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Urban forestry only answer to rising temperature in megacity.

KARACHI -- Karachi has been braving a very hot summer presently. Mercury is soaring mercilessly as this megacity is amongst the cities with least tree population in the world. The only answer to the challenge of rising temperature is to go for an extensive urban forestry. Many megacities, particularly in the developed countries are investing heavily in growing trees and developing forest parks to offset the climate change harms, especially rising temperature. Urban forests are a great help to keep atmosphere cooler, as tree cover helps in reducing air temperatures and the urban heat island effect. This reduction of temperature not only lowers energy use, it also improves air quality, as the formation of ozone is dependent on temperature.

Trees reduce temperature not only by directly shading: when there is a large number of trees it create a difference in temperatures between the area when they are located and the neighbour area. This creates a difference in atmospheric pressure between the two areas, which creates wind. This phenomenon is called urban breeze cycle if the forest is near the city and park breeze cycle if the forest is in the city. That wind helps to lower temperature in the city. Sadly, in Karachi the crucial urban forestry is being given a little attention at both government and non-governmental level. Though a few individuals are working to develop mini urban forests, but these efforts are not enough to offset the killer urban heat island effect. Urban forestry is the care and management of single trees and tree populations in urban settings for the purpose of improving the urban environment. Urban forestry advocates the role of trees as a critical part of the urban infrastructure.

Urban foresters plant and maintain trees, support appropriate tree and forest preservation, conduct research and promote the many benefits trees provide. Urban forestry is practiced by municipal and commercial arborists, municipal and utility foresters, environmental policymakers, city planners, consultants, educators, researchers and community activists. In megacity Karachi, very thick urban forest parks could be easily developed along the rain-fed rivers, streams and municipal drainage Nullahs. There is a very great scope of developing a coastal forest park along the long coastline from Mubarak Village up to Gharo Creek. Sindh government has already been planning to develop urban forests along the Malir and Lyari rivers under its sustainable forest management policy 2019, annual development programme, as well as, to follow the orders of the Supreme and High Courts. However, due to traditional lack of capacity of Sindh bureaucracy the pace of progress in this regard is painfully slow. Unlike Sindh, Punjab is aggressively working on an urban forest policy that binds citizens, industry, etc, to plant a certain number of trees.

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Publication:The Messenger (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jun 24, 2019
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