Author(s): Rowley J
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Abstract PIP: The National Conservation Strategy of Pakistan took 5 years to prepare and it was produced in close consultation with the World Conservation Union (IUCN), on whose World Conservation Strategy it is modeled. The environment has been under grave stress for the past 30 years, the ecosystem has been greatly damaged, and natural resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. Deforestation is occurring at a rate of 1'\%/year in a country where forest cover is down to 5\%. Desertification has affected 60\% of Pakistan's land. Soil erosion threatens over 11 million hectares and waterlogging and salinity 1/2 as much. Many species of plants, animals, and fish face extinction, as river and mangrove systems are almost destroyed. Over 25\% of hospital patients are ill from waterborne diseases, and 60\% of infant deaths are caused by infectious and parasitic diseases. The neglect of women's development is responsible for the average family size of 6.7 children. The population is projected to double in 22 years, from 100 million to 200 million, and at the present rate it could reach 400 million by the year 2033. Although the crude death rate has dropped from over 25/1000 in 1984-86, and the infant mortality rate has fallen from 180/1000 to 106, the birth rate has hardly changed, falling only from 45 to 43/1000. In the 40 years since independence government family planning efforts have been feeble without success in reducing birth rates. Water resources are also scarce: only a 25-30\% expansion in the volume of water is available in the Indus Basin. Biological solutions, farm forestry, increased water efficiency, demand-based irrigation, less wasteful and more decentralized use of energy are recommended rather than cost-intensive use of the soil. Community-based management systems, strengthened nongovernmental organization action, and a new role for women in development is emphasized.
This article was published in Earthwatch
and referenced in Journal of Fisheries & Livestock Production