Wood is the oldest fuel known to man. Since time immemorial it has been meeting energy needs for domestic activities such as cooking and heating. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, wood was the sole or principal source of domestic and industrial energy worldwide. However, the use of wood as fuel has been steadily replaced by cheaper, more efficient and more convenient sources of energy such as fossil fuels and electricity in developed countries. In developing countries, the process of replacing fuelwood is still in its initial stages, and wood continues to be the dominant fuel for domestic cooking and heating. According to FAO estimates, about 80% of wood removed all over the world is used as fuel in developing countries, and a large majority of rural people and urban poor depend upon it for providing domestic energy. Pakistan has a very small forest resource, as forests cover only about 4.8% of its total land area; only about half of these forests are productive, where timber and fuelwood can be harvested on a sustained basis. Although the foresters' community was advocating for the development and extension of forestry in the country from the time Pakistan gained independence in 1947 to meet the growing needs of fuelwood and timber, nothing substantial was done in this regard until the late 1970s. Initial planning for the establishment of energy plantations on farming lands through farm/ social forestry programs was done in the early 1980s. A number of projects were launched by the federal and provincial forest departments in the mid-1980s to promote tree growth on private lands to meet the public's needs for fuelwood ,
In the Lesser Himalayas, Acacia modesta, A catechu, Aesculus indica, Bauhinia variegata, Berberis lycium, Broussonetia papyrifera, Carissa opaca, Celtis caueasica, Cotinus coggyria, Dalbergia sissoo, Debergeasia saeneb, Diospyros lotus, Dodonaea viscosa, Ficus variegata, F. auriculata, Grewia optiva, Juglans regia, Justicia adh-atoda, Mallotus phillipensis, Melia azedarach, Morus spp., Myrsine africana, Olea ferruginea, Pinus roxburghii, Pistacia chinensis, Populus alba, Prunus spp., Punica granatum, Pyrus spp., Quercus leuctrichophora, Q. incana, Salix tetrasperma, Segertia brandrethina, Woodfordia fruticosa, and Zizyphus jujuba, are used as fuelwood. Some herbs, such as Cannabis sativa and Zea mays, are also used for ignition when dry.
Fuelwood is collected by men, children, and, very rarely, women. About 90% of the people depend on plant species for fuelwood (Fig. 2.3), and 5% of residents use kerosene oil and gas cylinders. Residents depend on forest as well as cultivated trees for their fuelwood supply. Today people from the plain areas move to the upper mountains to collect wood, whereas 25-30 years ago, fuelwood was available at their doorstep. This shows the increased deforestation that has occurred in the area during the last 30 years. The main factors responsible for the deforestation include increasing population, fire, and excessive cutting of trees for construction. About 5% of local families make their living selling wood. The wood is collected from far-flung areas (4-5 km from the source of consumption) of the Reserved and Guzara areas in dry (dead) and wet (living) forms. The instruments used for cutting wood are saws (aree), axes (kulahri), and diggers (kuddal). Donkeys and camels are used to transport the wood. Some men even carry the fuelwood themselves. They gather the wood and tie the load with the help of elastic branches of Mallotus phillipensis, Cotinus coggygria, Myrsine africana, Morus nigra, and Dodonaea viscosa. The method is called sub. The wood is used by the houses and small hotels in the area. Fuelwood is also stored; this storage is done in the rainy season (July-September).
Some species, including Dodonaea viscosa, Mallotusphilippensis, Myrsine africana, Olea ferruginea, Pinus roxburghii, Punica granatum, and Quercus leuc-trichophora are under high pressure due to increased human population. It has been observed that more wood products are found at places that have been declared
Fig. 2.3 Fuel wood sacred (shrines, graveyards, and rakhs). Locals pay great homage particularly to the shrines. These intentions of the people can be suggested to use for the protection of reserved areas if the areas near the shrines may be dedicated to the name of the respective saint or shrines by preaching through local religious people. As local inhabitants give more respects to such place and don't exploit vegetation so it is suggested that we can protect vegetation of a place, if we dedicate that place to the name of respective saint or shrines.
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