- Forest department in
consultation and coordination with all stakeholders, should execute integrated
land use planning for development and clearly demarcate areas under forests,
settlements and agricultural lands.
- After massive Floods
in 1992, government planned policy interventions to cope with floods and address
deforestation, considered to be the major cause behind 1992 floods in the area.
These steps included immediate ban on harvesting of trees, laying emphasize on reforestation,
restocking and capacity building of forest department as well as local
communities. Government could not implement
this policy as a whole and was only able to put ban on harvesting of trees.
This partial implementation stimulated corruption and virtually backfired, as
the weak enforcement encouraged timber mafia towards illegal logging on unprecedented
scale while forest communities were made to suffer by denying them their due
royalty, livelihood opportunities and wood for subsistence use. This policy of
ban on harvesting of trees should be removed immediately.
- Royalty of timber is
another complicated issue that needs to be settled. Currently the forest
department is paying multiple rates of royalty in different areas such as 80%
royalty in Indus Kohistan in Hazara division, while only 60% in Sultan Khel and
Paida Khel in Dir district, which is
discrimination on part of government with those communities. Then there is also
lack of transparency in reimbursement of this royalty involving corruption,
delayed payments and sometime sale of royalty rights to the contractors. Government must look into it and ensure transparent
disbursement of royalty.
- We need innovative approaches
to address climate change especially in forestry sector and forest management.
Reforestation can be a good option to help cope with climate change affects as
according to an estimate, around 42% of
forest area alone in Swat Kohistan is rangelands/wasteland. These range lands
can be made more beneficial by reforestation that would significantly improve the
- Forest Act
promulgated in year 2002 has still not been translated in letter and spirit. Basic
aspiration of the act was participatory forest management involving forest
communities and eliminating the role of contractors but still it is dictated by
forest officials with an increased role of contractors in the forestry. Joint Forest
Management Committees (JFMCs) are in-active and in-effective, and are also prone
to the discretionary powers of District Forest Officer (DFO), who can dissolve
these committees. So it is suggested to
shift towards participatory forest management approach in true sense with a
review of Joint Forest Management Committees’ system (JFMCs).
- Forest reforms
agenda is making rounds since nineties and although it has taken some shape in
1999 and 2002 but still these reforms are not implemented. Roundtable
conferences and forest commission at provincial level, proposed in reforms are
still a far cry. There is also lack of transparency in Forest Development Funds
which needs to be rationalized and spent appropriately in consultation with
local communities. Reforms agenda must also address current approach of
considering forestry as a revenue generation sector, instead of accepting its
role as a conservator providing services for protection of criticaly endangered
- Malakand division was
badly affected by recent floods in 2010 and also bore the brunt of war against
extremism with colossal damages to its public infrastructure, livelihood system
and socio-economic fabric. It must be ensured that rehabilitation plans in the
area must not put additional pressure on forests and make it essential to
include environment as a priority agenda and integral part of rehabilitation plans
for the purpose of sustainable development.
- Resolution of
ownership and forest use issues need to be attended on immediate basis. The
forest communities reject current policy, which declares owners of the forest as
concessionary users. They demand full ownership status while asking government to
act only as a regulator. Also there is no clear demarcation between reserve and
Guzara forests. There is tremendous increase in population of Swat in recent
years but the amount of local quota of timber for the subsistence use of local
people did not change since 1974. The local quota of timber should match the
needs of the local people. Until and unless the forests department caters to
the subsistence needs of local people, sustainable forest management is not
- In past few decades,
coniferous forests in the area have depleted rapidly, converting vast areas of
forest cover into wastelands. Those crown tree forests are now hard to restore,
as they require extraordinary resources, skills, resolve, and coordinated
effort for prolonged period of time. Hence focus of reforestation in these
waste lands should be shifted towards plantation of fruit trees and
orchards. According to an estimate
around 100,000 acre of land is available for such interventions like olive and fruit
trees plantation in orchards. These orchards would not only contribute to
environment as a quick alternate to forests but also provide value addition and
sustainable livelihood to local communities.
- Community forestry
is the best solution available for sustainable forest management. This is amply
proved from the fact that private forests in the region are best protected
while forest department has failed to protect its forest from deforestation. It
is suggested that the communities who efficiently preserved their forests and
improved existing natural resources should be encouraged and provided priority incentives
integrated with development.
- Reforestation or
aforestation should be made compatibile with climate change with creative and
transparent use of resources, especially of financial resources. i.e Eucalyptus
was planted in some areas of Swat to cope with issue of deforestation. This
incompatible plantation later resulted in gradual dryness of springs in various
localities due to excessive consumption of water by Eucalyptus trees. It is also
suggested that special focus should be given on water shed management and
elaborate programmes should be launched for improving the water shed management
and capacity building of community and government departments.
- Rangelands often get
less attention and considered to be a less prioritized area with respect to
forestry. Government should also give proper attention on planning to improve
rangelands and grazing areas. An appropriate approach can be to lease out the
land to local communities for protection, preservation, improvisation and their
subsistence use to gratify local needs.
- Local forest communities
have centuries old folk wisdom pertaining to forestry. This traditional
knowledge must be glued with modern technical skills, practices and approaches for
a better and sustainable forest management. It is therefore recommended that sub
campuses of forest institute must be established in Batgram, Dir and Swat to
impart training, technical skills and contemporary knowledge to the communities.
- Government must also
take measures to reduce dependency of local communities on forests for
fulfilling their energy needs. They can be provided with alternate source of
energy and provision of livelihood opportunities to safeguard timber logging.
use of wood should be discouraged by imposing heavy taxation.
recommendations were presented by speakers mentioned below at a recent roundtable
discussion on sustainable forest management held in Islamabad.
the Event: A Stakeholders' Roundtable
Conference on Sustainable Forest Management
Monday: June 27, 2011
- Dr. Babar Shahbaz,
Professor, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
- Mr. Shakeel Ahmed
Ramay, Senior Research Associate, Climate Change Study Centre, SDPI
- Mr. Kanwar Muhammad
Javed Iqbal, Coordinator, PCI, SDPI
- Mr. Talimand Khan, Coordinator,
- Mr. Shah Wazir Khan,
Deputy Chief Conservator Forest Department, KPK
- Mr. Riaz Muhammad,
Sarhad Awami Forestry Itehad (SAFI)
- Mr. Ameer Muhammad,
Sarhad Awami Forestry Itehad (SAFI)
- Ms. Tahira Abdullah,
Renowned Social activist