For years, it was a lonely if mighty cause, for apart from Afghanistan, in the grip of a 10-year war between Taliban insurgents and American troops, no other country in Asia suffers from a faster rate of deforestation than Pakistan though it had forest density already very low of the standard minimum threshold of 5% of the total land.
In 2010, it was declared a forest-deficient country because just 2.21% or about 1.72 million hectares (4.2 million acres) of its land mass is forested.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Pakistan lost an average of 42,000 hectares of forest a year between two decades1990 and 2010 as rate of cutting of tress is far faster than plantation of new trees.
At the current rate, Pakistan could lose half its remaining forest cover over the next decade or so, says the FAO. The trend has been exacerbated by recent floods, the worst in the country’s history in 2010 and a repeated bout this monsoon season along with cutting trees for fuel and economic reasons.