Originally published in the News International.

The experts have said that investment in restoring or conserving ecological infrastructure that delivers ecosystem services could significantly enhance agricultural sustainability, especially in the developing countries like Pakistan. “It must be a matter of grave concern that Pakistan has the highest deforestation rate and there is a need to raise this issue at all forums before it would be too late,” they said.

They said biodiversity and the services provided by ecosystems could contribute significantly and cost-effectively to efforts to adapt to unavoidable climate change. The real costs of natural resource loss felt at the micro level and it is a matter of high importance to think about how water was being extracted in the upstream regions.

They said there is a need to focus on inextricable links between poverty and loss of ecosystems and sources of ideas for a way forward to preserve natural ecological settings. Losses in the natural world have direct adverse consequences but unfortunately they often go unnoticed in Pakistan.

Prioritising areas in terms of their ecological significance and selection of conservation areas using a set of indicators should be an important aspect of conservation planning, they said.The present varied and interesting composition of biodiversity in Pakistan is largely due to its being a transitional zone between two of the world’s six major geographical regions.

They said Pakistan is classified as a global warming hot spot but awareness about the extreme climate change risks and vulnerabilities facing the country is critically low among decision makers and the masses.