Forest Biodiversity includes the ecosystem, the flora and fauna that resides within it, as well as the existing human population. Biodiversity conservation is a complex task requiring efforts on a number of fronts. This includes the initial step of awareness-raising and advocacy, the assessment of the resources and various factors affecting Biodiversity, the formulation of comprehensive strategies and policies, the formulation and implementation of conservation projects, and above all monitoring and evaluation. All these important steps require the active involvement of various stakeholders, including the community, government, NGOs, assisting organisations and donors. These stakeholders play an essential role that contributes to sustainable forestry resource management and conservation.
With the assistance of donors, both the government and NGOs have implemented a number of environmental conservation projects. Although the total number of these conservation projects is large, their descriptions and contribution to conservation efforts is beyond the scope of this assignment. The NCS implementation unit was established in the Ministry of Environment to oversee the implementation and follow-up of the NCS. However, some projects and programmes of direct relevance to Biodiversity are briefly described below.
4.6.1 Environmental Rehabilitation in NWFP and Punjab
This project covers three sites in the upland areas of Pakistan, which is Murree-Kahuta in the Punjab province, and Galiat and Dir Kohistan in the NWFP province. The Government of Pakistan and the Commission of European Communities fund this project, whereas the European Commission, the GoP, along with the IUCN is the direct co-operating agencies for the implementation of the project. The project covers the period from October 1996 to December 2003.
The main objective of the project is to bring a halt to and effect the reversal of the on-going processes of environmental degradation. This will be achieved through integrated measures for natural resource rehabilitation, sustainable socio-economic development, and the sustainable use of natural resources. The project envisages the full involvement of the locals in the management of natural resources, on which they depend. This project addresses six out of fourteen core programme areas recommended by the NCS. These include the integration of population and environment programmes; the support of institutions for common resources; developing and deploying renewable resources; the protection of watersheds; the conservation of Biodiversity, and the maintenance of soils in croplands.
4.6.2 Kalam Integrated Development Project (KIDP)
This is a Swiss-funded multi-sectoral project, dealing with agriculture, forestry, and village development. Its aim is to raise the socio-economic conditions of the local people through sustainable agriculture and forest management. The community has been organised into village and women's organisations. Community participation in resource management is the essential aspect of this project. The project was very effective in motivating the local communities to manage their forests. It promoted off-season vegetables, which provided substantial income to the local people. It ultimately reduced their dependence on harvesting of the natural forest. Similarly, the purchase of royalties by contractors was largely halted, which has also helped in the conservation of natural forests.
4.6.3 Social Forestry Project Malakand/Dir
The Dutch-assisted Social Forestry Project is a pioneering forestry project for the rehabilitation of the denuded hillside of a fragile ecosystem in the district Dir, and Malakand Agency. The project has been very successful in promoting community involvement for natural resource development and conservation. A number of useful tools such as Village Land Use Planning have been developed by this project, and have been adopted by a large number of other forestry projects.
4.6.4 Environmental Rehabilitation Project, Swat, Bunir, and Chitral
This is another important forestry project in the uplands of Pakistan. The project is funded by the Dutch and the World Food Programme (WFP) and aims to control erosion and rehabilitate degraded sites. The project is carrying out a large-scale afforestation programme through community participation, and has been particularly effective in the environmental protection of community and private lands.
4.6.5 Tarbela-Mangla Watershed Management Project
This project has been under implementation for the last 20-25 years, and aims to control erosion and silt deposit control in the Tarbela and Mangla Dams. A participatory approach has been undertaken to raise large-scale plantations. The WFP and the German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ) is the main funding agencies of this project.
4.6.6 Siren Valley Forestry Development Project
The Siren Valley Forestry Development Project is under implementation in the district of Mansehra and is a successor project of the Kaghan Intensive Project. This was operative in the reserved forests of Kaghan Valley for approximately 14 years. The Siren Valley Forestry Development Project is funded by the German and NWFP Governments, and aims to promote sustainable forest management.
4.6.7 Forestry Management Centre (FMC), NWFP
The Forestry Management Centre is a Swiss-funded project that aims to assist the preparation of forestry management plans for all the forests in NWFP by adopting participatory planning. The role of the FMC is a crucial one, as it prepares management plans for important ecosystems in the upper catchment of the country.
Beside these projects, a large number of donor-funded projects are contributing to sustainable forest management and conservation in Pakistan. Examples are the Suketar Watershed Management Project, the Northern Resource Management Project, and Bhimbar Project in Azad Jammu Kashmir. The Northern Areas Development Project and the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme operates in the Northern Areas. The Mithawan Watershed Management in D.G. Khan and the Forestry Sector Development Project operate in Punjab. The Balochistan Area Development Project is operating in Balochistan, while in Sindh the Forestry Development Project is in operation.