ISLAMABAD: More than two million indigenous trees have been planted throughout the country so far as a part of Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme (GPP), which was launched early this year by the Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif.
“Launched on February 9 at the Prime Minister’s office by the prime minister, the Green Pakistan Programme aims to reinvigorate country’s ailing forestry sector through large-scale tree plantation, protect and conserve wildlife and their habitats for revival of overall biodiversity, which is in dire’s strati because of years’ over-exploitation or sustainable use of natural resources,” the climate change ministry media spokesperson Mohammad Saleem said.
He says that the ambitious programme – hammered out by the forest wing of the Ministry of Climate Change in consultant with forest, biodiversity and environmental experts of national and global repute as well as all provincial and FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir administrative regions’ forest and wildlife departments – palpably reflects the prime minister’s vision of green Pakistan and serious interest in protection and conservation of forest and wildlife resources.
While giving break-up of the trees planted between February and May 2017 in all parts of the country, the ministry’s media spokesperson said that more than one million and 51 thousand trees have been planted in Punjab province, followed by 409,300 trees in Sindh, 202,000 trees in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 232,400 trees in Balochistan,
130,500 in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, 86,330 trees in Gilgit Baltistan and 87,000 trees in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The media spokesperson said further that 9.58 million tree saplings are in different nurseries set up in various parts of the country under the Greep Programme.
“These more 9.58 plants will be planted across the country in next few months, particularly in watershed and those areas, which are vulnerable to floods, land erosion, land slides and where desertification is expanding,” the spokesperson Mohammad Saleem explained and addd, these tree plantation and nurseries’ development activities are being carried out in active collaboration with provincial forest and wildlife department.
He said that a viable mechanism has been hammered out to ensure maximum survival of the tree samplings through utmost care. In this regard, local forest communities are also being engaged for their direct involvement in the tree plantation and their care.
Under the five-year ambitious Green Pakistan Programme, 100 million trees will be planted till 2021 at a cost of Rs 10 billion. Fifty percent of the cost will be met by provincial governments, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir and FATA regions while remainder will be extended on yearly basis by the federal government.
Highlighting the unprecedented importance of forests in dealing with various climate change induced threats, particularly floods, desertification, wind erosion, storm-rains and heavy winds, he said that forests remain a major workable solution to the negative fallouts of climate change on Pakistan’s socio-economic sectors and lives as well as livelihoods of the people, particularly agriculture and growing air pollution.
“Role of forests in tackling climate change impacts, particularly floods, soil, wind and river erosions, sea-level rise, erratic and torrential rains, is now being recognised globally and so by the present Pakistani government,” the media spokesperson Mohammad Saleem said and added, They have the potential to absorb about one-tenth of global carbon emissions projected for the first half of this century into their biomass, soils and products and store them – in principle in perpetuity.”
He said that the present PML(N)-led government is abreast of the country’s exacerbating vulnerability to the climate change impacts and was taking all-out measures to boost climate-resilience of the country.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s ambitious Green Pakistan Programme is a clear indicator of the present government’s unquestionable seriousness towards protecting socio-economic sectors, lives and livelihoods of the people from the climate change impacts, which have shown rise in frequency and intensity,” the spokesperson stressed.
Pakistan is home to forests over around four million hectares, which constitutes to be five percent of the total land mass of the country.
“But the country loses forests over some 27,000 hectares every year and over 50 percent of the wood harvested as a result of deforestation is used for cooking, heating in households without access to gas for these basic purposes. This trend of deforestation, however, has exposed the country to the negative fallouts of the global warming-induced climate change impacts,” he highlighted.
To overcome deforestation, the climate change ministry has boosted its efforts and is in close contact with the provincial forest departments and those of the Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu & Kashmir and FATA regions to make the Green Pakistan Programme (GPP)a success story in the region, which has been well applauded by the international, regional and national forest conservationists, environmentalists and climatologists, the highlighted.