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KP Forest Deptt proposes new projects for budget 2021-22

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest Department has proposed several new projects for budget 2021-22 focusing on the promotion of urban and farms forestry, strengthening of infrastructure and bringing the vast unproductive lands of merged areas under forests imperative to counter environmental pollution in cities and effects of combat climate change.

Gulzar Rehman, Conservator Forest, Southern Circle told APP on Thursday that several new projects were proposed for the upcoming budget including for merged areas to promote forestry sector there.

Focus was being made on promotion of farms and urban forestry besides establishment of forest enclosures in hilly and accessible areas in merged areas where about 3,000 enclosures were being established to achieve the set target of plantation of additional one billion trees by 2023.

He said a three pronged strategy was adopted to carry out whopping afforestation in empty and unutilized lands, parks, graveyards, roads, highways, motorways and canal sides under urban forestry program to counterbalance the growing effects of environmental pollution in cities including Peshawar.

The Conservator said the world population including Pakistan was increasing with a rapid pace and as per estimates about 700 million people were expected to migrate from cities to villages by 2050 in world due to growing environmental pollution, climate change and global warming.

He said Pakistan was also susceptible to climate change due to its geographical placement and was facing looming threats of water scarcity and food security due to changing weather patterns, drought, deforestation and desertification.

The climate change’s adverse effects in the country could be witnessed from floods of 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 besides worst drought during 1999-2003, two cyclones in Karachi and Gwadar Coast in 2008 and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GOLFs) including Atabad Lake in Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral.

To counter environmental pollution and climate change, he said billion trees afforstration project was launched in KP where over 1.208 billion plants including 10 new jungles were raised during 2014-17.

The country’s first manmade forest had been raised at Ghari Chandan and Mathani Azakhel to counter environmental pollution in Peshawar, he said.

“Ghari Chandan is bigger than Changa Manga and become a great source of medicinal plants, honey and ecotourism besides made positive impact on Peshawar’s environment,” he said.

The Conservator said PC-I has been approved to covert Ghari Chandan and Mathani Azakhel forests near Peshawar as ecotourism resorts.

Gulzar said over 95pc target set for southern circle comprising Peshawar, DI Khan, Nowshra, Kohat, Bannu, Charsadda and Lakki Marwat districts under 10 BTAP were achieved and the remaining five percent would be completed by June this year.

KP has been given plantation target of additional one billion plants under 10 BTAP out of which 500 million have been almost achieved with the help of 6,250 forests enclosures including 3,000 in merged areas.

KP was going to emerge as a land of forests and olive trees where over 362 million saplings including 180 million through enclosures were planted till March 15, 2021.

Similarly, 200 million plants including fruits and ornamental were sown through farmers and general public under farm forestry program.

Over 9.391 million plants were planted through departmental plantation, 7.649 million through farmers and general public under farm forestry in Peshawar, Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi, Charsadda, Kohat, DI Khan, Karak, Bannu, Lakki Marwat and Hangu districts during July 2020 to March 31, 2021.

Under Peri-Urban plantations, over 1.720 million saplings were planted in southern circle and merged areas, 3.280 million each in Hazara and Malakand regions during spring.

Under 10-BTAP, about 6,250 enclosures were being established besides raising new plantations on 111,314 hectares, range management plantation on 5000 hectares, sowing and dibbling on 25,600 hectares, 1000 water harvesting schemes, establishment of departmental tube nurseries on 234.489 hectares and bare-rooted nurseries on 1813.5 hectares in KP.

Conservator said about 32.43 million saplings were planted in southern circle in last two years including 15.39 million in 2019-20 and 17.04 million in 2020-21.

Olive trees and fruits plants were made part of 10BTAP after its inauguration by Prime Minister at Azakhel Nowshera on March 15 last and about four million olive plants through orchards besides grafting in 40 million wild olive would be cultivated under a joint venture project with Agriculture Department.

“We are going to another offshoot i.e. ‘Green, Sweet and Fruits for All’ under which olive and indigenous bees flora plants including berry, palosa are being planted to promote apiculture, horticulture and fruiticulture.”

He said KP share in 10BTAP was Rs27 billion under which Rs13.5 billion each would be provided by Federal and KP Governments.

Conservator said trees plantation was an easiest way to counter environmental pollution and climate change effects besides alleviate poverty, control floods and raise water table as forests make bright chances of rains. | YouTube Channel

Anum Mashkoor

Anum Mashkoor is writing for since Sept 2018, particularly on Environment-related matters.