Peshawar - Environmentalists here Wednesday said the climate change-induced weather conditions including rise of temperature, heat-waves, floods and sea cyclones were posing serious threats to human beings and underlined the need for whopping plantations under the ‘Plant for Pakistan’ initiative to offset negative effects of the global warming.
Niaz Ali, former Chief Conservator of Forest KP told APP that the recent Biporjoy cyclone, heatwaves and last year’s devastating floods have made Pakistan highly vulnerable to climate change and global warming.
Besides, 2010 and 2019 floods, glacial lake outburst floods (GOLF) formed Atabad Lake in Gilgit Baltistan and Muree snowfall tragedy 2021, he said the heat wave and Biparjoy cyclone was apparently occurred due to climate change-induced weather vulnerabilities and rise of temperature in air and Arabian sea.
“The average annual temperature of Pakistan was about 24.6°C in the years after 1980 and about 25.6°C in the last years before 2022. So in less than 43 years, it has increased by about 1.0 °C. This trend only applies to the selected four weather stations in the country besides signifying climate changes’ negative effects in the region,” he said.
He said Plant for Pakistan was a key initiative of the government to bring maximum areas under afforestation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where 1.5 million saplings would be planted during monsoon season.
From Khyber to Kohistan and Waziristan to Chitral, the Plant for Pakistan campaign was continued where farmers, general public and officials of forest department officials were planting trees of different species.
Besides national building departments, the students actively participated in the campaign in the province and planted saplings of different species.
Ibrahim Khan, Deputy Project Director, 10 billion Trees told APP that a monsoon plantation was underway in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where 180,000 saplings would be sown through farm forestry, mass plantation and rehabilitation of the existing forests resources.
As per National Forest Policy 2018, Pakistan was losing about 27,000 hectares of forests per year mostly in community and private lands in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Ibrahim said that Pakistan was among 10 countries which was highly vulnerable to the climate change and the last year devastative floods had substantiated to this fact. The government while taking cognizance of increasing incidents of climate change and high rate of deforestation had launched first phase of billion trees afforestation project (BTAP) in 2014 in KP under the green growth initiative (GGI).
Under GGI, he said focusing on six sectors namely forestry, protected areas, national parks, clean energy, climate resilience, sanitation and water management were made.
About 1.208 billion saplings were planted under BTAP’s first phase with an estimated cost of Rs14.364 billion, registering six percent increase in KP’s forest cover areas i.e. 26.6percent in 2018 from 20.6 percent in 2013- 14 by surpassing international standard of 25 percent.
The project was later extended to the entire country including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in 2018 with a plantation target of 10 billion trees including additional one billion saplings set for KP by June 2023 under the 10 billion trees afforestation project (10BTAP).
10 BTAP was launched by the government of Pakistan with the total cost of Rs125.1843 billion on September 2, 2018 during Plant for Pakistan Day by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan. The project is being implemented across Pakistan by the Ministry of Climate Change along with Provincial and territorial Forest departments, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Ibrahim said the first phase of 10 billion trees afforestration project (10BTAP 2019-23) has been extended upto July 2024 by the government in order to achieve the set plantation target of 10 billion saplings in the country.
He said approximately 700 million saplings against a set plantation target of one billion were planted during the last four years under the 10 billion trees afforestration project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said that remaining 300 million saplings would be planted in the extended year.
He said that 500 million saplings would be achieved through forest enclosures and 500 million through farm forestry and the general public under 10 BTAP.