Gilgit-Baltistan [PoK], April 12 (ANI): Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has seen significant climatic changes over the past recent decades, such as a considerable increase in annual mean temperature and shifts in precipitation patterns, influencing the vegetation in the region.

The effects of climate change are now affecting the cycle of seasons and the natural habitat of wildlife in GB, eventually leading to a rise in average temperatures and the destruction of the natural ecosystem and wildlife. This also affects the lives of locals who depend on natural resources for survival, Pamir Times, a news organisation from GB, reported.

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"Climate change not only affects humans but also creates problems for wildlife. If the snowfall does not occur during a set time, the entire environmental cycle gets shifted. Last year, the snowfall had shifted towards March and April. This not only changes and affects the migration cycle of the local animals, but also creates problems in their feeding cycles and habitats of migratory species." said Sayed Yasir Abbas, an ecological expert from Gilgit Baltistan.

Climate change impacts on vegetation have far-reaching implications for environmental resource management, especially in regions with vulnerable ecosystems like GB.

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"The locals of GB have depended on the resources provided by these forests and wildlife, which were disturbed last year due to this major shift in climate and seasons. Climate change has not only affected the lives of locals but also created a major dip in sales and revenue generated from the sale of forest-related resources. This affects employment in Gilgit Baltistan," Yasir Abbas mentioned.

Vegetation in GB plays a critical role in regional ecological security and the global carbon cycle. However, the nuanced influence of climate on vegetation growth, characterized by seasonal variations, plant functional type disparities, and altitudinal differences, remains uncertain.

Abbas further claimed that the problem will grow worse each day as the average temperature of the earth keeps increasing. Differences in climate change can also affect the feeding habits and dietary components of these animals, which may also lead to other health problems in animals and local plant life.

Environmental destruction in Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir is a long-running problem. Previously, the Abbottabad area near Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) currently faces a massive forest fire, which is destroying the olive forests of PoK.

The forest fire was spreading over large areas and remained unattended, turning hundreds of tonnes of priceless olive wood into ash and creating smoke.

A resident of the area, Sajjad Naqvi, explained the issue, saying, "This is the result of mere foolishness, nuisance, and ignorance of some uneducated individuals who don't understand the massive impact their actions could cause. These forest fires are not only destroying the natural vegetation and the land resources but are also destroying the ecosystem for animals.

"Naqvi also added that these forest fires have also impacted the cycle of rain in the area, causing severe problems for the local people. "The people just try to protect their own houses, they do not care if the whole forest gets burned down. And the forest fire cannot be controlled, as no system of fire brigade has been established here. Not even the authorities are worried or care about this forest fire. This is just a matter of consideration, all of us should consider that we need these forests for everything." (ANI)

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