Published Date: Apr 16, 2014
KP govt. planning to increase forest area
"The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is planning to increase forest area in the province by 30,000 hectares and improve tree cover in 25,000 hectares of existing forests per annum under the Green Growth Initiative", this was expressed by Dr. Urs Geiser, Senior Researcher, Department of Geography, University of Zurich at the launch of book organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
The subject book “Forests, Livelihoods and Power Relations in North-West Pakistan” takes a social science perspective to identify and analyze some main factors responsible for depletion of natural forests of KP. The insights presented in this book mainly emerged through a research study conducted by the Pakistan Research Group of the Switzerland-based National Center for Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Geiser (co-author of the book) has highlighted a number of issues that contribute to the unsustainable management of forest depletion of KPK. Among them are the mistrust between local people and forest officials, lack of funds, poor resources allocation, the uncertain legal framework, timber mafia and the top-down implementation of joint forest management experiments. "However, there is a dire need of stakeholders, political pressure, reform of KP Forest Department and sensitive the issue of donor support" he added.
Dr. Abid Qayyium Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI (co-author of the book) said that deforestation can never be a solution of poverty. He quoted an example of New Murree project which has not make a difference in poverty reduction, on the other hand, it has affected environment crucially.
Hakeem Shah, Director General, Pakistan Forest Institute, Peshawar highlighted on the need of having an integrated approach rather than an isolated approach. Role of youth and women is also very effective for this cause. “The green growth initiative would make it possible for the provincial government to increase the forest cover by two per cent in as many years from the existing 20pc to 22pc in 2015.
While giving the overview of book, Dr. Babar Shahbaz, Visiting Fellow, SDPI and Assistant Professor, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (co-author of the book) said that this book proposes to specifically analyze these conflicts to find explanations for continued overexploitation of forests in KP. With this, it also proposes to go beyond more traditional explanations of deforestation such as population pressure or ignorance. Further he talked about a huge demand and supply gap that puts tremendous pressure on forests. Inefficient state institutions and weak alternative institutions provide timber mafia with an open access like situation to the forests.