Coordinated efforts needed for sustainable management of forests

KARACHI: Mahmood Akhtar Cheema, Country Representative of IUCN Pakistan has emphasized importance of the coordinated efforts at the national, provincial and international levels for sustainable management of forests across the country.

In his presentation during the workshop, held under Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) project and organized by IUCN in collaboration with Ministry of Climate Change, he also highlighted relevance of documenting and disseminating the best practices and success stories.

Cheema particularly appreciated an increasing role of the non-traditional players like Pakistan Navy and private sector entities in the area of conservation.

“Pakistan Navy has planted around 3 million mangrove plants while private sector companies under the Karachi Mangroves Conservation project are planting one million mangrove plants, ” he said.

IUCN -Pakistan’s representative on the occasion also presented the objectives of the SFM project that encompass promotion of sustainable forest management in Pakistan, conservation of biodiversity, mitigation of climate change and securing forest ecosystem services.

He said that during the course of the implementation of this project, IUCN will focus on establishing forest fire control systems in the provinces. Besides, seven landscapes have been selected for high conservation value forests in three of the province where the project is being implemented.

Meanwhile the workshop attended by about 60 senior forestry professionals, policy makers and managers from Forest and Wildlife Departments of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Balochistan Azad Jammu & Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and FATA highlighted need to introduce sustainable forest management practices into the country’s forestry.

Ms. Fauzia Bilqis Malik, Manager, Sustainable Forest Management Project made a presentation on the background of the sustainable forest management practices in Pakistan and other countries.

Abdul Baseer, Conservator FATA presented management practices in chilgoza (Pine Nut) forests of FATA and shared the current management system of Chilgoza and also the ill practices impacting the production as well as sustainable management of the Chilgoza.

Mentioning that its edible value among almost all living beings (right from humans to birds and wild animals) has severely compromised its natural regeneration, he recommended that Chilgoza Forests must be declared as a natural heritage.

“It will be a great support in sustainable management of this tree species, ” said the senior forester reiterating that diminishing forests can be conserved and sustained on basis of natural protection similar to that of Juniper trees.

“The natural protection strategy can help to avert possible chances of its elimination, ” said Abdul Baseer.

Mohammad Ayaz Khan the National Project Manager of SFM project said funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) the project is jointly implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Ministry of Climate Change, IUCN Pakistan and the provincial Forest and Wildlife Departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.

Technical papers and presentations were presented in the workshop to address key issues being faced by the provincial Forest Departments in the Forest Ecosystem Management.

The project was said to promote sustainable forest management in the country’s western Himalayan Temperate Coniferous forests, Sub-tropical Thorn (scrub) forests and riverine forests of Sindh and Punjab with major focus on biodiversity conservation, mitigation of climate change and securing of forest ecosystem services.

Mohammad Siddique Khan, Chief Conservator Forest, Khyber Pakhtunkwa said the project will ultimately result in addressing the climate change challenges in Pakistan.