Project Director, Billion Trees Afforstration Project (BTAP), Muhammad Tehmasip Khan has said all necessary arrangements have been completed for formal launching of massive plantation activities of monsoon season starting from July 15 across the province.
Talking to APP, he said Forest Department KP was going to formally launch massive afforestration campaign of monsoon season from 15th July for which nurseries on 540 hectares with 130.5billion plants mostly native species have been raised.
Tehmasip said PC-1 of 10 BTAP under ‘Plant for Pakistan has been approved under which 50pc share each would be provided by Federal and KP Governments to achieve plantations target of one billion saplings during next four years in the province.
Federal Government would provide Rs7.5 billion and KP Government would contribute Rs2billion for plantations related activities during 2019-20 under 10BTAP in the province, he said.
Maximum plantation would be carried out in merged areas of erstwhile Fata where about Rs9 billion would be spent on afforstration related activities during next five years, he informed.
First manmade forest on pattern of ‘Changa Manga’ had been raised on 32,000 hectares at Ghari Chandan near Peshawar where 3.2 billion saplings mostly native plants were planted during 2014-17 to control temperature and air pollution besides bolstering chances of rains.
“The growing trees at Ghari Chandan have now gained a height of 12 feet within a period of four years, which would help mitigate air pollution and climate change in Peshawar,” he informed.
Approximately 35 per cent are eucalyptus, 40 per cent palosa, 20 per cent shisham and remaining are bair, kanair, kiker were raised at Ghari Chandan.
Tehmasip said a record 1.20 billion trees including 42 different native plants were planted in first phase of BTAP in Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
To a question about recent fire incidents in some areas of KP, he said about one lakh saplings planted on private lands were burnt in 124 fire incidents during last two months in the province.
“Throwing of lighted cigarettes on increased grass in forests by people and high temperature are major causes of fire incidents,” he said, adding 11 forest officials died and six disabled for life during BTAP afforstration campaign.
“Forests produce oxygen for us and absorb carbon dioxide and people cooperation is imperative to protect and safeguard it.”
He urged the communities, people and tourists to demonstrate extreme care while preparation of meals in open during visits in forests areas and not throw lighted cigarettes there. “It is our forests and we all must protect it for our future generation,” he said.
Tehmasip admitted that some Shisham trees have been affected apparently by the dieback disease in Swabi, Charsadda and Mardan district and research was underway to find out its causes and permanent solution.
He said tees deserve as much attention as we give to our children and if every person plant it least ten saplings in one year and properly look after it then the target of 10 billion trees could easily be achieved.