Pakistan plans to plant 100 million trees across the country over the next five years to meet increasing environmental threats and depletion of water resources in the country.
The 100 million seedlings would be planted under the Green Pakistan Program (GPP).
About 3.6 billion rupees (120 million pounds) are earmarked for forestry and animal welfare over five years, and from 2016 to 2021, the Senate’s Standing Committee on Climate Change has been informed.
The forests will help reduce flooding, reduce air pollution and contribute to food production, officials said.
The livelihood of millions is also being improved by the project, which is expected to create a new wildlife habitat and strengthen climate change defense.
At least 707 million trees were planted between 2011 and 2016 in the four provinces of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, “said Forest Inspector General Mahmoud Nasir.
He told the committee he said trees would be planted next to roads and canals, while mangrove forests would also be propagated.
Pakistan has approved a standard definition of forests and it has now been agreed that a plant at least three meters high should be considered a tree, Nasir said.
He said that monitoring forests is a complex matter as each province follows different standards.
However, Pakistan will soon introduce a national forest monitoring system.
Chaired by Senator Mir Yusuf Badini, the committee meeting was attended by Barrister Ali Saif, Nusrat Sadiq, Gul Bushra, Saleem Zia, Ahmad Hassan and Mushahid Hussain Syed and by Khizar Hayat Khan, secretary of the Department of Climate Change, Farzana Altaf Shah, general director of Pak-EPA.
The committee was briefed on the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a fund under the UNFCCC, to assist developing countries in adapting and mitigating climate change.
Members of the Committee expressed concerns about water pollution, depletion and pollution of groundwater and the presence of arsenic in the water. In this regard, the government has asked the Pakistan Council for Research on Water Resources (PCRWR) to review the arsenal level.
Senator Mohammad Ali Khan Saif urged that both federal and provincial governments take concrete steps to provide clean drinking water and reduce environmental pollution.
To improve forest cover, the government of Pakistan is also implementing REDD+ which stands for countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
In August 2017, Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province reached a new milestone by planting one billion trees in two years, exceeding a global commitment of restoring 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land. This green initiative was launched to restore lost forests and slow down the effects of global warming as Pakistan is ranked seventh on the list of the countries mostly likely to be affected by climate change.