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Pakistan is rapidly rehabilitating its forest cover area, primarily to fight the adverse effects of climate change and to promote tourism in its northern scenic valleys. The 10 Billion Tsunami Tree Plantation Drive by the incumbent government has been lauded both nationally and internationally as tree plantation has never been carried out on this scale in Pakistan ever before. It is because of this rigorous approach to plantation drives that Pakistan has achieved the crucial milestone by meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13 targets, 10 years ahead of time. These targets call for urgent actions to combat climate change and its impacts. Let’s explore all about plantation drives in Pakistan and how you can contribute towards the sustainable plantation.
Plantation Drives In Pakistan
After the Climate Risk Index 2020, Germanwatch put Pakistan as the fifth most vulnerable country to climate change, the incumbent government realized that the best time to address the pressing issue of global warming is now. Over the past five years, Pakistan has launched a number of campaigns to address climate change. These are:
10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme
The incumbent government initiated the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme on 2nd September 2018 during Plant for Pakistan Day. According to details, this will be carried out in phases, and Phase I alone spans over four years, 2019-2023 and is costing the government a whopping PKR 125.1843 billion. However, the government expects that the benefits associated with increased forest cover in the country will ultimately outweigh the costs. This is because as the effects of climate change worsen, it affects the country’s agriculture, real estate, tourism, construction sectors, and claims hundreds of lives each year.
While the project has been adopted at the Federal level, its implementation is being carried out across Pakistan with the help of the Ministry of Climate Change which is working closely with Provincial and territorial Forest and Wildlife departments. In keeping up with these aims, the Lahore Development Authority has also initiated its tree plantation drive in Lahore. Similarly, a tree plantation drive is underway in KP, under the province’s One Billion Trees Initiative.
Clean Green Pakistan Index
This index measures the degree to which cities are sustainable. The indicators are citizens’ access to public services, city;s overall beautification, the usability of parks, and tree plantation.
Protected Areas Initiative
This initiative aims to expand Pakistan’s protected areas (mainly forest cover) from the existing 13% to 15% by the year 2023. As per the initiative, 15 National Parks, covering a land of over 7,300 square kilometres, are being rehabilitated through extensive plantation drives, and preservation of nature.
It is under this initiative that Astola Island and Chinji National Park are being developed as protected areas. Since this initiative, Pakistan has been able to increase its forest cover significantly as well because protected areas fall directly under the ambit of the Federal and Provincial governments to undertake fast-paced development.
Thar Million Tree Plantation Program
This is an initiative that has been undertaken by the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) and Thar Foundation. They’ve set a target of one million saplings till the end of 2021, and have so far planted over 900,000 plants.
As Thar is a barren land, the policy measure adopted by SECMC is to promote biosaline agriculture. This will significantly improve the forest cover area of the Tharparkar region, and facilitate agriculture for the local population. Bio saline agriculture is a complex mechanism that requires the plantation of species that can grow in saline soils, typically found in arid and semi-arid regions. Along with this, a combination of plant species is planted that helps clear the soil off of toxins, thereby making agriculture possible.
Bio-saline agriculture points us towards an interesting fact that we need to be area-specific when planting saplings. This will ensure the longevity and sustainability of the saplings. Therefore, plantation drives are a diverse mechanism and need to be carried out carefully. However, this doesn’t mean that as citizens we forego the responsibility. As the monsoon season approaches and plantation drives in Pakistan assume full speed, these are the trees’ species that you can easily plant everywhere, except for in arid regions.
How You Can Contribute Towards Plantation Drives In Pakistan
As the monsoon approaches, you can start planting tree saplings. While most people wait for the thick downpour to plant their saplings, you can start early, so by the time monsoon hits, your trees have developed strong roots and can withstand the change in weather conditions.
In most regions of Pakistan, these trees are the best bet:
Neem Tree (Indian Lilac, Margosa Tree)
Neem Tree is known for its medicinal properties and is particularly known for its thick shade. It is a resilient tree and grows in most soils, except saline. It helps fight locusts, correct soil’s Ph balance and works as a natural repellent to insects, especially mosquitoes.
This tree is particularly beautiful and can grow to medium height.
Amaltas (Golden Shower Tree)
This tree is famous for its bright yellow leaves that shine like gold in the sunlight. Amaltas also grow easily in most weather conditions and can withstand heat. Its fruit is used in herbal medicine and is also dried to use in potpourri.
Pakistan is particularly famous for its Banyan trees. You can find this tree species in most old parks and buildings. It is particularly famous for its thick shade which is created as the tree grows in the shape of a tall, thick dome. Banyan trees grow to be 100 feet tall and live up to 1,000 years. Their offshoots grow from the branches towards the tree trunk and start to grow.
This tree is slower to grow, however, is essential to Pakistan’s ecosystem especially in dry and warm climates.
Date palm tree
Date palm trees are specially grown in subtropical regions. For plantation drives in Sindh, lower Punjab, and southern Balochistan, plantation of date trees is particularly important. While the trees do not provide significant shade, they are significant in purifying the air and can contribute to the local economy if planted in large numbers.
In most countries, Gulmohar is planted across for ornamental purposes. This is a tree of warmer climates and grows rapidly, especially from May to June. Also known as delonix regia, Gulmohar is famous for its beautiful scarlet flowers, however, it is most useful for providing full shade.
This tree requires little to no care when grown in warmer climates. Seasonal rainfall can significantly boost growth. While this isn’t a tree on its own, but can be planted around trees to thicken vegetation. In most parts of Pakistan, this is grown around fruit trees. The Bougainvillea bush can climb heights to catch the sunlight, necessary for thickness and growth.
These are the most important tree species that should be planted during plantation drives in Pakistan. If you can suggest some more, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, keep checking Pakistan’s largest property blog, Zameen Blog, for the latest news on Pakistan.