a north west of Pakistan consists of many forests.

The study was conducted in a form of area divided into three zones i-e zone (A), zone (B) and zone (C).

The data selected through maps of different zones and its start from baseline of October 1968 then the Swat state was merged with Pakistan. The next data were selected in 1990 with 2 decades gap in which few important changes took place. The last data was taken out in 2007 which was last available data.

The other method used is remote sensing techniques using aerial photograph and satellite images. It provides the areas in the three vegetation zone.


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