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The Nation/The Statesman Peshawar

Published Date: Apr 17, 2014

KP to increase forest area by 30,000 hectares

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
This was expressed by Senior Researcher, Department of
Geography, University of Zurich Dr. Urs Geiser at the launch of book
organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), here
The 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)
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Geiser (co-author of the
book) 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.
there is a dire need of stakeholders, political pressure, reform of KP
Forest Department and sensitive the issue of donor support" he added.
Director, SDPI Dr. Abid Qayyium Suleri (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.
General, Pakistan Forest Institute, Peshawar Hakeem Shah highlighted
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 2 % in as many
years from the existing 20% to 22% 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.
this, it also proposes to go beyond more traditional explanations of
deforestation such as population pressure or ignorance.