‘Govt to increase forest area from 5 to 6 percent to meet UN goals’
Daily Times,

PESHAWAR: The government will launch projects in all four provinces to increase forest and vegetative cover area from the existing five percent to six percent in the country according to the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG), said Dr Bashir Ahmed Wani, the inspector general of forests.

“We have formulated a comprehensive strategy to bring 2500,000 acres under plantation to achieve the targets,” he said, while talking to Dr Mumtaz Malik, the NWFP Wildlife Department chief conservator, who called on him on Sunday.

He said that a meeting of the senior officers of the Environment Ministry and the provincial environment and forestry departments was recently held at the Planning Commission, in which Rs 8 billion had been allocated for developing the forestry sector in the country in the next five years.

He said that the government had already launched the Tarbela Watershed Management Project (TWMP) with a budget of Rs 531 million for tree plantation in Batagram, Mansehra, Swat and Abbottabad. He said that the government would involve local communities for making the project a success.

He said that one of the major reasons behind huge human and property losses during the last year’s earthquake in Hazara and Azad Kashmir was the lack of forest and vegetative cover on mountains.

He said that the government was utilising all resources to educate the young generation about the importance of wildlife species. He said that the divisional forest officers (DFOs) and range forest/wildlife officers had been directed to visit schools and colleges to educate students about the importance of forest and wildlife in the country.

Earlier, Dr Malik and Dr Wani discussed various issues relating to the NWFP under the “Pakistan Wetland Programme” project. Dr Malik said that the provincial government would focus on conservation of wetlands along the Indus River between Kalabagh and Ramak (Dera Ismail Khan) to protect the wildlife in the areas. He said that the Alpine Wetlands in Yarkhon Valley in Chitral, including the Yarkhoon River, the Karamber Lake near Wakhan Corridor and Shandur, would also come under the wetlands project. He said that the northern lakes, including Saiful Mulok, Lalosir, Dodipath in Manhsera, Darye in Swat and Saidgi lakes in Dir, should also be included in the programme. app

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