Deforestration Pakistan has been a problem since the English times and its ever growing although the government of Pakistan and NGOs like AKRSP have done some efforts of reforestration but there is still need of greater efforts to increase tree specially in the mountain areas where landslides have become very common.
Following is a letter published in Chitral News about deforestration of Kalash Villages in the hindukush.
The Kalash people live in three isolated mountain valleys of? Bumboret, Rumbur and Biri in the District Chitral, NWFP of Pakistan. These valleys are opening towards the Kunar River, some 20 km south (downstream) of Chitral, The Bumboret and Rumbur valleys join at 35?44?20?N 71?43?40?E (1640 m), joining the Kunar at the village of Ayun (35?42?52?N 71?46?40?E, 1400 m) and they each rise to passes connecting to Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province at about 4500 m.
The Birir valley opens towards the Kunar at the village of Gabhirat (35?40?8?N 71?45?15?E, 1360 m). A pass connects the Birir and Bumboret valleys at about 3000 m. The Kalash villages in all three valleys are located at a height of approximately 1900 to 2200 m.
For a country?s environmental and economic well being it is essential that 25% of its territory is covered with forest. According to Chitral Conservation Strategy, the District Chitral has only 4.5% of its land under forest. Kalash valley has been the best forest resource in the District and provides a lot of timber; fire wood and other non-timber forest produces to the other part of the district. On the other hand, the high mountains in which the major part of the resource is situated are catchments of the river chitral. Similarly local communities depend on the resource for their timber and fuel wood needs, fodder for cattle, and a general source of livelihood. The importance of the resource for the wild life habitat, environmental conservation, and bio diversity cannot be over stated. On these accounts sustainable management of the forest resource in the valley is extremely important and at the same time highly complicated.
Deforestation, overgrazing and cultivation on the steep slopes have accelerated erosion and run off and flash flood. Flooding takes a heavy toll of agriculture lands and villages. They poor people depend on livestock and marginal agriculture for subsistence. As the population increase, so do livestock numbers. Land holding is too small to sustain such a livelihood. Local community overgrazes forest, hillside and alpine pasture, and cultivates the vulnerable watershed form cultivation
The entire Valley is a very sensitive watershed and susceptible to erosion due to its rough topography and steep slope. Deforestation is high. The ecological damage inflict due to deforestation is most disastrous. Loss of forest quality translates into loss of biodiversity. The degradation of forest results in the loss of important carbon ?SINKs? and erosion is given boost. Erosion has led to not only decline in fertility and desertification in some areas of the valley but the run off deposition in irrigation channels of the valley, that feed the agriculture crops put pressure on the waterways. One of the unique features of deforestation in kalasha valley is the decline of Juniper forest from the valley, which is considered to be very important holly tree by the Kalash community.
? To combat deforestation in the valley, the most obvious step to take is to t plant more trees.
? Alternative source of fuel and fuel-efficient technology should be introduced in the valley.
? Reforestation and afforestation drives must be multiplied and effort should be made to check illegal logging.
? Non-timber forest produce should be promoted as alternative to forest logging in the valley, so as to provide alternative source of income.
? The entire kalash valley should be declared as Kalash National park in order to protect the unique culture and rich biodiversity of the valley.