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Forestry In Pakistan: An Institutional and policy Perspective Analysis

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Forestry, under the Constitution of Pakistan, is a provincial subject. Therefore, forests located in different provinces and territorial units are managed by the respective Provincial and Regional Forest Departments under their own policies, laws, plans, strategies, programs and institutional arrangements. The role of federal Government, which is exercised through the Ministry of Climate Change, is to formulate a national policy, plans, strategies and programs regarding ecology, forestry, wildlife, biodiversity and desertification, and coordination of different forestry, wildlife and biodiversity related environmental agreements with provinces, with other countries, international agencies and forums.

At the federal level, the Office of Inspector General of Forests (OIGF), a wing of Ministry of Climate Change, looks after the affairs of forestry. The OIGF is assisted by two Deputy Inspector General Forests, Conservator Wildlife, Director Biodiversity, Assistant Inspector General Forests, two Deputy Conservator Wildlife, Deputy Director Biodiversity and Assistant Secretary-Wildlife.

Within provinces and territories, there are Provincial/Regional Forestry Provincial Department is headed by a Chief Conservator of Fo y Departments. Each rests, who is assisted by Conservator of Forests in each forest circle. The basic unit of Forest Administration is Forest Division which is administered by a Divisional Forest Officer, who is assisted by Sub-divisional Forest Officers and Range Forest Officers.

Forest Tenure and Ownership

Provinces and territories in Pakistan have full ownership rights to forests located in their respective jurisdictions. These ownership rights include the right of possession, control, the right of exclusion, the right of enjoyment, and the right of disposition and transaction. In term of ownership at the provincial level, forests and privately owned forests. Government owned forests include reserved forests, state forests, demarcated forests, un-demarcated forests Protected forests, resumed lands, village forests and un-classed forests. Privately-owned forests include Guzara forests, community forests, protected wastelands, Section 38 forests and Chos Act areas.

Reserved forests, state forests and demarcated forests are exclusively owned by the Government and free of rights and privileges. These are the strictest categories of forests in terms of governance and access. All acts and activities are prohibited until and unless permitted by the Government. The total area under these categories of forests is 1.53 million ha ( 34% of the total forest area). Protected forests and un-demarcated forests are those forests where local communities have established rights and concessions. All.acts and activities are permitted unless prohibited by the Government through proper notifications or through the promulgation of rules in respect of such matters. Resumed lands are those private lands which have been taken over by the Government under various Land Reforms and are under the control of Forest Department. Similarly, village forests are those forests which have been assigned by the relevant Provincial Government for the use of a village community through a proper notification or rules. In KP such forests are managed by the Joint Forest Management Committees. The total area under protected forests, un-demarcated forests, resumed lands and village forests is 1.980 million ha (44% of the total forest area).

Private forests including Guzara Forests, Community Forests and Protected wastelands are jointly owned by communities or families and managed by the Provincial Forest Departments. Owners of these forests can only exercise their rights with permission of the Forest Departments. All acts and activities which harm the trees or forest resources are prohibited by the Forest Department. Right holders are granted timber, fuelwood and other products for their genuine domestic requirements after permission and proper assessment by the Forest Departments. Section 38 are those private lands or wastelands whose owners may hand over the management of these lands to the government to be managesanaged by the Forest Department as a forest on such terms and conditions which may be mutually agreed upon. The total area under private forests is about °, million ha (22% of the total area).
At Federal forest policy After partition, the 1894 policy of united India became irrelevant for forest deficient Pakistan; hence from 1955 onwards, Pakistan developed its own forest policies. After 1955, different forest policies were framed by various governments in 1962, 1980, 1990 and 2016. The latest National Forest Policy was developed by the Ministry of Climate Change in 2016 which was approved by the Council of Common Interest in 2017. However, provinces are still not ready to build consensus on this policy due to devolution of environment sector under 18th Constitutional Amendment.
The current national forest policy strives to shift the main focus of forest management from wood production to securing ecosystem services. It emphasizes upon expansion, protection and sustainable use of national forests; protected areas; natural habitats and watersheds to restore ecological functions; improve livelihoods and secure human safety in consonance with national priorities and international agreements. In addition, all the objectives are tuned to promote ecological, social and cultural functions of forests through sustainable management and optimum use of forest products including wood and non-wood forest products. It also strives to promote ecological corridors, enhancing role and contribution of forests in reducing carbon emissions and enhancing forest carbon pools, facilitating implementation of international conventions and agreements related to forestry, wetlands, biodiversity and climate change.

Provincial forest policies

Being a provincial subject, each province and territory has developed and is implementing its own provincial forest policy for the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of forests located in the province / territory. these include the maintenance and appropriate enhancement of forest resources and their contribution to global carbon cycles; maintenance of forests ecosystem health and vitality, maintenance and encouragement of productive functions of forests (wood and non-wood); maintenance, and conservation enhancement of biological diversity in forest ecosystems; maintenance, conservation and appropriate enhancement of protective functions in forest management (notably soil and water) and maintenance of other socio-economic functions and conditions

Forest laws, rules and regulations

The management and regulatory oversight of forestry operations in each province/territory in Pakistan is undertaken in accordance with their own legislative and regulatory framework. The legislative and regulatory framework of each province is designed and meant to ensure the protection, conservation and sustainable management of forests. The laws cover aspects related to forest protection and conservation, planning and review, public participation, and the regulation of forest management activities in government owned forests, private/community forests.

Forest management plans

The role of forests management plans prepared by different provincial forest departments is to The role of forest management plans p p determine, set, express and realize the objectives of forest management in a specified area of forest and to set out the steps to be taken to achieve those objectives. The preparation and Implementation of forest management plans used to be an integral part of forest plarvnneisntgnagnin management throughout Pakistan. However, since the imposition of ban on timber harvesting in 1992, now most of the provinces, except KP are not preparing and implementing formal forest management plans.

This practice needs to be revived as forest management plans are integral to the process of planning and implementing practices for the stewardship and use of forests which are targeted and aim at the achievement of specific environmental, economic, and social objectives of forests.

Forest development programs

Both long-term and medium-term development programs restoration, development and sustainable management of forests at both federal and provincial levels. Funding for these development programs comes through the public Sector Development Program (PSDP). Example of this is the on-going Ten Billion Tree Tsunami . Afforestation Program which is being implemented throughout Pakistan provincial forest and wildlife departments. The Ministry of Climate Change is overseeing program coordination, execution, supervision, and overall delivery of the program outputs and activities.

Similarly, each province prepares and implements forestry development programs from their own Annual Development Programs (ADPs), which are executed and supervised by the concerned provinces.

The Pakistan Forest Carbon Partnership Facility/REDD+ Initiative

Pakistan has been engaged with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility of the World since 2013. A of this program, Pakistan so far has implemented/is implementing the following key milestones part tones under the Readiness Fund of the Facility:
■ 2013: Readiness Plan Idea Note (R-PIN)

■ 2014: Readiness Preparation Plan (R-PP)

■ 2017: Mid Term Progress Report and Request for Additional Funding

■ 2019: Readiness Package (R-Package)
As part of this program, it has produced the following key documents related to REDD+ Readiness and has therefore met the requirements of REDD+ Readiness:

■ National REDD+ Strategy and Action Plan

■ National Forest Monitoring Systems (including the REDD+ MRV system)

■ Forest Reference Emission/Forest Reference Level (FREL/FRL)

■ Safeguards Information System (SIS)


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