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Plant a Tree for Better Future

Beautiful Spring time is tree plantation time!
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago; the second best time is now." Chinese Proverb

According to Hazrat Anas b.Malik (Raziyallahu anhu): the Prophet PBUH said, 
“It is a charitable donation when a Muslim plants a tree or grows crops and the birds, humans or cattle eat from it.” {al-Bukhari in al-Sahih,2:817 Hadith #2195; Muslim in al-Sahih,3:1189 Hadith #1553}

According to the same source the Prophet PBUH said, 
“If the Final Hour comes while you have a palm-cutting in your hands and it is possible to plant it before the Hour comes, you should plant it.”{Reported in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad by Imam Bukhari , Hadith #479}

In all my travels across the gorgeous Pakistani landscape, one thing that strikes me is the massive deforestation and environmental damage population has done to its surrounding. The real beauty of Mother Nature shines from where population ends; for example, the valley beyond Taobut in Neelum Valley till the Line of Control is heavenly, but only after settlements end. Similarly, Kumrat Valley between Chitral and Kalam presents its real beauty after we exit the main road where the population is. Even at Chitral, clear streams, un-explored mountain passes and sierra appear after Mastuj, the last major settlement till the Wakhan Corridor.

Estimates say Pakistan has reduced its forest cover from 4% in 1947 to 1% in 2017, whereas, India is seriously targeting 25% forest cover. The only reason I can think of is poor social responsibility training. For a country seriously underfunded in social sector and education, where was the government going to find money for this secondary pursuit?

The result is rich agricultural land erosion, heat waves, silting of Dams, erratic rainfall and temperatures, harmful sunrays, flooding, Avalanches, land-slides, loss of Glaciers, depleted ground water, bad crops and fruit, lost animal sanctuaries, reduced tourism potential, unlivable cities, smog, respiratory illnesses, contaminated food sources and in worst cases, increased risk of Cancer.

100 year old trees at Mahudand Lake, Kohistan District mountain tops, Neelum Valley, Swat Valley, Dir District, Coniferous Ziarat, Muree hills, Islamabad, Sheikhupura, Shikarpur, Nawabshah, the mangroves all along the coastline, all have been ruthlessly felled. The result is monstrous urban development with filth on the ground and dust in the air. There is hardly any natural island available for living things to breathe in these areas.

Other countries like India, Bangladesh have done a lot better in this regards. Just across the LOC, the evidence is available for all to see. Even Google earth reveals the level of environmental damage on Pakistan’s side.

Man’s purpose on this earth was to live in harmony with the environment and ensure sustenance for people to come. How will our successors live in a country where the average temperature increase will be 3-5 Deg Centigrade by the end of the century, and no trees to protect us against nature’s wrath?

Planting trees gives High Return of Investment. New York City has estimated a return of $5.60 for every dollar invested in tree plantation and care. Another research concluded that for one grown healthy tree, the cooling effect is equivalent to 20 hrs. of air-conditioning per day by an air conditioner the size of one room. 

Imran Khan’s Billion Tree Tsunami is a good start, so is Nawaz Sharif’s green Pakistan Project. Unless the 207 Million people are mobilized to raise trees as their moral and religious responsibility, not much would be achieved. 

Best trees for Pakistan are the following;-
Corynocarpusis is less troubling, fast growing, less-water using and salt adaptable. Its shade is limited though. Eucalyptus gets a bad rap a lot, but it is the easiest of all trees. And it is also cash crop. Fast growing, water guzzling, bully to other plants; it brings in money fast. Date Palm (Khujoor) needs tending and is prone to disease. The Neem tree take less water, gives shade is easier to tend. Other better trees are Gulmohar, Amaltas (Indian Laburnum), Laal Badaam, Jaamun (Syzygies cumin), citrus, which are fruit bearing. Lignum is beautiful. Then we have pine, walnut trees that are a good choice too.

I will plant walnut tree this season, I hope you all do as well.

{This post is written for by Wali Khalil, who blogs at}

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