Spring Tree Plantation in KPK Kick-started 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Caretaker Chief Minister, Justice (retd) Syed Arshad Hussain Shah, inaugurated the Campaign for Spring Tree Plantation in KPK by planting a sapling at the Chief Minister House lawn in Peshawar on Tuesday.

The campaign aims to plant over 12 million saplings across the province. Peshawar will receive approximately five million saplings for the Central Southern Region-I. Abbottabad will get 3.806 million for the Northern Forest Region-II, and Swat will receive 3.784 million for the Malakand Forest Region-III. A total of 212 plantation activities are planned throughout the province.

The role of forests and public participation

During the event, the caretaker Chief Minister emphasized the vital role of forests in sustaining human life on Earth. He stressed the urgency of implementing a comprehensive strategy to address the challenges of climate change. He also highlighted the importance of conserving existing forests and undertaking large-scale plantation in KPK to increase the forest cover.

Justice (retd) Syed Arshad Hussain Shah emphasized the need for public participation in the Spring Tree Plantation Campaign. He described it as a national obligation and a collective responsibility. The CM urged citizens from all segments of society to actively participate in the initiative. He also emphasized the significance of preserving and expanding green spaces for future generations.

“Investing in plantation and conservation is crucial for ensuring a pollution-free, clean, and green environment for our descendants,” he concluded, encouraging all citizens to actively contribute to this important mission.

Issues of climate change

He also acknowledged that climate change issues have become a major challenge. He further emphasized the need for pragmatic steps under a comprehensive strategy to effectively address these challenges

According to the National Forest Policy 2015, Pakistan had a forest-covered area of five percent, and the country was losing approximately 27,000 hectares of forests per year. This loss was primarily occurring in privately and community-owned natural forests.

The policy highlighted that forest resources in all provinces, particularly in KP and Gilgit Baltistan, were facing significant pressure. This pressure was especially evident on communal lands, shamalats, guzara, and privately owned forests.

Deforestation

The policy further stated that deforestation in watershed areas had negatively impacted agricultural yield and the quantity of water at outlets. This deforestation had also contributed to land degradation, loss of biodiversity, and wildlife depletion in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Approximately 68 per cent of the country’s forests were being utilized for firewood, while 15 percent of trees were being lost due to urbanization and community-driven demands.

In riparian and coastal areas, particularly in Sindh and Balochistan, deforestation had exacerbated floods and facilitated the intrusion of seawater. These consequences had caused significant economic losses to the government, as seen in the devastating floods of 2010 and 2022.