PESHAWAR: Under its ‘billion tree tsunami programme’, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has set a target of bringing additional six per cent area under forest cover in the province.

The provincial government has launched a Green Growth Initiative (GGI) to achieve the objective of increasing forests by six per cent through converting 30,000 hectares of additional land into forest annually, said officials of the forest department during a briefing to media persons here on Thursday.

The briefing was arranged following the directives of secretary environment Dr Hamaad in collaboration with Journalists, Welfare, Safety and Development Foundation at the forest department. Chief conservator Hashim Ali Khan, sub-divisional forest officer Peshawar Tariq Khadim, senior instructor Mohammad Ibrar and coordinator Mohammad Arif were also present during the briefing.

Deputy chief conservator of forest department Shabbir Hussain said that the targets of GGI also included increasing density of forests by enriching 9,000 hectares and taking steps for regeneration over 18,000 hectares of the forests.


One billion saplings to be planted across province, says official


The official said that launch of ‘billion tree tsunami programme’ was part of GGI, under which around one billion saplings would be planted across the province. He said that formulation of rules for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) to assign carbon value to forests, conserving forests as valued natural assets, and enforcing ban on cutting down of trees in the province were other objectives of GGI.

About the implementation of GGI, Mr Hussain said that a fast-track strategy would be formulated for forest development with focus on bringing additional areas under forest cover, carrying out enrichment planting and promoting regeneration in forests with 10-15 per cent density.

He said that GGI would promote natural regeneration in forests having medium density of around 26-50 per cent besides strengthening disaster risk reduction through integrated watershed management.

He said that under the forest development strategy, the GGI would support to improve forest-based livelihoods through improved non-timber forest plants management and ecotourism promotion besides focusing on research and education in the field. He said that target areas for afforestation had been identified.

Mr Hussain said that for the next financial year the department had set a target of establishing nurseries on 71 acres. He said that the ongoing schemes of the department included development of designed forests, carbon stock assessment for REDD+ and promotion of carbon credit marketing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Other such schemes include sustainable management of biodiversity in Malakand, forest extension and community development progmmme in KP, etc.

The official said that Rs1.21 billion had been earmarked for development of new forests in the fiscal year 2014-15. He said that the budgets for wildlife and environmental protection had also been increased. He said that involvement of communities, stakeholders and media for achievement of these goals was also one of the priorities of the government.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2014

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