Forest Dept Formulates First Ever Range Management Policy To Combat Desertification, Land Degradation In KP

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Forest Dept formulates first ever range management policy to combat desertification, land degradation in KP

PESHAWAR, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 15th Sep, 2019 ) :The Forest Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has formulated the first ever range management policy to counter the challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought in the province.

Chief Conservator of Forest, Niaz Ali Khan told APP on Sunday that the province's first ever Range Management Policy, "REDD+" (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) strategy and Green Growth Initiative (GGI) were formulated and implemented in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa mainly to deal with challenges of desertification, land degradation and drought in the province (DLDD).

He said this inclusive policy were specifically designed to protect fertile soil and agricultural land from further erosion and degradation.

To counter DLDD in KP, he said gigantic billion trees afforestation project (BTAP) was launched in 2014 to increase forests cover and protect fertile land from being converted into deserts.

He said more than 1208 million plants were planted over an area of 230,000 hectares besides establishment of 4509 forests enclosures, increasing forest cover of KP to 26.3pc in 2018 from 20.3pc in 2013, registering a record 6pc increase.

The Forest Chief said efforts were underway to enhance forest cover to 30pc by 2023 after completion 10BTAP under which one billion additional plants would be sown in the province including merged areas of erstwhile Fata.

He said 10BTAP were also extended to erstwhile Fata with a target of raising 215,000 hectares block plantations, 10,000 hectares saline and waterlogged, 1200 hectares on marginalized lands, 900hectares Avenue plantations, 6760 hectares dry plantation and 3200 hectares wood lots.

Niaz Ali Khan said forest change detection via interpretation of satellite images through SUPARCO by assessing 1496 enclosures and 2069 afforestation sites were under taken under BTAP, reflecting positive change of 60.13pc and 70.81pc respectively.

After findings of SUPARC being a national organization, he said baseless propaganda and spreading of rumours by certain elements against BTAP should be stopped now.

Meanwhile, the Government of Pakistan has launched Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP) through Ministry of Climate Change and Provincial Governments with financial assistance of UNDP and Global Environment Facility (GEF) to combat DLDD in the country.

Talking to APP, Hamid Marwat, National Coordinator SLMP-II said first phase of the project was launched in nine dry land districts in 2007 and continued it till 2014.

He said the dry-lands of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab were facing challenges of land desertification due to climate change impacts, improper land use practices, over-grazing, deforestation and excessive removal of vegetation for fuel.

Hamid Marwat said the damages of desertification could also be seen in Swabi, Mardan districts on M-1 Motorway and Kohat, Karak, Lakki Marwat and DI Khan districts on Indus Highway.

During the first phase, he said over 12,000 hectares of degraded rangeland was rehabilitated though reseeding and community based restrotation grazing management system.

He said around 8,000 hectares of additional land were brought under sustainable rain-fed agriculture and water conservation measures.

Following successful implementation of first phase of SLMP, he said the government had extended the project to 14 districts in second phase with more than 200 villages in 2015 that would continue up-to June 2020.

He said the project was currently being implemented in desertification prone areas of Chakwal, Bhakkar, Khushab, Layyah in Punjab, Tharparkar, Omarkot, Sanghar in Sindh, DI Khan, Lakki Marwat in KP, Pashin, Kila Saifullah, Mastung, Katch and Lasbella in Balochistan.

He said the findings of SLMP-II would be shared with all provincial governments for successfull implementation of projects in future.

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