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Major threats to biodiversity in Pakistan are posed by deforestation (estimated at 1% annually), overgrazing, soil erosion, rampant hunting and fishing, and agricultural practices.
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Introduction to Pakistan Wildlife Biodiversity of Pakistan Ecological Zones of Pakistan

Section 2: Threats to Wildlife Biodiversity 

Threats to Biodiversity. More specific threats to biodiversity are posed by deforestation (estimated at 1% annually), overgrazing, soil erosion, rampant hunting and fishing, and agricultural practices. As a result, it is estimated that at least 12% of the flora is threatened and several of the faunal species are threatened too. However, the real status of most species remains unknown. Some of the major threats posed by human activities are discussed below:

i. Population Growth 
The principal threat to biodiversity comes from the increased pressure on natural resources produced by high population growth and demands for increased standards of living. The process of economic development itself widens inequality and may force the poor to depend heavily on natural resources, while the development models followed, in most instances, have been incompatible with the sustainable use of natural resources.

ii. Irrigated Agriculture
It is another major threat to both the riverine and mangrove forests of Pakistan, which are fast disappearing Riverine forests were rich in a wide variety of plants such as obhan, and animals like hog, deer, jungle cat, fishing cat, and gray and black partridges. Mangrove forests are particularly important habitats for certain fish species as noted earlier. Both have been identified as endangered ecosystems, and if they disappear they take with them a unique association of species. Marginal changes in water releases at certain times are critical to the preservation of riverine habitats, it might br possible to accommodate them, but if they require water diversions at times when irrigation demands are high and water supplies are short, the chances of being able to maintain them are low.

iii. Hunting
Hunting has deep roots in Pakistani culture. It was the recreation of the Moghul emperors and is still extremely popular today. Wild animals have been hunted to extinction from hunting pressure. Various lizards and snakes are hunted for their skins, as are crocodiles and the larger mammals. Distributing the natural order has other more subtle consequences. The increase in the numbers of wild boars, jackals, and porcupines, for example, is directly attributable to the elimination of their predators, particularly the large cats. A greater number of wild boars has led to the trampling and uprooting of gropes and a reduction in the numbers of snakes, which in turn has led to an increase in the number of rats, responsible for post-harvest losses of grain. The loss of birds of prey has led to an increase in undesirable bird species. And having more birds can destroy undergrowth, through their droppings, or even the roost tree itself, which in turn can lessen the ability to resist water erosion, an ever-present threat in Pakistan.

iv. Deforestation and Loss of Habitat
A greater threat to wildlife than hunting, however, is probably the disappearance of habitat or the competition with domestic grazing animals. The closed canopy forest in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan is reported to be shrinking at approximately 1% per year. Pressure stem from commercial logging (though this is not extensive), and the cleared areas. More significant is the relentless, incremental incursions into the forest by subsistence farmers; the killing of trees through lopping, burning, and tapping; the development of small agricultural plots among the trees; and excessive grazing by domestic animals.


References and Credits:

  • First National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, LEAD Pakistan, Ministry of Environment and Local Government Pakistan and UNEP.

  • COUNTRY REPORT BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN PAKISTAN, Ejaz Ahmad Conservation Director, World Wide Fund For Nature - Pakistan.

  • BIODIVERSTIY CONSERVATION IN PAKISTAN : AN OVERVIEW, Muhammad Ajmal Director (Industries & Ozone) Ministry of Environment, Urban Affairs, Forestry and Wildlife C/O Pakistan National, Commission for UNESCO.

  • Ali, S.I. 1978. The Flora of Pakistan: some general analytical remarks. Notes, Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh, 36:427-439.

  • EUAD & IUCN. 1992. The Pakistan National Conservation Strategy. EUAD & IUCN, Pakistan.

  • Groombridge, B. 1988. Balochistan Province, Pakistan: a Preliminary Environmental Profile. IUCN & WCMC, Cambridge, UK.

  • IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

  • Khalid, Z.M. 1996. Biotechnological Solution to Coloured Effluent from Textile Industry. Natura, 22(2) : 6-7.

  • NCCW, 1978. Wildlife Conservation Strategy: Pakistan. National Council for Conservation of Wildlife, Islamabad, Pakistan. Unpublished Report, 73 pp.

  • Reid, W.V. 1992. "How Many Species Will There Be?" In: T. Whitemore and J. Sayer, (eds.), Tropical deforestation and species extinction. Chapman and Hall, London.

  • Roberts, T. J. 1977. The Mammals of Pakistan. Ernest Benn, London, UK. 361 pp.

  • Roberts, T. J. 1986. Critical Ecosystems in Pakistan. Report to World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C. Unpublished 10 pp.

  • Roberts, T. J. 1991. The Birds of Pakistan. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press, UK.

  • Sadeque, N. 1986. Plants. In: M. Carwardine (ed.), The Nature of Pakistan. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

  • Stewart, R.R. 1982. An Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of West Pakistan and Kashmir. Pakistan Agriculture Research Council, Islamabad, 1028 pp.

  • WCMC. 1991. Biodiversity Guide to Pakistan. IUCN & WCMC, Cambridge, UK.

  • Biodiversity Table: NCOS Sector Paper on Natural Capital by abdul Latif Rao & Abeedullah Jan.



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