Do we inhabit the earth or are we only destroying it? Humans are more like a virus that is bent on killing the earth. Global warming is no joke, but we are failing to take it seriously. Even in our efforts to help the planet we seem to not understand what to do. Take trees for example. It is a given fact that trees protect the earth from global warming. However, all trees do not serve the same purpose because geographical features also determine the effect that trees will have. Nikhil Swaminathan reported that the climatic effects of forests vary from place to place. Tropical forests are carbon sinks and boreal forests contribute to warming. Native plants, though, have gone through many climatic changes over a period of time. They are still beneficial to their habitat and its inhabitants. They are part of the ecosystem whereas exotic plants, being new to the environment, take time to adjust and adapt. Above all, they contribute little to the environment or the ecosystem. A forest serves three main functions i.e. absorbing carbon dioxide, cooling the atmosphere and evaporating water taken from the soil through leaves. These functions can better be achieved through “ecological matching”, which means the plantation of the right tree at the right place. Tony Kirkham, head of Arboretum at Kew, is of the opinion that we should let Mother Nature decide if the trees should live or not. Global warming has tremendously affected the agriculture sector in the form of drought, floods, extreme rainfall, heat waves and rising sea level. More than a third of the world’s land area is flood-prone, affecting about 82 per cent of the global population. Globally, in 2011, some 45 per cent of recorded deaths and around $1,209 billion in economic losses were the result of climate-related disasters. According to a World Bank report on the main hot spots of natural hazards, about 3.8 million sq. km and 790 million people in the world are highly exposed to at least two climate-related hazards, while about 0.5 million sq. km and 105 million people are exposed to three or more hazards. Droughts are recurrent in South Asia, and their impact on agriculture is enormous. In 2002-03, South Asia faced one of its worst droughts. In India alone, a drought has been reported at least once every three years in the last five decades Droughts are recurrent in South Asia, and their impact on agriculture is enormous. In 2002-03, South Asia faced one of its worst droughts, according to a report from the India Climate Dialogue. In India alone, a drought has been reported at least once in every three years in the last five decades, the report highlights. The country incurred financial losses of about $149 billion and approximately 350 million people have been affected by droughts in the past 10 years. Humans disperse invasive alien species (IAS), which are also called introduced species, outside their natural range. Their common characteristics are rapid reproduction and growth, high dispersal ability, phenotypic plasticity (ability to adapt physiologically to new conditions), and ability to survive on various food types and in a wide range of environmental conditions. They now cause almost all biological invasions i.e. entry of organism into habitats with negative effect on organisms. To understand and control the invasiveness it would be better to know the ecological advantages and disadvantages of these introduced species. This introduction of exotic species might out-compete native ones just because the pool of introduced species is very large. Though the introduction of species could be better for the utility to human population and rapid growth, yet they promote invasiveness. Peter Alpert, professor at Biology Department, University of Massachusetts, is of the view that the effects of introduced (exotic) species can only be reversed by promoting “local adaptation hypotheses” and restoring natural regime of indigenous species on the basis of ecological matching. In order to protect man and nature from continued warfare and from catastrophes and disasters, what the government functionaries must put in their minds is the fact that all efforts and endeavours will be less fruitful until and unless the theory of “local adoption” and “ecological matching” is not taken into considerations. People must also mind their exploitative approaches and negative attitudes towards nature and her creatures; otherwise, the day is not far when we will have to pay for what we are doing to nature. Fazal Maula Zahid, is an Agricultural Researcher from Swat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a member of Sarhad Conservation Network (SCN). He can be reached [email protected] Jabeen Begum is a lecturer at Northwest Institute of Health Sciences, Peshawar, Pakistan and member of SCN. She can be reached at [email protected] Published in Daily Times, July 7th 2018.