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Pakistan hits billion trees goal ahead of schedule

Date: 27-Nov-18
Author: Liam Taylor

Much of Pakistan's rugged natural environment has been compromised by human activity. Image: Abdul Rafay Shaikh/Unsplash © Abdul Rafay Shaikh

Much of Pakistan's rugged natural environment has been compromised by human activity. Image: Abdul Rafay Shaikh/Unsplash

The nation’s massive reforestation project, the Billion Tree Tsunami, has achieved its goal of planting one billion saplings in the country’s north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Over the last 50 years Pakistan’s forests have been dramatically depleted, with the country’s total forest cover estimated to compose just 2-5% of total land area. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was particularly affected by forest felling, resulting in increased prevalence of destructive and often fatal floods and landslides.

As a result, former cricket-star turned politician Imran Khan spearheaded the Billion Tree Tsunami in 2014 to restore the region’s depleted forest cover and fight the effects of climate change. With Pakistan listed among the six countries that will be most affected by global warming, the project was warmly received and supported by local communities.

In addition to the environmental benefits, the project also involved establishing a network of private nurseries, creating employment for young people and women in the province while boosting local incomes.

Image: IUCN

The billion trees planted means over 348,400 hectares of forest cover have been added in the region, making Billion Tree Tsunami the first Bonn Challenge pledge to reach its restoration goal. The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.

The popularity of the project has prompted the federal government to launch its own greening program called Green Pakistan, which will plant 100 million trees across the country over the next five years.


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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.

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