It has been decided to observe 9th August, 1974 as a ‘National Day’ for Tree Plantation through out the Country. To mark this important occasion Pakistan Post Office has brought out a Commemorative Postage Stamp of 20-Paisa denomination. The forests play a very important role in the economy of a country. Trees provide timber for constructional purpose and wood for fuel. They also provide pulp wood for producing paper and other minor pro-ducts like resin which is used as raw material for rosin and turpentine. Besides forests influence control of floods, soil erosion and amelioration of climate They also provide aesthetic beauty to the country side. The total area of Pakistan is about 198.6 million acres out of which forest lands, including linear plantations cover merely 8.9 million acres or 4.5% of the total land surface. Compared to this, developed countries of the world, viz Finland, Japan and U.S.A. have 73o~, 63%, 34% respectively of their areas under forests. It has been estimated that for a balanced economy at least about 20 to 25% area of a country should be covered by trees.
Our present timber production from forests, including farm lands, is estimated at 40.8 million cft. which is much less than our annual domestic requirements of 50 million en. Hence Pakistan has to import 9.2 million cft. of timber. The consumption of 50 million cft. of timber per annum is one of the lowest per capita figures of wood consumption. Similarly the annual paper consumption estimated in 1959, was 0.9 kg. per capita for Pakistan, compared to 198.7 k g. in U.S A. With the rapid increase in population, growing industrialization, and constant rise in living standard, the need for timber and other forest products in the country is likely to become more acute from year to year unless effective steps to increase the forest wealth are taken.
Realising the importance of forest conservation and increased tree planting in the national economy, the Peoples Government headed by its most dynamic leader, immediately after assuming office formed a Na-tional Forestry Committee composed of public representatives and public servants of the Forest Service for making concrete recommendations to improve the perfor-mance of forestry and forest industries in the country. Special Sub-Committees on range management, farm forestry, forest legislation, plantation and forest publicity were also constituted. The reports prepared by these Sub-Committees are being implemented. Taking tree growth as a sign of “national progress, beauty of the country side and happiness of its society” the Government have issued a number of directives to ensure increased planting of all available lands.
In order to make up for the timber shortage, 14 million saplings were planted on Government and private lands in the Punjab by the Forest Department during 1973-74. A Farm Forestry Bill, requiring every land owner to plant 5 trees per acre of his holdings, has been passed by the Provincial Legislature and is being implemented. During the same year, the Province of Sind planted 8.8 million saplings, N.W.F.P. 3.7 millions, Baluchistan 0.2 mil-lion, Azad Kashmir 2.2 millions, Northern Areas 0.2 million and C.D.A. half a million plants.
To make the country side beautiful, 1500 cherry blossom saplings and 200 budded cuttings of the same specie were imported and planted locally. 300 jacaranda saplings, 200 cuttings of red willow, 500 plants of palm trees and 600 maple saplings were obtained end distributed for planting on suitable sites. For increased planting, Government have decided to undertake a gigantic programme. A massive plan for the planting of fruit trees, like apples, apricots, peaches etc. is being launched by giving their saplings at nominal rates. All areas with the Forest Departments and compounds of Government buildings including universities, municipalities, district councils, colleges, hospitals, schools, rest houses and residences are to be planted with suitable trees within the next 2 to 3 years. Linear plantations are also to be undertaken on top priority basis with a view to covering road-side, canal side and railway side. A comprehensive plan for undertaking coastal plantation is also being taken in hand along with the unculturable waste lands in riverine areas, to meet the ever increasing needs of fuel wood. To provide the much needed shade and shelter, village proprietary bodies are being approached to plant trees around the villages.
In Pakistan, planting is carried twice a year, once in spring and the other in au-tumn. The spring planting is mostly confined to the Northern Areas, while autumn planting is carried out almost through out the country. Government have therefore decided to declare August 9 as a ‘National Day for Tree Planting.’ A comprehensive plan to plant more and more trees through the length and breadth of the country has been chalked-out for the day. The Horticulture Directorate, C.D.A., Islamabad and Provincial Forest Departments will make necessary planting arrangements. Where necessary, fruit trees will be supplied by the respective Agriculture Departments. The saplings of suitable species, required by the tree lovers, will be given free or at nominal rates from Government nurseries located through out the country. They will also be given free technical advice by the Forest and Agriculture Departments of the provinces.