ISLAMABAD, Jul 14 (APP):The Billion Tree Afforestation Project (BTAP), owing to its successful implementation attains global recognition forcing the organizers to consider it for United Nations Climate Action Award 2019, to be announced in Chile.
BTAP, after the mass afforestation initiatives implemented in China, India and Ethiopia, was the world’s fourth largest project, said Chief Conservator Forest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Niaz Ali Khan talking to media delegation on exposure visit to project’s activities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The Billion Tree Tsunami project of KP has transcended to global level and even Indian media’ in the Hindu Times has acknowledged it, which is a testimony to its credit and success” he added.
He said, “KP is the only province among 46 countries registered with Bonn Challenge which is set to cover 150 million hectors (ha) of degraded and deforested land till 2020 and 348,000 ha in 2030, across the globe.
The project has another distinction as an amount of Rs12.5 billion against the total cost of Rs19.448 was incurred whereas 80 per cent saplings were produced from private nurseries and 20 per cent stock was raised at departmental nurseries, said the project director Muhammad Tehmasib Khan.
SUPARCO has visited 500 BTAP sites through satellite images and drone and detected 88-95 per cent change in forest cover.”
additional 208 million plants in 1 billion tree target were managed through sowing, prevention from forest fires, grass cutting and aerial broadcasting which gave 20-25 per cent successful results, Tehmasib said.
He said project was strictly monitored, “As many as 350 persons of the forest department got dismissed and punished after investigation of various charges alleged under BTAP and Rs69 lac fine has been imposed on three officers in Dera Ismail Khan on corruption charges,” he said. “It exhibits how strong accountability and transparency is being ensured to make a project complete success” he added.
The project generated 5 million green jobs through which mostly the local community got benefited, he said.
The media delegation was taken to three different plantation sites of Gari Chandan Peshawar, Hero shah Malakand and Baldhair Hazara Forest Division.
“Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has restored over 22 per cent of its forest cover after implementation of BTAP with over 5 per cent forest cover achieved across the country. Prior to BTAP plantation has been carried out at a meager level with scarce resources given and inattention of the then ruling political elite,” Chief Conservator Malakand Division Muhammad Riaz said.
The plantation in all 83 sites was being carried out in 4 years with all local species including Chir, Sanatha, Keekar, Phulai, Ber and eucalyptus where Chir is the dominant tree of the division, he added.
The plantation done by the local people was executed on over 3100 ha and around 33,32,500 plants were planted over 149 sites, the Chief Conservator Forest said.
He lauded the efforts of former Secretary Forest Syed Nazar Hussain Shah who burnt the mid night oil to make BTAP a success.
A Billion Tree Afforestation Project (BTAP) plantation has increased the forest cover in Hazara Forest Division to 9.6 per cent.
The Forest Department in Hazara Forest Division along with BTAP plantation voluntarily organized vegetation in adopted sites mainly sideways of Hazara Motorway, said Conservator Hazara Forest Division Malik Sagheer Ahmed.
“The voluntarily done plantation on the adopted sites has not been reported in the BTAP. However, at the outset our plantation across the Hazara Motorway do not reap full results. After repeated sowing in the region showed positive results where erected plants at their initial stage could be seen at the moment. There have been local species of trees planted on the sideways of Hazara Motorway to encourage natural ecology,” Malik Sagheer told the media team visiting the BTAP plantation sites in Hazara Forest region.
“The local species being planted on the sideways of Hazara Motorway include Keekar, Sanatha, Phulai, Iple Iple, Heaven Tree, Eucalyptus and Popular. The sideways are the National Highways Authority (NHA)’s acquired land and the local community has nothing to do with it,” he noted.