Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Grows 750 Million Trees

In a massive government-run reforestation campaign, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan has grown 750 million trees.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, or KP, launched the four-year project with a goal of planting 1 billion trees by the end of 2018, hoping that it would “turn the tide on land degradation and loss” in a formerly forested province in the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Thousands of private nurseries have been created after proper training for procuring hundreds of millions of seedlings, while BTT has also helped improve livelihoods of people associated with scores of existing nurseries in KP.

The nearly $300-million plan is being funded through the provincial government budget, as well as profits from timber confiscated from illegal loggers in the country.

The project is vital from an environmental conservation and climate-change mitigation and adaptation viewpoint.

The drive also is expected to boost water reserves in increasingly parched Pakistan, reduce soil erosion and flooding, and enhance agricultural production.

It also will increase the forested area from 20 percent to 22 percent in a country with Asia’s highest rate of deforestation.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the only province or sub-national entity to be inducted in the Bonn Challenge. Set up in 2011, the Bonn Challenge calls for the restoration of 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2020.

More than 20 countries so far have responded to the challenge, expressing an ambition to restore more than 60 million hectares by 2020, with more commitments expected.