DADU: “Deforestation or cutting down trees has severely affected environmental balance in the areas of Kachho, Kohistan and Thar causing soil erosion and a gradually low rain ratio recorded worst during last five years,” environmentalists said. Deforestation has also brought certain amount of change in the climate in the region, they added. The experts have also demanded of the Sindh government to protect the forests and stop deforestation otherwise it will cause more climate changes in the area. Environmentalists observing the change in the area complained that illegal deforestation has become a normal thing in the forests of Dadu division as most of the forests’ land was occupied by local influential and political persons. Their continuing act of cutting various type trees from the forests of Kachho desert area. These trees are being sold and transported to different destinations to be used in chimneys, bricks Buthas, hotels and residential and commercial purposes in Dadu, Khairpur, Nathan Shah, Mehar, Sehwan and Kotri towns. Similarly, illegal deforestation has become a business for influential persons and Waderas of Kachho belt as they cut trees of forest and sale it to ready buyers from towns. The CEO of a local NGO, Sujag Sansar Organization (SSO) operational in Kachho belt of Dadu district, Mashooq Birhmani while sharing his experience about changes noticed in the climate said that it has been changed drastically after cutting down of trees in Kachho, Thar and Kohistan areas of Sindh. Cutting down of trees has affected the climate of area so much that although winter has started, but still the hot weather persists in the area of Kachho, he added. If compared to last five years, the rain was also recorded low in this current year, Birhmani said adding that illegal tree cutting business was also in full-fledged practice in the forests of Jaal, Khabar and Kandi while they were being sold and transported to regular buyers at towns. Former program coordinator of World Wild life Fund (WWF) in Pakistan, currently working as the Executive Director of Center for Environment and Development in Sindh, Nasir Panhwar said that there were reports from various sources that around 1100 to 1200 tractor trolleys loaded with fresh trees cut illegally from Kachho, Thar and Kostan belts were sent to various towns and factories daily. He said that influential persons were cutting down trees from different parts of Kachho under official cover of forest officials and local police. Further, he said that all forest lands were illegally occupied and plants to carry out the business boldly and stressed upon the need to plant seasonal trees to bring about a balance in the environment. Executive Director of Society for Research and Heritage, Dadu and Jamshoro, Roshan Ali Khushik, said that forest division Dadu is stretched upon 115000 acres of land in two districts of Dadu and Jamshoro but 30000 acres of land was illegally occupied by the persons of political influence. 5000 acres of land in Dadu district and 2000 acres of land in Jamshoro district were given to people on lease who have cut down trees and now cultivating the crops over those pieces of lands, he added. Also forests of Manjhand, Unarpur, Budhapur, Khadar Ji, Amri, Rajri, KT Lalia, KT Jatoi, Kandi, Bagban, Radhan, Kacho Mangsi, Kamal deero and Nari were occupied by unlawful owners with the support of forest officials. Another environmentalist, Naseer Ahmed Memon said that since last 35 years, some powerful persons are occupying forest lands and even the forest department is vulnerable to their might and cannot take any action against them. He demanded that satellite imaginary survey should be conducted to know the cause of deforesting in region which will show the reasons and history of last 150 years forest situation. Further, former CEO of TRDP-Thar Deep Rural Organization, Dr Sono Khanghrani shared success in his experience while working with number of government and non-government projects on climate change saying that work on climate change remained successful in Thar, Kachho and Kohistan belts of Sindh. Dr Sono also said that trees, locally known as Kandi, Jaal and Khabar, Pipur and Babar are give successful result in preventing drought. These trees have capacity to stop disasters as their roots are deep down the ground. Cutting down of these trees has weakened the soil and it has lost sustainability to absorb rainwater for long period thus water runoff to other areas switching underground water to salt water, Dr Sono explained.Additionally, he said cutting down trees has major impact on climate changes in drought hit areas of Kachho and other arid zone areas of Sindh. The former CEO TRDP- Thar Deep Rural Development Organization and an environmentalist, Zaffar Ahmed Junejo said that forest department was not or sowing trees that are favorable to arid zone areas, but it was frequently cutting down trees instead which is was more dangerous for Kachho and other areas within arid zone and demanded that trees that prevent drought should be sown and deforesting should be stopped.