- The importance of forests.
- Timber, fuel, climatic. Dangers of rashly cutting down trees without replanting.
- Pakistan’s timbers, commerical importance.
- Need for scientific afforestation to stabilize rainfall.
Timber is one of the most important production in the world, and the country which cannot grow its own wood will have to import it. For building houses, making furniture, burning as fuel, and a host of minor uses, wood is almost indispensable. That is why the growth of forests cannot be left to chance, but must be the care of a highly trained and skilful body of officers, such as we have in the Forestry Department.
Pakistan has always been rich in timber. Teak is one of the best-known woods of commerce and grows freely in most parts of the country. In the Chittagong district, the forests of bamboo, mahogany rosewood and shisha rival the noted forests of the Amazon. The hills produce pine and fir, and the eucalyptus guni flourishes will in the Sunder Ban. Mangoes and other fruit-bearing trees, pipal, deodar, nim and tamarind all have their own peculiar use. In short, we have a wealth of natural resources which are of great importance in the – future development of the country, and in raising the standards of living among the people.
A warning has to be sounded. Have you ever seen the barren and broken country through which the railway line passed just south of Rawalpindi? That desert was covered with dense forest when the Emperor Babar used to hunt there. But men did not known then that forests play a great part in attracting rain to a district. As the forests were cut down, the rainfall became less. Now it is a rainless and treeless region, sorrow to the eye. If we are going to exploit our forests comercially, taking away the timber and other forest products, there must be a policy of replacement. As we cut down the trees in one forest, we must plant young trees somewhere else. And it may be a long-term programme. A palm tree or a papay springs up and is fullgrown in a short time but an oak tree takes many years. So the Forest Services contain highly trained officers, men with a deep knowledge of all branches of botany and enriched by experience, planning for the future.
The forest officer lives in the jungle for long spells. He has a force of a guards and rangers under his control, and he is responsible in the care of the jungle animals and birds, as well as of the outdoor life, and of all kinds of sport. The science of afforestation is being studies very deeply in Pakistan now, and this is a career to be recommended to the young man who likes sport and the open air.