Article | 10 jan, 2023

Mapping the Future: A National Workshop on Silvo-Ecological Zones and Afforestation

A two days national workshop has been kicked off to finalize the Silvo-ecological zones maps, and suitable trees for afforestation under the Ten Billion Tree Afforestation Program in different ecological regions of Pakistan at the local hotel in Islamabad.

In the opening remarks, Mr. Mahmood Akhter Cheema, Country Representative, IUCN Pakistan provided an overview of the progress of the independent third party consortium for monitoring of the Government of Pakistan’s flagship project - the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme. He thanked the BMZ and German Embassy for their continued cooperation which has resulted in achieving another crucial milestone.

Dr. Faiz-ul-Bari, FAO Forests Advisor, informed workshop participants that FAO has provided technical support for monitoring activities on the ground and developed a system that maps the coordinates of the activities, which is reflected in the web-based GIS system. The use of the KoBo Toolkit was encouraged in this exercise, which proved to be extremely beneficial according to international standards. Given that climate change has had a negative impact on our country, it is critical to select climate resilient tree species that could be planted under the TBTTP.

Dr. Javed Ahmad, Technical Advisor, TBTTP Consortium presented the overall objectives of this workshop and responded the queries of the participants.

Mr. Riaz Wagan, Chief Conservator Forests of Sindh, emphasised the significance of species selection in calculating carbon sequestration, timber requirements, and medicinal use. It is essential to consider the local environmental conditions while selecting tree species for plantation in Pakistan.

Mr. Asim Jamal, Project Manager, TBTTP 3rd Party Consortium informed that the selection of tree species for plantation in Pakistan would requires considering the local environmental conditions, the specific goals of the afforestation project, the involvement of local communities, and the economic and social context of the area. The most important aspect would be to use the finalized list of silvo-ecological zones mapping of the area.

In his closing remarks, H.E. Mr. Alfred Grannas, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany congratulated the consortium on behalf of German government for accomplishing another milestone; government of Pakistan has played a key role for this flagship afforestation initiative. The Ambassador noted that sustainable development necessitates strong partnerships, and IUCN-led consortium of WWF and FAO is making significant progress. He also commended the role of Government of Pakistan for its dedication to achieving the afforestation target; without their keen interest, it would be impossible to achieve the desired impact.

Provincial forest department representatives lauded the Consortium's efforts in developing the guidelines and organising this workshop. They praised the comprehensive guidelines and suggested that they be used in current and future afforestation and rehabilitation programmes for degraded forest landscapes.