Juniper forests

Published September 2, 2019

IN a few weeks winter will be here. In some of Balochistan’s districts such as Kalat and Ziarat, temperatures drop extremely low.

Interestingly, these districts are also home to the largest juniper forests in the world. In this forest, the trees which only grow an inch a year and are thus a great part of our national heritage as they are very rare.

The forest in Ziarat is a popular tourist spot, some 120km east of Quetta. It gained a reputation as a health resort after Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah stayed there in the last days of his life in the summer of 1948.

Last year, the BBC quoted a report submitted in April 2016 at Unesco by Pakistan’s Directorate General of Archaeology which claimed that the Ziarat forests were spread over nearly 110,000 hectares. No dendrological study has been conducted but mature trees are often thousands of years old, earning them the title of “living fossils”.

“The forest lies in mountains ranging from more than 1,000metres above sea level to nearly 3,500m above sea level. The remarkable longevity of the trees allows research into past weather conditions and makes the species significant for climate change and ecological studies,” the article said.

However, the forests are in danger as people are cutting them down at an alarming rate for energy and other commercial purposes.

Even though natural gas has been provided to Kalat and Ziarat, the pressure is so low that it is next to impossible to light up a heater. People are thus compelled to cut juniper trees, wild pistachio and other rare plants to use as fuel to survive in the biting cold.

The government should take steps to ensure uninterrupted and full gas supply to these towns and other adjoining villages to conserve our national heritage and keep the areas alive for tourists.

Balach Aziz

Quetta

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2019

Opinion

Editorial

Banning PTI
Updated 16 Jul, 2024

Banning PTI

It appears that the govt and its backers within the establishment have still not realised that they are in uncharted territory.
Nato at 75
16 Jul, 2024

Nato at 75

EMERGING from the ashes of World War II, and locked in confrontation with the Soviet-led Communist bloc for over ...
Non-stop massacres
16 Jul, 2024

Non-stop massacres

THE massacre of innocents continues in the killing fields of Gaza, as most of the world looks away. Moreover, many ...
Afghan challenge
Updated 15 Jul, 2024

Afghan challenge

Foreign states must emphasise to the Afghan Taliban diplomatic recognition and trade relations all depend on greater counterterrorism efforts.
‘Complete’ justice
15 Jul, 2024

‘Complete’ justice

NOW that the matter of PTI’s reserved seats stands resolved, there are several equally pressing issues pertaining...
Drug fog
15 Jul, 2024

Drug fog

THE country has an old drug problem. While the menace has raged across divides of class and gender, successive ...