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Posted Tue Aug 31 2010: from Herald Scotland:
Pakistan: A land left to drown by the 'timber mafia'
The warnings regularly given by all manner of experts had been ignored for decades. If Pakistan's authorities continued to allow the country's timber mafia and a benighted and oppressed peasantry to strip the country's forests at a faster rate than anywhere else in Asia, as is happening, floods of Biblical proportions would be inevitable. They would not be acts of God. They would be man-made catastrophes. And so it came to pass - as August began - that heavier than usual, but not unprecedented, monsoon rains fell.... "Other than landslides, soil erosion and the occasional homes and crops being swept away, it [the forest denudation] was not considered a disaster and hence didn't make the headlines," wrote Ayesha Tammy Haq, a columnist with the Pakistan daily Express Tribune newspaper.... This year's monsoon lashing northern Pakistan with unusual intensity would historically have been absorbed by extensive forests, much like multiple layers of blotting paper, allowing the rains to run off more sedately than in modern times. But this month the mud and water deluge cascaded off the tree-bare mountains and hills with exceptional force and barrelled down towards the plains in mammoth fury.
[Read more stories about: deforestation, forests, weather extremes]
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