The following are the recommendations listed during the process of the preparation of this report.
4.7.1 Sustainable Forestry
There is need to develop a strategy aiming at sustainable forestry development by adopting holistic and integrated resource management principles through active community participation. This will require a change in the role of the managers, the active participation of communities and other stakeholders; capacity building; and the sharing of benefits on an equitable basis. Sustainable forest development also demands consistent policies and strategies for achieving both short and long-term goals, in addition to a clear-cut vision, and strong political will to realise the objectives of the policies in true spirit. Decentralisation and devolution also play a crucial role in sustainable forest management. In some provinces, the Forest Department has already started these processes, but donor assistance plays a major role in this process. It is not known that whether these changes will continue once donor support is discontinued.
Indicators are ways to measure or describe criteria and provide a common framework for describing, monitoring, and evaluating progress towards sustainable forest management. This concept is a relatively new initiative in sustainable forest management, and is considered a very useful tool for adjusting forest policy and adopting other measures to sustain forestry. Globally, more than 150 countries are currently participating in international processes aimed at the development and implementation of national level criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management.
In Pakistan, the process of identification and adoption of criteria and indicators has not yet begun. The initiation of this process is crucial due to the tremendous changes in socio-economic and other factors. In the absence of an effective monitoring and evaluation tool, land degradation would reach an irreversible limit. It is hoped that with the implementation of the BAP and the establishment of the Biodiversity Secretariat in the MELGRD this process will find its footing.
Trees and forest ecosystems have many uses that are economically important, but do not involve cutting. Presently our management plans do not focus on promoting non-destructive uses as tools for conservation. Gums, wild fruits, ecotourism and honey are some uses that need to be focused on in the future plans of forest management. Moreover, the social and environmental services of the forest continue to grow. These include global climatic change, soil conservation, conservation of biological diversity, employment generation and the provision of recreational opportunities.
This section describes Pakistan’s wildlife, its present status, the major threats to wildlife Biodiversity, and the actions that have been taken or are proposed for its protection.
For the purpose of this report, wildlife includes all vertebrates except fish, domesticated animals and human beings. Other broader definitions of wildlife include all plants and animals in wild ecosystems. Wildlife management is therefore concerned with the abundance and distribution of vertebrate species. Wildlife managers must also manage habitats, including vegetation and invertebrates which are food for, or causes of disease to wildlife.
Wildlife management is the science and art of changing the characteristics and the interaction of habitat, wild animal populations and man in order to achieve specific human goals by means of wildlife resources.
Until recently, most wildlife management has focused on game animals. With the growing realisation that all wild vertebrates possess important values, the scope of wildlife management has been broadened to include predators, songbirds, furbearers and vertebrate pests. Box 4 gives an account of the steps undertaken for conserving the brown bear - species whose killing holds an economic incentive. Box 5 gives some detail on the crocodile, whose killing also holds an economic incentive.
Box 4: Protecting the Himalayan Brown Bear in Deosai Plains7
Encircled by the Himalayan Mountains and in close proximity to the breathtaking Karakorum Range, the Deosai Plains are a fascinating exhibition of nature and unique wildlife with an average height of 13,000 feet. The Plains are home to the ibex, red fox, golden marmot, wolf, the Ladakh urial, the snow leopard, the Himalayan brown bear, and a number of resident and migratory birds. They make up one of the last frontiers of natural habitat for the Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos). Having long been a prize kill for poachers and hunters, the brown bear, Pakistan’s largest omnivore, is presently on the verge of extinction. Only 27 bears remained in the Deosai plains in 1998. The Deosai National Park was established in 1993 as part of a joint effort between the Himalayan Wildlife Foundation (HWF), the Northern Areas Forestry, Parks and Wildlife Department, and local communities. This was done to secure the survival of the brown bear in the Deosai Plains. These efforts have included involving local communities in the conservation process, co-ordinating with the local administration for the legal establishment of the Deosai National Park, and carrying out surveys and research on the brown bears and other biological resources. The field staff of the HWF conduct surveys at regular intervals to document the movement, behaviour and mortality of the bears. The bears are monitored using the technique of darting. After darting, the animal's vital signs are checked to ensure that no risk to the animal's life has been incurred. Samples of blood, teeth, hair and tissues are taken to get vital biological information about the species.
Box 5: Mugger Crocodiles
No recent survey data is available on mugger Crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris). This species was considered endangered or very rare in the early 1980s (Groombridge 1982). The most recent survey was conducted by the Zoological Survey of Pakistan during 1997. Five hundred specimens were recorded at Makhi and Baqar Dhand of the Chotiiari reservoir. Plans for the winter survey during the 1999-2000 season are underway. The Sindh Wildlife Department recorded One thousand specimens in 1999 in Sanghar district. The species is now considered safe in Sindh. Crocodile recovery has been associated with a conservation project in the Deh Akro no. 2 Taluka Nawabshah. The project began in 1983, and current estimates place the crocodile population at about 2000 (Ahmad 1990). In Balochistan, the widespread killing of crocodiles has threatened the majority of the local populations. Many crocodiles were reported killed in the River Hingol during a period of low water in 1986-1987 (Khan 1989). Principal threats include killing for sale of the hide, killing by fishermen, as well as killing for the collection of specimens for laboratories and museums (Khan 1988).