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A view of a government-run tree nursery in Haripur, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.— Thomson Reuters Foundation
A view of a government-run tree nursery in Haripur, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.— Thomson Reuters Foundation

One of Pakistan's greenest provinces is becoming greener still: in just a year, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has added three-quarters of a billion new trees, as part of a "tree tsunami" aimed at reversing worsening forest loss.

The success on the ground is phenomenal.

"This is not just about planting trees but about changing attitudes," said Rab Nawaz, senior director of programmes for WWF-Pakistan, which has helped audit the tree-planting effort.

The Billion Tree Tsunami, which involves adding trees both by planting and natural regeneration, is backed by Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

It aims to turn around deforestation and increase the province's forested area by at least 2pc.

Years of tree felling have reduced Pakistan's forests to under 2pc of its land area, one of the lowest levels in the region, according to a 2015 UN Food and Agriculture Organisation report.

About 40pc of the country's remaining forests are in KP, where PTI's tree planting effort is expected to hit its billion-tree goal by the end of 2017.

Scaling up saplings

In preparation for the reforestation effort, the provincial government helped set up a network of tree nurseries across the province in 2016, providing loans and purchase agreements for tree saplings.

Altogether it has spent Rs11 billion ($110 million) on the effort, said Malik Amin Aslam, the chairman of the province's Green Growth Initiative.

About 13,000 government and private nurseries, in almost every district of the province, are now producing hundreds of thousands of saplings of local and imported tree varieties, including pines, walnuts and eucalyptus, Aslam told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The nurseries have provided about 40pc of the new trees in KP; the remaining trees have come from natural regeneration in forests now put under protection, he said.

Many small-scale nurseries, producing up to 25,000 saplings, have been set up with cash advances and a guaranteed purchase agreement from the provincial government.

Such small nurseries can earn incomes of around Rs12-15,000 a month, a sizeable income for rural villagers, said Aslam.

An estimated 500,000 green jobs have been created through the effort, some of which have gone to rural women and unemployed youth, he said.

"People have become aware that forests are KP's precious resource," he added.

Aslam said the regeneration effort is being monitored by both the provincial forest department and WWF-Pakistan, working as an auditor.

Nawaz, of WWF, said he had just returned from three days looking at 2.5 million new trees in the province. He called the restoration an amazing achievement by the government's forest department and by local communities who are paid to plant trees.

"Whether you support PTI or not, no one can deny that this is an environmental, economic and social success for other provinces to follow," he said.

Better tech and enforcement

The project is being monitored using modern technology. Last week Khan launched the project's website, which includes GPS coordinates of all the plantations and a live tree counter.

"This is a project for the future of Pakistan and something I keep very close to my heart. It is not only helping KP by providing a green, breathable environment and green jobs but is also building up Pakistan's much-needed defence against the high climate vulnerability that it faces," the cricketer-turned-politician told the the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"It significantly contributes to the global efforts for sequestering carbon and mitigating climate change", Khan added.

To protect its forests, the PTI government has also enforced a complete ban on the cutting and felling of trees in reserved forests.

The government says the activities of the powerful "timber mafia" have been curtailed through dismantling more than 600 illegal sawmills and arresting more than 300 timber cutters, as well as issuing heavy fines.

"Two of our forest guards have been killed in timber encounters while many have braved injuries," Aslam said.

"All of these steps have forced the timber mafia on to the back foot and delivered a clear political message of ‘zero tolerance' to the illicit cutting of wood."

Effort goes nationwide

The project has been recognised by the Bonn Challenge, a global partnership aiming to restore 150 million hectares of the world's deforested and degraded lands by 2020.

The KP government – the only province to register under the Bonn Challenge, officials said – has committed to restore 380,000 hectares of forests and has already achieved nearly 80pc of that goal, Aslam said.

The Bonn challenge website estimates an economic benefit of the reforestation effort at $121m for the province, in terms of carbon sequestration, better watershed improvement and future sustainable wood supplies.

The project has proven so popular that the federal government has now begun implementing its own "Green Pakistan Programme".

The aim of the programme is to plant 100 million trees all over the country over the next five years.


Comments (92) Closed



MaLIK_AWAN Mar 17, 2017 02:38pm

Great effort, all provinces should follow KP on this. This is a very serious investment for the future generations.

Awan Mar 17, 2017 02:42pm

Malik Amin Aslam is not only the Chairman of this program, but infact he is the one who gave this Billion tree tsunami idea and now managing the affairs of this program. Credit should be given to Mr Malik for this great idea.

Lakshman Bhakta Mar 17, 2017 02:47pm

Very good! Hope India too follows.

anil kumar Mar 17, 2017 02:54pm

This is Naya Pakistan. Thanks to Imran Khan for his revolutionary vision. Pakistan needs a leader like him.

N.Sid Mar 17, 2017 03:08pm

The best and most sustainable/helpful project in Pakistan's history. Will help in reducing the carbon footprint, in stopping the depletion of ozone layer/global warming resulting in melting glaciers and water scarcity in Pakistan too.

The benefits are huge and its importance cannot be over emphasized. Need to be replicated in Gilgit Baltistan and all other provinces.

Dv Mar 17, 2017 03:20pm

Thanks for such a good news

ali shah Mar 17, 2017 03:20pm

Planting billion trees is a commendable step but it also needs to be taken care of which is actually not done or being done in most places of the province.If this is the case then it is tantamount to drowning taxpayer money which others do.

farakh Mar 17, 2017 03:22pm

Well Done to KPK Government, Administration and People for planning for future generation.

Abu HUMZA Mar 17, 2017 03:26pm

Amazing news, I will be shifting to Pakistan in the near future. I have already started to plan for a team to join and bolster the efforts to counter the effects of global warming and climate change which is an imminent catastrophe lurking to attack sooner than we think.

WWF Mar 17, 2017 03:31pm

@Awan definitely the creidt goes to the implementer as well, but then you have one of the most brilliant IT person Umer Saif and yet the IT minister a lawyer, where u need a real technical person, who is like a doctor now being trained to do an engineer's job when there are brilliant engineers available. Then there is the example of Mr Atta-ur-Rehman probably the best person for higher education post but both our so called 'democratic' govts have failed to appoint him or a person of his caliber. So most credit goes to the people who select a brilliant person and give free hand to operate as well, othewrwise we have had brilliant govt officers like Zafar qureshi and tariq khosa who could have done a lot more had they been given a chance.

Tariq, Lohore Mar 17, 2017 03:38pm

That's absolutely fantastic! 80% of 1 billion saplings already planted in KP. Now that's long term planning for our future generation!

Haris khan Mar 17, 2017 03:41pm

Imran Khan proved that he has ability to administrate the land or nation. KP has reformed all their institutions i.e. Education, Health, Police, Traffic Police, Administrative institutions .etc. This is a great victory for Imran Khan (PTI).

Akram Mar 17, 2017 03:55pm

great news, it shows what can be achieved if you put your mind and muscle to it.

Awais Ali Mar 17, 2017 04:08pm

This IK for you either you go in any govt institution or see the such bold and unique initiative you will see the change. Good work IK and PTI.

nafis Mar 17, 2017 04:44pm

@Awan and you don't want to give credit to Imran khan?

Tootrue Mar 17, 2017 05:02pm

Well done. Good news for a change.

israr khan Mar 17, 2017 05:56pm

so kpk is really a MODEL for all of Pakistan SubhanAllah Police best, even Punjab and Sindh IG asking for same changes and powers. Education best in Pakistan even teachers from Fata and other provinces asking same pay scale and now other parties like JUIF people joining PTI for including Islamic syllabus, using biometric for attendance. Health laws made hospitals autonomous and doctor's attendance in hospitals and also for doctors to be there for their private practice in the evening, the sehat insaf card was also introduced by kpk and then was copied by fed Govt 6 months later LG are best followed in kpk with all development funds devolved right to the village and uc level again LG in other provinces demanding the same powers. Billion Tree tsunami is a top program and is a box office hit :) now seeing this Federal Govt trying to cheat as well.. Naqal ke liyay bhi aqal chahiyay ... and that PMLN does not have.... Wow give pti whole of Pakistan they have proven they are the BEST

saleem awan Mar 17, 2017 06:07pm

Salute to the Kaptan. Feel so proud of him.

wellwisher Mar 17, 2017 06:35pm

great job, keep it up

Talha Mar 17, 2017 06:46pm

This is the difference between Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif. While Nawaz Sharif's politics is based on strengthening his vote bank through gimmicks like metro buses and roads which are never sustainable, IK's politics is based on strengthening Pakistan and the lives of Pakistani people through projects like Billion Tree Tsunami (benefits for future generations too) even at the cost of him losing votes. In a largely illiterate country who would understand the importance of trees and vote for IK for planting them? Not many. But who would vote for Nawaz Sharif for short term superficial benefits like metro buses, laptops, and free biryani on election day? Many! I don't blame this majority. I blame those 'literate' Pakistanis who can't see this crystal clear difference between the two and bash IK whenever they feel like ignoring all his achievements for Pakistan.

Iqbal khan Mar 17, 2017 06:58pm

This is a clear message to status quo that a determination can make every hurdle turn over to make an impossible into possible

N_Saq Mar 17, 2017 07:03pm

This is definitely an awesome step. Also to get the whole province behind it shows leadership, however, the initiative will not work if pollution is not controlled.

AZIZ Mar 17, 2017 07:22pm

As much as I love the idea, Imran Khan needs to be careful of importing trees. He should stick to local trees as they will be more conducive to the environment and weather elements. Additionally, we need to be careful as tree roots reach out to the water table underground to extract water. If we plant too many trees, there will be no water left in water wells. Therefore, as good as this campaign is, the impact should be fully researched.

Ali Mar 17, 2017 07:30pm

Thumbs up!!

Just Someone Mar 17, 2017 08:01pm

Good initiative by PTI.

The 100 million tree challenge for all over Pakistan is too less. Should be at least another 1 billion all over Pakistan.

Shazad Mar 17, 2017 08:03pm

No doubt, Imran Khan has will and PTI is following that will.

Z Khan Mar 17, 2017 08:01pm

amazing news after a long time and all credit goes to Imran Khan and PTI government in KPK. it clearly shows that when there is a will at the highest level there is nothing impossible to achieve in a short period of time. the same initiative & resolve should be replicated in the rest of the country to make it a green country. that will be a true investment in real sense for its future generations.

Dhruv Mar 17, 2017 08:07pm

@AZIZ I would say instead of Eucalyptus, they can stick with Pine, Walnut and other local trees as Eucalyptus is known for consuming too much water. But I really appreciate this scheme has been managed and run. A target is set and people are working to achieve that. Marvellous!!

ASIF Mar 17, 2017 08:10pm

How good is that. Excellent. Well done all the people in KP and Imran Khan.

khan Mar 17, 2017 08:08pm

This is great. PTI for presidentship. Pak zindabad.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Mar 17, 2017 08:17pm

Amazing keep up the good work. Nature is beautiful.

Ahsan Mar 17, 2017 08:23pm

Very good effort with a lot of benefits in the long run. Same program should be implemented in other provinces and program should be further expanded.

Nasser Mar 17, 2017 08:28pm

Contradictory figures: "KP has already 750 million new trees; and the federal government now has a 5-year plan for the WHOLE country of 100 million trees". So KP has over 7 times the number of trees that the whole country is expected to have - in 5 years' time? I think, in the excitement, the control on the number of zeroes has been lost.

Gaurav Shukla Mar 17, 2017 08:29pm

Let's beat the living daylights of Pakistanis in this game . Let's plant 4 billion trees in India -oh but this such a constructive thing to do , so it's never going to happen

salma Mar 17, 2017 09:15pm

Well done PTI. You have my vote. Not only do trees provide shade / cooling, prevent soil erosion and improve watersheds, they also play an important role in countering climate change. Should be followed in other provinces.

Abbas Mar 17, 2017 09:35pm

Good is good. Needs to be appreciated .

a Mar 17, 2017 09:57pm

Trees are better living beings than an average person. They just give give give.

Cities need to make long term plans to have negative vehicle growth rate and instead increase tree numbers.

Shahryar Shirazi Mar 17, 2017 09:56pm

@israr khan Still people will vote for PML-N in 2018.

monpassant Mar 17, 2017 10:23pm

Excellent initiative, which must be appreciated and replicated in other provinces as well.

Tahir Chaudhry Mar 17, 2017 10:35pm

My God bless you IK and your efficient and motivated team.

AKB Mar 17, 2017 10:46pm

Good effort by PTI towards environmental protection and revenue generation in future. It will change the weather of KPK and reduce heat effects in summers. I hope all out efforts will be made to save the plants.

Rashid Mar 17, 2017 10:46pm

KPK is home to millions of wild olive trees, which bear no fruit and are thus extensively used for fuel, the possibility of converting the wild trees into fruit-bearing ones to radically change the lives of locals and generate significant revenue for the country, the KPK government in this regard has launched a Rs1 billion project to plant olive trees in the province and the area from Chitral to DI Khan has been chosen for plantation. Five million saplings are sown in these areas and the project will be completed in 2018.

This is for your kind information and necessary action for the rest of Pakistan.

Usman Mar 17, 2017 10:56pm

Well done Imran Khan and KP government! A PMLN supporter.

Shyam Mar 17, 2017 11:10pm

Wow. You Pakistanis ought to give Imran's party a chance in the next election. He seems to be a capable leader who can bring real change.

Parvez Mar 17, 2017 11:16pm

Praise must be given where praise is deserved....and it certainly is deserved here.

Babu bhai from saudabad Mar 17, 2017 11:18pm

Let's do it in Sindh and Balochistan too! May be 1/10th of KP??

a. Ali Mar 17, 2017 11:41pm

even then Danial Aiz, Khawajas and Maryam will criticize kpk GOVT for this farce... lolz.

Seneca Mar 17, 2017 11:44pm

What is important is that they are delivering what they said to a large scale. Unlike some parties that say they will fix load shedding in 1 year, then 4 years, then next election. I think PTI is taking MOST things in the right direction for KP, its just some of the conservative and religious issues I dont like but you can't get everything. Also people need to be patient and give them time but I think in general things are in the right direction. Something like planting trees is a long term benefit. Metro bus and PSL games bring short term pleasure.

rashid nasim Mar 17, 2017 11:50pm

Great job Malik for your idea and execution of your idea. God bless you and your family.

STHF Mar 18, 2017 12:00am

Great job KP. I was of the opinion that Imran Khan & PTI was all talk but I stand corrected. For the 6th largest population on the planet, Pakistan's forest cover is absurdly low but its good to see that corrective measures are being taken.

Best wishes from your Eastern neighbour.

Mohammad S. Khalid Mar 18, 2017 12:06am

Excellent.

Andy Mar 18, 2017 12:09am

Imran Khan is AWESOME. I would have loved to see a wall of trees marking the border with between Pakistan(KPK) and Punjabistan. The sight would have been an awe for people entering KPK. "Those trees mark the beginning of KPK"

JAved mirani Mar 18, 2017 12:14am

@Shahryar Shirazi Atleast the election result will tell that; vote cheating zindabad.

sameer Mar 18, 2017 12:19am

Great effort, salute to the people who are implementing this project. Hope PTI has better chances to serve Pakistan in coming years.

Ali Mar 18, 2017 12:31am

Good long term thinking! Keep it up.

ROHIT PANDEY Mar 18, 2017 12:31am

Nation building.Sustained and determined effort pay.

Good luck in water conservation, climate change alternative energy as and when the effort takes off.

Anwar Sadiqque Mar 18, 2017 12:35am

Good work. The ecosystem is very delicate and if one piece is taken out the entire system will crumble. Hopefully the trees are not planted in a straight line as that would make the forest uninhabitable by animals. Look at the satellite view of Haiti and Dominican Republic. Haiti has < 1% forest left. You can see how the top soil(needed to grown plants) is washing into the ocean.

Moth Mar 18, 2017 01:07am

You love nature and reciprocally nature love you back. Trees keep balance of oxygen and co2. KP will found profound healthy impact on people living there.

Shahryar Shirazi Mar 18, 2017 01:14am

@a what you are asking for falls under the category of good governance :(

Ajaya Dutt Mar 18, 2017 01:19am

Congratulations. KP as well as whole of Pakistan.

Changez Khan Mar 18, 2017 01:54am

An outstanding project. Nice.

PakistanI Mar 18, 2017 02:13am

KPK is a other heaven on earth, great job PTI government.

AHA Mar 18, 2017 02:24am

This is a real noble cause and best news we have read from Pakistan. Congratulations to all involved.

Naiknam Mar 18, 2017 02:40am

A great work among many incredible initaitives taken by PTI govt. !!!

Rahshid KHAN Mar 18, 2017 02:44am

@Nasser The 100 million figure is what the central government is going to plant in the whole country. That has nothing to do with KPK 1 billion trees. I think in a hurry to reach a judgement you skip certain details.

edu Mar 18, 2017 02:54am

Eucalyptus is the worst tree. It asks for a lot of water and furthermore they are not native to KPK. Intention is good but planning is very bad.

edu Mar 18, 2017 03:00am

To those of you criticising PML-N and Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan recently became the 5th or 7th country in the world to approve and adopt climate change as per UN resolutions. Forget 1 province, now all of Pakistan will be greener inshaallah

edu Mar 18, 2017 03:10am

@Talha PTI and their supporters maybe the first to think Metro Buses and Metro Train are not people and environment friendly. Now don't tell me Solar, Wind, and Hydel should not be built.

Bond Mar 18, 2017 03:26am

Hats off to the people who are dedicated to this drive. Hope India too follows it up. Please do not plant non native trees as you'll have problems years later. Don't mess with nature and let the original trees thrive. Supporter of your efforts from India

Haroon Ashraf Mar 18, 2017 04:19am

Punjab government is busy cutting scores of trees to go ahead for a politically rewarding orange line train, where as the PTI is quietly bringing the green revolution in KPK . very well done Mr. Amin Aslam and his team.

Farouq omaro Mar 18, 2017 04:40am

Kudos to PTI. Not a fan of PTI, but credit should be given where it is due. Good job!

ajay Mar 18, 2017 05:26am

This is an awesome example to keep our environment and world safe .Hats off to kpk govt and all who support this cause. .. salute.

kong Mar 18, 2017 05:39am

mango, jamun almond and Walnut trees are far more positive economically than eucalyptus or pine trees. please don't grow eucalyptus they reduce water table drastically.

Adil Jadoon Mar 18, 2017 05:51am

@Shahryar Shirazi people also voted for trump in 2016 and a lot of them are going to loose their health insurance.....

Fazal Karim Mar 18, 2017 06:33am

A great achievement by KPK under Imran Khan leadership. I wish it gets attention of voters in the next election.God forbid if PTI is not winner, out of shear jealousy in coming government will destroy all the achievements. This has been culture of Pakistan politics.

Vijay B. Mar 18, 2017 07:00am

1,000,000,000 trees? Wow! Hats off. What a stupendous achievement. Congratulations to one and all involved in this project.

Kumar Mar 18, 2017 07:58am

Other countries should follow this model. Appreciate IK, KP government officials for perfect implementation.

Maani Mar 18, 2017 09:02am

This is the best thing I've read in 2017. Well done IK and Malik Amin Aslam.

Sohail Wazir Mar 18, 2017 09:45am

I'm itself is the eyewitness of this project. In our #Bannu's region The tree planting team daily goes into mountainous area and plants thousands of trees everyday. This Project is also providing jobs for hundreds of people work as a Tree planting team's worker. Salute to IK and PTI.

S. A. M. Mar 18, 2017 10:10am

what a beautiful and heartening news. when imran can do such a wonderful job in such a short span of time just imagine how many good things he can do for the country. i'd really want him to be our next prime minister. we don't want orange line but green tree lines. what a self less job imran

N. Rahim -- Toronto Mar 18, 2017 10:14am

@AZIZ The trees will bring water and recharge the ground water. Anyways this is regeneration. It will work.

N. Rahim -- Toronto Mar 18, 2017 10:20am

@edu Will be and already is are two different things dude!

Asif A Shah Mar 18, 2017 11:05am

Congratulations to Malik Amin Aslam, KP Geovernment, PTI and all those who are involved in this noble effort. The Government of Punjab and other provinces should follow this great example of true public service.We need to find ways to reduce pollution for the future generations.

FaiSal Mar 18, 2017 11:23am

Malik aslam the chairman is real hero here. PTI and IK has nothing to do with it. Infact they were in favor of to close this program. Chairman fought for it

Hassan Mar 18, 2017 04:44pm

@edu eucalyptus is less than 10% planted. Heard chairman of this tree campaign

edu Mar 18, 2017 08:36pm

@N.Rahim Can you guarantee trees will saved from timber mafia ? Last time I checked there are no laws in KPK.

edu Mar 18, 2017 09:02pm

The Punjab government has many flaws in its own ways but really people should stop this phobia. Why doesn't anyone talk about Gilgit Baltistan ? Is it because of lack of political depth and rivalry to score brownie points ? Fact of the matter is if we are going to speak for all of Pakistan, why not learn their strengths such as being the most literate, peaceful and environment friendly.

phatwangun Mar 19, 2017 02:49pm

Khan ...we love you

Anita Dubey Mar 20, 2017 01:20am

Great job! Time to tap the solar energy and build more dams too. We Indians wish our neighbors all the prosperity.

JA-Australia Mar 20, 2017 02:47am

In a matching move, Bilawal's PPP left a billion pieces of garbage in Mohenjodaro after a political rally.

JA-Australia Mar 20, 2017 03:26am

@Rashid KPK is also seeing the feasibility of growing saffron (zafran) in KPK. Pound for pound, top quality saffron is more expensive than gold.

logicaldue Mar 20, 2017 06:16am

Great initiative. All the power to PTI- KPK government. This is good on so many levels. Thank you for it.