Tree plantation during Monsoon
MINISTRY of Climate Change has approved an ambitious target of tree plantation during the ongoing Monsoon season. The target of 109 million includes as many as 14.2 million tress that would be planted under the PM’s five-year Green Pakistan Programme. KPK has undertaken to plant 75 million tress, Punjab 13 million, Sindh 12 million, Balochistan 0.7 million, AJK 03 million, FATA 4.1 million, besides several hundred thousand trees by different institutions.
Environmental sustainability demands a forest cover of 25% of the landmass of a country but regrettably Pakistan has a fraction of that at 4.8%. The situation becomes all the more gloomy because of rapid deforestation and little efforts on the part of the Government or individual citizens to stall the process and then reverse it. No doubt, we launch tree plantation campaigns twice a year and set ambitious targets but there are serious questions about actual implementation. There is a strong perception that these campaigns do not move much beyond photo opportunities, high profile meetings and consequential press releases. Had there been actual plantation as per claims made every year, not an inch of Pakistani land would have been without a tree. As recognition of the multiple values of forests has grown, so are the concerns for their disappearance. In Pakistan, subtropical, temperate, riverain and mangrove forests are being lost because of questionable land use practices especially reckless housing schemes and the everincreasing demand for timber and firewood. As a result, more responsible management approaches are being demanded that can accommodate complex economic and ecological needs. Designation of selected forestlands as national parks, area for agro-forestry practices and the development of plantations and forestation practices are needs of the hour.