Sindh Minister for Home and Forests, Zulfiqar Mirza stated that the Forest Department has decided to declare the entire mangrove forests of the Indus Delta as Protected Area. The mangrove forests are located at four geographic locations along the 1046 km coastline.
The Sindh Forest Department has administrative control over 280,470 hectares, the Board of Revenue has 260,000 hectares, the Port Qasim Authority has 64,000 hectares and the Karachi Port Trust has 2547 hectares, he added.
The share of Sindh in the country's total forests is 0.678 million hectares or about 16 percent of which 35 percent is riverine and 51 percent coastal. The mangroves are the principal component of the delta eco-system, supporting, amongst other species, the commercial fish species and various wildlife species, and act as a natural barrier against storms and reduce the chances of soil erosion as well.
Mangrove deforestation was caused by hurbanization, water scarcity, change in environment, shifting from rural to urban land, improper use of existing water resources etc. These factors are causing enormous environmental problems including the degradation of dry land eco-systems, loss of soil fertility, soil erosion, water logging and salinity, deforestation and associated loss of carbon sequestration capacity and bio-diversity.