Study shows 3.3pc increase in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa forest cover
PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Forests Institute (PFI), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on Tuesday launched a report, showing a significant 0.3 per cent overall increase in total forest covered areas of Pakistan.
Based on scientific research and using the techniques of latest geographic information system and remote sensing techniques by the experts of PFI, the study, ‘Land Cover Atlas of Pakistan 2012’, was unveiled by KP Minister for Environment and Forests Wajid Ali Khan during a function here at the PFI.
The minister said the KP’s total forest area that was earlier only 17 per cent had now jumped to 20.3 per cent showing a significant increase of 3.3 per cent due to government’s effective strategies and regular plantations.
He said the report had proved all the speculations of opponents regarding deforestation and reduction of forest area in KP as wrong. Mr Wajid Ali underscored the need for its continuation with regular intervals for preparation of management plans.
He said climate change and global warming had posed great threats to environment and this positive effort of PFI would help give boost to the global and regional efforts to tackle these issues on scientific basis.
The minister said the study would provide a guideline for researchers and students in future and directed the officials to inform masses about its significance. Covering all the 145 districts, tribal agencies and frontier regions of the country, the study provides reliable digital baseline information about the country’s natural and forest resources and forests and tree covered areas.
The study shows that the total covered forest area of Pakistan is 5.1 per cent against the Forestry Sector Master Plan (FSMP) report of 4.8 per cent conducted in 1992, thus showing an increase of 0.3 per cent in present time.
“The total forest covered area of Pakistan, excluding alpine pastures, farmland trees and linear plantation, is 5.1 per cent whereas Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, Fata/Frontier Regions and Islamabad have forest cover on 20.3, 2.7, 4.6, 1.4, 4.8, 36.9, 19.5 and 22.2 per cent, respectively,” the report said.
As per the study, the KP forest cover extends over an area of 1.51 million hectares, Punjab 0.55 million hectares, Sindh 0.66 million hectares, Balochistan 0.50 million hectares, Gilgit-Baltistan 0.34 million hectares, AJK 0.44 million hectares, Fata and Frontier Regions 0.53 million hectares and Islamabad 0.22 million hectares, respectively.