“Around 1.6 billion people around the world are directly dependent on forests for livelihoods. Forests are also the biggest sinks of carbon dioxide and play a major role in decreasing air pollution,” said Ali Murtaza Dharejo, an environmentalist and author.

He also highlighted the economic repercussions of environmental degradation, stating that it is causing losses of around one billion rupees per day.

“On average, a single tree is home to about one hundred organisms and one acre of forest absorbs the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent to the emissions by a vehicle covering a distance of 41,842 kilometres,” said Dharejo.

The major threats to forests in Pakistan, according to him, are illegal reclamation, non-availability of river water, reduced rainfall and drastic climatic changes. “Building new dams and barrages will further exacerbate the situation,” he warned.

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