Pakistan has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, and with less than 5% of its area under forest cover already, this is an increasingly extreme problem. According to the World Wildlife Fund Pakistan,
“The major threat to Pakistan’s forests is uncontrolled and unsustainable cutting. Reasons for unsustainable commercial harvesting in state forests are:
- Lack of political will and commitment
- Poor planning
- Unrealistic forest working plans
- Weak implementation of forest protection laws
The primary causes of over-harvesting by domestic cutting in private and community forests are widespread poverty, population pressure, lack of fuel wood alternatives, and a lack of awareness about sustainable resource use methods. Uncontrolled use of pesticides, diseases and damage by insects, and fires are other causes of forest degradation.”
So what are people doing to help preserve these invaluable forests in Pakistan? World Wildlife Fund has several different projects across Pakistan, including the Chilgoza Forest, Jhangar Valley, and the mangrove forests in the Coastal Areas of Sindh and Balochistan.
Bird Life International has a program supporting sustainable forest management in the Palas Valley of Pakistan. Their interest in protecting Palas Valley is because it is in the Western Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA), a priority area for the conservation of global biodiversity. According to Bird Life, “the future of the biodiversity of the Palas Valley depends on the relevance of conservation to the everyday lives of the valley’s inhabitants.” Their method of conservation involves “enabling local communities to tackle the linked causes of poverty and natural resource degradation” and the program they implemented works with communities on infrastructure rehabilitation and natural resource management, amongst other things.
Some other good resources to check out if you are interested in forest conservation in Pakistan:
Wildlife Conservation Projects in Pakistan
Forest Carbon Asia, paper: “Dilemmas and challenges in forest conservation and development interventions: Case of Northwest Pakistan.”
Pakistan Paedia, “The Juniper Forests”
Between 1990 and 2005, Sri Lanka had one of the highest deforestation rates of old growth (or primary”) forests in the world, losing 35% of old-growth forest cover, and 18% of total forest cover.
Since deforestation rates have increased by more than 25% since the 1990s, forest conservation action is Sri Lanka is imperative. So what is being done?
Organizations like Ruk Rakaganno, the “Protectors of the Trees” are taking action. The organization was started in 1975 by a group of nature lovers “drawn together by concern about the destruction of the natural forests in Sri Lanka.” Their mission is to protect the country’s forests “by raising awareness about the value of trees, and to encourage the planting of indigenous species,” ultimately resulting in “a country in which development and natural resource sustainability are balanced so that all inhabitants can enjoy a high quality of life.” To learn more about their objectives and their action plan, which includes steps such as conducting rural and urban tree planting and tree maintenance programs, and using media to get the word out about important environmental issues, click here. For specific projects they are undertaking like their Home Gardening Programme and Beach Planting, check out their Projects Page
The Green Movement of Sri Lanka says it likes to be like the bee, “draw[ing] nectar off a flower without harming either its color or its fragrance…” They go on to explain this to mean that “when the ancients tell us to follow the example of the bee, they are in fact advising us that gentleness alone will not save us, or our earth. We [Green Movement] firmly believe that it is the tenderness of solidarity deeply roots in traditional wisdom which empowers better and beneficial engagement.” The site is split into different sections, such as Green Action and Green People, and is further organized by types of action (climate change, natural resources, etc.) To learn more about their work in forestry conservation, such as their aggressive defense of government plans to build roads through pristine natural forest reserves in Sinharaja and Wilpattu, check out their Natural Resource Conservation and Management Programme (NRCMP).