Khyber Pukhtunkhwa government has started spring tree plantation drive in Hazara Division alone 20.45 million saplings will be planted with community participation. People are being senstised that each individual should not only plant at least one sapling but look after it for its nourishment till its grows into a mature tree. Students in schools and institutions of higher educations have been asked to take part in tree plantation.
The success story of Prime Minister’s billion tree plantation programme has been appreciated in the World Economic Forum Report, stating that 350,000 hectares of land have brought under forests in the mountainous areas of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa by 2017. Forest cover in the province has increased from 2 percent to 5 percent. However, it is below the UN recommended level of 12 percent forest cover to mitigate the adverse effect of climate change.
Notwithstanding great achievement of 3 percent increase in forest cover the present PTI government has not succeeded to rein in the timber mafia which is not only doing forests cutting at large scale but it is also involved in setting on fire plantations that has been done under billion tree tsunami in the previous government. It may be recalled that civil society activists had given sit in in front of the office of District Forest Officer Sawat last year against the massive forests cuttings. An inquiry Committee was constituted by the Chief Minster to probe the matter but nothing was heard later about the findings of the committee. Incident of setting new plantation on fire were reported from Sawat, Dir and Harripur. Again inquiry Committee was formed but it turned out a hush up exercise. An incident of setting new forest plantation has been reported from Abbottabad the other day. The elements involved in deforestation must be brought to justice.