Published Date: Feb 6, 2018
Paying for not to cut trees can reduce deforestation, experts
Payments to forest communities for not cutting the trees under global REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks in Developing Countries) and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) can result in efficient, cost effective and equitable conservation of forests as natural resources, said experts at the at the seminar on “REDD+: Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)” organized by SDPI here on Tuesday.
Speaking on the occasion Jorn Laxen, International Expert on PESs said PES is a voluntary conditional transaction between at least one buyer and one seller for well-defined environmental services or corresponding land use proxies. PES to thrive requires trust between service provider and buyer/ service user, as they under the arrangement enter into a voluntary contract. Jorn identified two potential sites in Pakistan, one in Sindh (mangroves forest on coastal line) and other was Kaghan Valley, where PES scheme can effectively be implemented, which in turn can generate significant revenues for local communities.
Dr Abid Q Suleri Executive Director SDPI said in order to stop deforestation, punitive measures and punishments are no longer an option. We need to rethink preventive measures to halt deforestation and protect our natural resources rather striving to reverse it. “We should not take for granted the eco-system services and should conserve it for our benefits”, he added. He said community ownership and participatory mechanism can be a win-win solution, both for communities and the governments. He said REDD+ mechanism and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes are well thought out and can yield significant results in protection of eco system services, if effectively implemented.
Earlier, Anwar Ali, Forest Mensuration Officer, Pakistan Forest Institute, Peshawar said we should not see forests as just trees rather they should be seen as whole package of ecosystem services, which include biodiversity, eco-tourism, watersheds and carbon sequestration. He said that we should quantify those ecosystem services that help local communities in getting monitory benefits against protection of the ecosystem. For that ‘Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES)’ is under design phase to calculate such ecosystem services, which would include a mechanism for payments as well.
Syed Mehmood Nasir, Inspector General Forests on the occasion said we have to communicate in easy language to the communities about the difficult concepts such as REDD+ and PES. “We have to deconstruct these international mechanisms such as REDD+ and PES for developing understanding of local communities so that they could benefit under these opportunities for not cutting the trees and protecting the natural resources”, said Mr. Nasir. We cannot afford further deforestation in our country and we have to do some solid work on ground, he added.
National REDD+ Coordinator Dr Ghulam Akber said it is about time that we should develop and implement a mechanism to charge for eco system services in Pakistan. He said every country has some ‘gate payments’ for their national parks or conservation areas, but in Pakistan we even don’t have these gate payments for our national parks. The schemes such as PES should contextualize this in its payment mechanism.
Later, Dr. Safdar Sohail, said forest is more of provincial subject after 18th amendment and that requires reforming the governance structure at provincial level. Dr Azra of PIDE Institute said that we need to believe that environment is future economics, as almost every subject has environmental component in it. Alamgir Khan Gandapur of Pakistan Forest Institute said effective conservation of the forest resources requires efficient collaborative management at all levels, local, national and international levels.