The illegal cutting of centuries-old trees in various parts of Balochistan is damaging the eco-system and requires urgent attention of the quarters concerned to stop this environmentally damaging practice. During the winter season in Balochistan, locals cut down centuries-old trees for firewood including Juniper, Palos, Olive trees that are among the rare and endangered species of plants, Khalil Baloch a social activist said. Locals looking for firewood keep felling trees as there is no other source of fuel to cook food or keep their houses warm to cope with the chilling temperature, Khalil said. He said sui gas would be a cheaper option but the gas supply was never extended to most parts of the province. “Truck-loads of wood are also carried to other parts of the province for sale. The forest department has given a freehand for the tree cutting by collecting forest tax,” he added. The official of the forest department said the people of the area did not have an alternative resource to deal with this grave issue. He said the department would take measures to control the unfettered cutting of trees to help the restoration of the eco-system in the province. Ziarat was a popular tourist spot as its juniper forest was the second largest of its kind in the world, but nowadays it is battling to maintain that reputation, an environmentalist Sanaullah Nasar said. Sanaullah said any concentrated effort was not being made for the preservation of plants and tree cover. Prompt and practical measures are needed to be adopted by the provincial government to protect the exotic species and keep the environment green, he added. Sanaullah said gas shortage and low pressure in winter was persistent issue where piped gas was available in limited areas of the province. He said the provincial government should introduce eco-friendly electric stoves to reduce the pressure on forests during the winter season.