Legal and Traditional forms of Concessional Rights of Forests
Forests in Pakistan are largely burdened with either legal or traditional forms of concessional rights. Managing this situation by balancing rights and resources is the duty of sub national forest departments. Forest rights, with the exception of ‘Reserved Forests’, are in practice since land settlement was done in late 18th and 19th centuries. Reserved Forests as a matter of legal provisions are often less encumbered with rights of local communities and conserved through enforcement of forest laws. Protected Forests have legally admitted rights of all descriptions as recorded in “Bandobast e Dowami”, including grazing, grass cutting, lopping for fuelwood and above all cutting of 3 mature trees every 5 years for repair of houses (Haqdaris) and even one mature tree at the demise of a family member of the right holders for burial purposes. The public forests are managed, protected, and conserved through a regulatory and punitive legislative framework by the Forest Departments. They, however, lack public ownership – that is the responsibility for sustaining forests taken by the public at large – and public participation in management of the forests. Guzara forests in Punjab and KP (Hazara) are managed in accordance with Guzara Forest Rules, 1950, allowing removal of dry wood and brushwood for domestic and other purposes. Private Forests in AJK are exploited under “Sale and development of Private Forests Rules, 1984”.
In GB, private forests are managed by the GB Forest Department. In addition to above management arrangements trees outside forests, such as trees grown on farms (agroforestry) are controlled by farmers, and trees along roads and canals are jointly managed by Forest and Irrigation Departments.
In Balochistan only 7% of the forests are under control of the Forest Department. Communities own 90% of the Chilgoza (pine) forests. The department exercises management function only.