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Published Date: Apr 15, 2014

SDPI Press Release (April 15, 2014)

“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 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 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 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.