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Defining Technical and Extension Forestry Systems

Technical systems refer to the professional science-based expertise to be used for forest management. It includes the continuous development of knowledge on forests and technological management tools based on scientific research. Another aspect of the technical systems concerns the technical way forests are being managed. It deals with forest management planning, forest utilization, forest regeneration, and forest resource monitoring.

It includes technical recommendations for forest management which are directly linked to the application of research results in the management of forests, for example enhancement of biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and other ecological services. The link between research and applied technical forest management is crucial in keeping forest management up to a high standard. Forestry extension refers to the task of the forest services of engaging local communities in forest management (Onumadu et al., 2001).

International experience in forest management for over more than a century has shown that forest departments cannot manage forests sustainably without involving communities living in or around the forests. Extension theory and practice has evolved during last 4-5 decades from concepts of transfer of technology and market-oriented extension systems to facilitate participatory and social learning. The last few decades of increased population pressure resulting in increased legal or illegal use of forest resources have shown that sustainable forest management cannot succeed without involvement of local communities (Agbogidi, and Ofuoku, 2009). This process of engagement is termed forestry extension.

It includes guiding and involving local communities in planning, utilization, regeneration and monitoring of natural resources. It requires benefit sharing mechanisms that take the livelihood of the community into account. Forest extension includes promotion of plantations on private lands and development of agroforestry systems, dissemination of relevant information, and advice to farmers.

As per agreed ToRs of the assignment, the following aspects of technical and extension systems of the forest services are examined in this study: Legal context of forests and forest management Policies and policy implementation Technical management of forests Forestry extension and outreach Organizational roles and responsibilities Coordination mechanisms Human and financial capacities.

Legal context of forests and forest management

Forest management systems in Pakistan being applied in different provinces vary depending on the forest classification and rights/ ownership/ tenure regimes in the respective provinces. The main legal categories of forests include Reserved, Protected, Unclassed, Resumed, Guzara and Communal forests. Forest types based on vegetative and ecological parameters include coniferous, scrub, riverine, coastal, and irrigated forests. The first Forest Act in sub-continent was passed in 1865 and subsequently rules were framed under this Act for protection of forest in 1872.

Under the amended Regulation, the tree bearing lands of Hazara were divided into two categories: The Government Reserved Forests and the public wastelands, later called the ‘guzara’ forests. The Reserved Forests were handed over to the Forest Department for management and the guzara forests were set aside to meet the domestic requirements of the local people. The Government retained the right to conserve and manage them and charged a share on their sale proceeds known as the ‘seigniorage fee’. The later decades of the 19′ century (1871-1900) were marked by the passing of forest legislation, reservation of forests, forest settlement, demarcation, survey, and protection (GM Khattak, 1976).

The ‘Indian Forest Act, 1927’, was under implementation when Pakistan and India were created as two sovereign independent countries in 1947. The same Act was adopted by Pakistan with the changed name of Pakistan Forest Act 1927. The Act contains provisions for declaration and protection of forests. This law applies to the state-owned reserved forests, protected forests, communal forests, and privately-owned lands managed by the Forest Departments. The subject of forestry falls in the provincial domain.

The provincial Governments and Governments of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) are responsible to manage forest resources in their respective jurisdiction under different tenurial and legal and customary concessional rights (see also box 2-1). The state-owned forests in Punjab, Sindh, and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) are managed under the Forest Act 1927; whereas in Balochistan both the Forest Regulation 1890 (amended in 1974) as well as the Forest Act 1927 are applicable simultaneously, and in GB forestry resources are managed under GB Forest Act 2019. In the KP i province the Forest Ordinance 2002 is in practice. The Government of AJK manages its forestry resources under the AJK Forest Regulation 1930 (Amendment) Act 2017.

Legal and traditional forms of concessional rights

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.

The functions of the Federal Government regarding forests are given in the Rules of Business 2012. The Office of the Inspector General of Forests (01GF) in the capacity of technical wing of the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) is mandated to perform functions of 1) formulation of national policy, plans, strategies and programmes regarding ecology, forestry, wildlife, biodiversity and desertification, and 2) coordination, monitoring, and implementation of environmental agreements with other countries, international agencies, and forums.

The current forest laws and regulations at the sub national level (Table 2-1) are mostly deficient and have yet to incorporate modern management requirements for changing scenarios in the forestry sector. These changes may include mainstreaming community participation, benefit sharing with forest-dependent communities, biodiversity conservation, payment for ecosystem services, climate change adaptation, REDD+, landscape and ecosystem-based management and buffer zone management around protected reas.


Forest Policies and Policy Implementation

This section gives a brief overview of the policies that remained active in Pakistan. Historically most of policy initiatives were aimed at forest protection and conservation and largely ignored the provisions for-community participation or participatory forest management. The mindset behind such policies was to see communities as intruders (Nizami, 2012; Shahbaz, 2009; Shahbaz and Ali, 2009; Ali, 2010; Ali, 2009; Nyborg, 2002). However, the continuous degradation of forests suggested that the management results were not essentially in favour of the resources nor people (RRI, 2013; Fischer et at 2010; FAO, 2010; FAO 2007; Ahmad and Mahmood, 1998).

National policies

The current national forest policy was approved in 2015. It provides new concepts such as sustainable forest management, stakeholder participation, biodiversity conservation, and promotion of ecological, social, and cultural functions. In addition, other sectoral policies like the National Climate Change Policy 2012 and the National Environment Policy 2005 also recognize the importance of forest conservation measures. Similarly, draft national wetland and wildlife policies are in line with the objectives of national forest policy. Also, approved strategies and plans like Mangroves for the Future (MFF) and National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) to implement provisions under CBD are supportive to the overall objective of the national forest policy.

Pakistan has submitted its updated NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) to combat climate change related negative impacts (MOCC, 2021). Under this submission, the country intends to reduce up to 50% of its 2030 projected GHG emissions with a 15% reduction using the country’s own resources and an additional 35% subject to the availability of international financial support. The targets include to sequester 148.76 MtCO2e emissions over the next ten years through the Ten Billion Tree Afforestation Program (TBTAP), and in the short-term enhancing protected areas from 12% to 15% in 2023. The important component of the updated NDC submitted to UNFCCC is to adopt a path of clean energy and strengthen its poorly managed forestry sector.

The guiding policy documents in this regard are National Climate Change Policy 2012 (revised in 2021) and National Forest Policy 2015 providing a framework for addressing the challenges of climate change adaptation and mitigation in Pakistan. Pakistan also adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. Pakistan is one of the few countries that achieved ‘Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action’ in 2020. This goal is not so much related to specific climate mitigation or adaption targets; those are left to the NDC. It rather refers to laying the foundation to achieve the targets of the NDC. It includes knowledge and capacity building activities on climate change and climate related disasters, the integration of climate change measures in policies and planning (PC-1s), as well as the implementation of UNFCCC (action plan for NDC) and the promotion of mechanisms to raise capacity for management and planning (number of capacity building activities).

In 1947, Pakistan adopted the Indian Forest Act 1927 and renamed it as the Pakistan Forest Act 1927. Since then, most of the provincial forest departments, such as GB, Punjab, Sindh, and partly Balochistan, are using this act as their principal legal framework to manage forest resources. KP and AJK have made necessary changes to the act through the KP Forest Ordinance 2002 and the Jammu and Kashmir Forest Regulation (Amendment) Act 2017.

Sub-national Forest Policies

KP, Punjab, and Sindh provinces have approved forest policies, which were promulgated in 1999 and 2019, respectively. Forest policy formulation process in Balochistan and GB has been initiated recently, whereas a revised draft forest policy 2019 is under implementation in AJK (Table 2-2). The basic goal of these sub-national approved and draft policies is to put Pakistan on a sustainable forest management path. The progress in this regard should be measured through improvement in the health of forests and increase in forest cover.

Other sub national policy instruments and plans such as policies on wildlife, climate change, environment, and provincial biodiversity strategies and action plans are also important building blocks to support management of forests on sustainable basis. In case of KP the forest department has a challenge ahead to integrate management of the forests of the newly merged districts (erstwhile FATA) in its policies and operations. Pakistan’s recently developed national forest policy is an attempt to align with country’s national needs and international obligation. The process of alignment and harmonization for and among various frame conditions relevant to forest resources may be needed at sub national level.


At level of objectives, all sub-national forest policies mention the importance of sustainable forest management and forest use broader than timber production. They refer directly or indirectly to biodiversity conservation and addressing climate change. They also state that they contribute to meeting national and international commitments. In GB and Balochistan where policy development is in process, the protection function of forests has been highlighted for fragile watersheds and for poor communities.

Technical management of forests: objectives, strategies, tools and monitoring

The forests of Pakistan reflect great physiographic, climatic, and edaphic contrasts. Pakistan is an oblong stretch of land between the Arabian Sea and Karakoram mountains. Topographically, the country has a continuous massive mountainous tract in the north, the west and south-west and a large fertile plain, the Indus plain (PFI 2016). Based on climatic conditions, topographical variations and climax vegetation species, Pakistan possess different forest types (see Table 2-3 for details).


Forest management systems being applied in different sub-national entities of Pakistan vary depending on the forest classification (vegetation types) and legal categories (tenure and user rights) in respective provinces. The main categories of forests based on legal classifications include State, Reserved, Protected, Guzara, Unclassed, Resumed, and Communal forests.

The forest management working plans of the forest departments are generally approached from a traditional perspective, geared mainly to the objective of conservation and the production of timber (although a ban on timber harvesting exists) and somehow taking into account the local use of ‘by-products’ such as firewood, grasses/grazing and non-timber forest products (NTFPs). The emphasis is on ‘territorial forestry’, i.e., state-controlled forests, which has always had its focus on the production of timber, and not on other objectives.

There are several (traditional) silvicultural systems in practice throughout the world (Troup 1952). The systems, applied in Pakistan are adaptations of some of these systems. When the regeneration is of seedling origin, the systems are termed High Forest systems, as contrasted with the Coppice systems. If the forests contain trees of all age classes and regeneration operations are dispersed throughout the whole forest, the system will be classed as a Selection system. Alternatively, in case forest compartments contain trees of a restricted age range only and regeneration operations will be limited to units in which the trees are near the end of the rotation, the system will be called Concentrated regeneration system.

The atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major factor in forest productivity and at the same time forests play an important role in mitigation and control of climatic conditions when they uptake or sequester large amounts of carbon or release CO2 to the atmosphere. The climate change will have an impact on forest ecosystems. If appropriate and timely actions are not taken the impact will be greater. Pakistan has already changed the forest management from forest extraction to conservation. Due to challenges posed by climate change coupled with biodiversity loss and increasing population pressure on forest, the forest management strategies also need to be updated engaging local communities. Consequently, forest monitoring systems would need

adjustment to these new objectives, including developing improved forest monitoring measurement techniques and indicators. The current monitoring system is mainly geared toward afforestation targets, survival and regeneration rates. Use of technology in forest monitoring (e.g, GIS) is still in its infancy stage in the provinces.

Continuous learning from the latest research and new approaches to sustainable forest management is missing. Some development in this regard is, however, noted particularly in KP and Punjab with the presence of extension wings which were also intermittently supported by different national and international donor funded projects. Such improved strategies, however, have not been mainstreamed in the forest management working plans and reflected in the human resources.

The use of new tools and methods are now being introduced especially with the introduction of REDD+ Readiness initiatives in Pakistan. Under the REDD+ initiative, capacities of sub-national forestry departments have been built in various aspects of REDD+ implementation including monitoring reporting and verification (MRV) systems. Various forest monitoring equipment has been distributed among the provinces to strengthen forest monitoring capacities.

The equipment includes remote sensing drones, GIS plotter, handheld GPS, Laser Vertex with transponder, increment borers, laptops, DSLR camera, video conferencing equipment, crown densimeter, soil auger and tapes. KP, GB and Punjab provinces have well established institutional capacities and resources (GIS labs, forest monitoring equipment, and HR etc.) to undertake independent inventories and assessments. However, these facilities so far have not been mainstreamed in forest monitoring and planning. The Pakistan Forest Institute also possess institutional setup and infrastructure to undertake research assignments.

Forestry extension and outreach

The objective of forestry extension and outreach is to promote problem solving and participatory multi-stakeholder approaches to enhance the contribution of trees and forests to sustainable land use. Forestry extension mainly focuses on the facilitation pertinent to the livelihoods of stakeholders by involving them into forestry and NTFP related activities.

All the subnational entities claim that they have been effective in reaching out to the people and participatory decision-making process is followed in forest management. They, however, recognize the need to further develop their capacities in this field of participatory forestry. Presently, extension services are limited to small-scale agroforestry, guzara forests, farm forestry, and private forestry (hurries & irrigated plantations on farmland). Application of this concept (and collaborative forest management/community/participatory approaches) state-controlled forests is generally lacking.

Forestry extension not only can support the departments and communities in planning and implementation of sustainable forest management approaches, but also in making the arrangements for benefit distribution with all stakeholders involved. In the context of REDD+ the benefits accruing from result-oriented REDD+ actions could be transferred to legal owners and right holders of forests in accordance with the benefit distribution mechanism which is yet to be developed as prescribed in Pakistan’s National REDD+ strategy.

Communication with the general public on implementation of REDD+ activities, being a complex subject is still in its infancy mode. In this regard the National REDD+ Office (NRO) Ministry of climate change(MoCC) has developed a Strategic Communication Plan. This plan suggests olateform for stakeholders engagement to pursue and ensure implementation of REDD+ activities and provide future guideline for REDD+ related awareness activities and outreach communication tools both at national and provincial levels.

Evolution of forestry extension and outreach

Forestry extension, social and participatory forest management approaches were introduced in the 1990s. Anthropogenic pressure on forestry resources (such as livestock grazing, illegal tree cutting, conversion of forest lands, encroachment, political interference) was recognized by various researchers with disaggregated analysis on what was to be acknowledged as local need and could not be termed as intrusion, and malpractices that needed a governance-oriented approach than mere punitive arrangements.

The narrative in favour of participation of local communities became strong and received recognition for sustainable forest management. Collaborative forest management approaches were experimented in different tenures (such as protected, communal and private forest areas) and ecological settings (high altitude coniferous forests and lower altitude forests and farmlands). These projects included the Swiss funded Kalam Integrated Development Project, the Dutch Funded Social Forestry Project Malakand-Dir, the German funded Kaghan and Siran Valley Development Projects, EU funded Environmental Rehabilitation Projects, the USAID funded Farm Forestry Project, the ADB funded Forestry Sector Project, the Swiss funded support to the Forest Management Centre on Joint Forest Management and the Swiss funded Integrated Natural Resource Management Project.

Most of these projects were operational in KP and GB. Whereas the afforestation schemes by Agha Khan Rural Support Programme, funded by NORAD and others in GB, the social forestry projects funded by the USAID in Punjab and Sindh and Farm Forestry Support Project funded by SDC mainly focused on promoting tree plantations and forestry on farm/private lands. These projects clearly indicated the opportunities for collaborative forest management.

In KP these initiatives led to the adoption of a new Forest Policy 1999 and Forest Ordinance 2002 and the creation of a number of institutional organs such as the Forest Round Table and Forest Commission. A forestry extension directorate was established in the Forest Department along with other thematic directorates to support territorial forestry. While the reform process was complete before the projects phased out, the change management within the structurally reformed department slowed down, especially with respect to full implementation of community participatory approach. In the other provinces, the projects did not have the same scale and effects.

Somehow, farm forestry was accepted by the citizens and farmers as a valuable intervention in all the provinces. Ideas of collaborative forest management, however, are not applied yet. Currently few NGOs and CBOs have the capability to undertake capacity building or implementation in the field of forestry extension. In the public sector, with the exception of KP Forest Department and the recently established extension wing in Punjab Forest Department, no such activities are operational in other sub-national forest entities.

Sindh Forest and Wildlife department has a dedicated Social Forestry wing headed by a CCF and its mandate is limited to promotion of social/farm forestry and urban forestry. On the contrary, agriculture departments all over the country have well established extension and outreach services and programmes to encourage, motivate and equip farmers with innovative approaches and technologies. Linking and learning with the agricultural departments may benefit the forestry sector, especially regarding farm forestry approaches and interventions’.

Sub-national Assessment

The situation at sub-national level regarding public engagement is not fully optimal yet. Only KP has some sort of forestry extension setup on permanent basis, and they are capitalizing on this for REDD+ mass communication purposes as well. In Sindh and Balochistan, the forestry departments are mainly dependent upon social media, website, print and electronic media to reach out to citizens, whereas the Punjab Forest Department rely mainly on project specific activities. For successful implementation of REDD+, the forest departments stressed the need for development of a comprehensive mass communication strategy to ensure meaningful engagements and role of civil society, forest owners, private sector, and local communities in forest management including restoration, conservation, and enhancement.

The AJK Forest Department suggested a stronger and more incentivized communication system during the implementation of current REDD+ activities. Due to fear of public mistrust, GB suggested waiting till REDD+ pilot implementation shows results in terms of carbon trading. Although REDD+ implementation activities have gained momentum during the last few years, continuation of these activities as a regular function would require major structural changes in the existing conventional forest management systems. Tables 2-4 and 2-5 summarises self-assessment on adoption of forest extension and outreach mechanism by the provincial forestry departments. Towards the end of 20’5 century, extension and outreach tools were used by the forestry departments at project level, mainly supported by bilateral and multilateral financial assistance.

Data in tables 2.4 and 2.5 shows that there is need for improving outreach mechanisms in all six provincial departments which will require improving both technical and human capacities within the forest departments. Existence of extension wings in KP, Sindh and Punjab Forest departments may facilitate this process while the rest of the three provincial department may need structural adjustments to create extension wings. All the provinces need to agree on a meaningful definition of extension, conducts training need assessment and train staff on extension approaches and techniques. The GB has yet to establish a training facility for staff. The Forestry department of the Karakoram University could be a potential resource for training and development of extension material.



Forestry education, research and extension

Forestry education is essential to understand, acquire necessary specialization and achieve the objective of sustainable forest management. In the past the Pakistan Forest Institute (PFI) was the only forestry education, research, and training institution in the country. A number of other universities currently award BSc and MSc degrees in forest sciences. PFI is affiliated with the University of Peshawar since 1958. Before 2011, PFI was administratively attached with the Federal Government.

After the 18th amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan which resulted in devolution of powers and resources, PFI was devolved to Forestry, Environment and Wildlife Department, KP with effect from July 2011. Even after devolution, the institute continues to cater for the whole country.

Forestry Training & Education Institutions of Pakistan

The respondents of this assessment argue that PFI has not kept pace with the changing needs of the forestry sector. They also suggest that most of the sub-national forest training schools run by the forestry departments have inadequate facilities. The curricula of these training centers also need to be upgraded on urgent basis.

The list of forestry institutions is as follows:

• Community Training Centers (CTCs), Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, Abbottabad.

• Forest Training School, Thai — Abbottabad (KP)

• Punjab Forest Research Institute, Gatwala — Faisalabad

• Punjab Forest Academy, Ghora Gali – Rawalpindi

• Forest Training School, Bahawalpur (Punjab)

• Forest Training School, Cheena — Ziarat (Balochistan)

• AJK Forest School Muzaffarabad, (New curricula developed but not yet introduced.)

• Miani Forest School, Hyderabad (Sindh)

• Universities: (Seven Universities including Faisalabad Agriculture University, Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Karakorum International University, Allama lqbal Open University, Islamabad).

The existing curricula of forestry education in the country pays limited attention to forestry extension and are not well aligned to the larger demand of new sectoral policies, emerging forestry concepts, private sector needs, and forest dependent communities. The training at PFI is not designed to train foresters with extension skills. Well-trained forest extension agents are vital to address real problems confronted by the forestry sector together with forest dependent communities and the public at large.

The curricula require to cover new areas such as forestry extension, climate change (REDD+), forest biodiversity, sustainable forest management, trees outside forests, agroforestry, farm forestry, NTFP’s, joint forest management, ecotourism. The forest education should include subjects (e.g., participatory management of forestry resources) other than the traditional subjects. Forestry education needs to be fed with latest research findings on sustainable forest management. Similarly, forestry extension needs strong linkages with research institutions to tackle issues and problems in forest management.

Currently, Pakistan doe not have adequate facilities and capacity (with the exception of PFI and PFRI) to conduct researct-, on forest subjects especially on issues related to various forest ecozones. To build capacity of existing institution, collaboration with international research institutions is suggested. Improved coordination between forestry extension, education and research may provide access to new knowledge and technologies that can be used for sustainable management of natural resources. Also, this connectivity can inspire research and education to become more demand based and practical. At the moment, this mutual collaboration among relevant institutions is relatively weak.

Organizational Structure, roles and responsibilities

OIGF and Ministry of Climate Change

Forestry governance in the Ind° Pak sub-continent has a long history. Sir Dietrich Brandis was appointed as the first Inspector General of Forests (IGF) in pre-partition British India in 1864 (Khattak, 1976). An important objective for creation of forest services by the British rulers was to manage forests for continued provision of large-sized timber for railways and other public works, and fuel for railways and river steamers. For this purpose, the forests were taken under the government control.

After independence, the Office of the IGF (OIGF) was attached with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Later, the OIGF was transferred to the Ministry of Environment (MOE) as its technical wing. After abolition of MOE, a new ministry with the name of Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) was created at federal level and OIGF was placed under it. The OIGF has 10 sanctioned staff positions (see table 2-6). However, currently the post of IGF, one post of each DIGF, AIGF, Conservator Wildlife, and Deputy Conservator Wildlife are lying vacant.


Mandate of OIGF

The OIGF is a lead federal office to coordinate forestry affairs in the country and deal with relevant multilateral agreements. In accordance with the Rules of Business (Amended) on 16th August 2012, the OIGF is mandated to formulate national policies on forestry, wildlife, biodiversity, and develop strategies and plans, and to facilitate inter-provincial and inter-ministerial coordination on different forestry matters.

The role of OIGF is to support sub-national forest entities for meeting international obligations under the conventions and agreements through national-level actions with close cooperation of all provinces and AJK regarding sustainable development of forests, climate change mitigation, biodiversity, wildlife conservation and CITES related trade regulation, and to combat desertification. The OIGF also serves as National Focal Point for REDD+ related planning and capacity building processes.

The MoCC through the OIGF is pursuing to enhance the financial portfolio of sub-national forestry departments and allied institutions, so that they improve their capacity to meet emerging challenges to the sector, such as climate change, loss of forest biodiversity, transition from traditional forestry management to sustainable resource management at landscape and ecosystem level.

The OIGF also facilitates sub national partners in the following:

a) Ensure sufficient PSDP allocation for sub-national forest departments through development projects (e.g., Ten Billion Trees Afforestation Project).

b) Mobilize international funds from multilateral and bilateral sources (e.g., GEF funded SFM project).

c) Facilitate results-based payments under REDD-, (e.g., World Bank funded REDD+ Readiness Programme).

The OIGF also helps explore new financial avenues for fund access from international and national donors to help in closing the gap in available finances for forestry and biodiversity conservation. In addition, OIGF is also facilitating sub-national forestry staff in capacity building through participation in regional and international meetings, training sessions and exposure visits to enhance their technical capabilities and to equip them to meet international obligations and emerging challenges and opportunities in the forestry sector.

One serious issue is absence of a national forest monitoring mechanism. Uniform standards for forest monitoring and reputed institutions to improve monitoring skills of sub-national entities in line with best international practices were missing. To meet these challenges a national forest monitoring system and harmonised standards for forest monitoring have been established under the REDD-, project. The forestry departments have been trained and equipped through provision of forest monitoring equipment including remote sensing drones for real time forest monitoring.

The OIGF acts as National REDD+ Focal Point and leads international negotiations on the subject as national entity. The MoCC has established a National REDD+ Office, National Steering Committee on REDD+ to coordinate REDD+ implementation. The MoCC puts emphasis on a broad-based consultative and participatory process in view of international best practices at different levels.

Feedback on the role of OIGF on REDD+ implementation in Pakistan in the provinces was generally positive. Sindh recognised OIGF’s contribution as good, while Punjab identified lacking leadership, Balochistan suggested improvement to ensure better flow of information between the province and the OIGF. Communication between federal and sub-national forest entities on negotiations for REDD+ and other international obligations was not considered optimal. AJK, KP and GB forest departments termed communication to be reasonably good but stressed the need for further improvement especially on taking the provincial departments on board before making international agreements. Sindh and Punjab expressed the need for more transparent communication whereas Balochistan suggested direct negotiation with international actors interested in investing on REDD+ in the province.


Federal Forestry Board:

The federal government had constituted the Central Forestry Board in 1974 for coordinating provincial and federal institutions. The Board however, never performed actively and met only twice in 44 years. With changing national and international scenarios and needs the Board was reactivated in 2018 with new composition and fresh mandate to review and guide forestry sector progress and emerging challenges. In year 2000, the board was renamed as the Federal Forestry Board (FEB). The Board has multi-sectoral membership comprising federal line ministries including MoCC.

Forestry Administration at Sub-national Level

Sub-national Forest Departments manage forests under different tenurial arrangements and exercise legal authority in their respective areas. The administrative chain of hierarchy of sub-national level departments is given in Figure.


In general, the technical forest governance system at provincial levels works under the supervision of Chief Conservator of Forests (CCFs). The planning and monitoring sections along with Conservator of Forests (CFs) directly report to the CCF. The CFs head the respective Working Circles and is responsible for implementation of operational policies. They are supported by technical staff comprised of Divisional Forest Officers (DF0s), Range Forest Officers (RFOs), Foresters/ Forest Rangers and Forest Guards.

Interestingly, the hierarchy has not changed much over the last 70 years except horizontal expansion which resulted in appointment of more than one CCFs as opposed to one CCF in five provinces in the past, as technical head of the provincial forest departments. One of the CCFs is placed as Principal CCF and the rest head allied sub departments. In GB the post of CF as head of forest department has been elevated to CCF resulting in appointment of 4 CFs in addition to Directors of National Parks. In all the sub-national entities, Secretary of Forest is administrative head the forest departments.

In KP only, a major change took place in 2002 when the new Forest Ordinance (which replaced \ Forest Act 1927) resulted in changing the liner structure to matrix structure. As aresult, in addition to the territorial hierarchical set up (CCF-CFs-DF0s), Integrated Specialized Units (ISUs) headed by Directors (Conservators appointed as Director of ISUs) were created.

The ISUs included Directorates of

(i) Human Resource Development (HRD),

(ii) Community Development, Extension, Gender and Development (CDEGAD)

(iii) Non-Timber Forest Products and Research (NTFPR), and

(iv) Forest Management / Monitoring Centre (FMC). Despite a matrix management system, there seems a disconnect between the CDEGAD and the territorial staff. In Punjab a Forest Extension Wing has been created recently, headed by CCF Extension and Research. The other staff in the hierarchy are three CFs (Extension), eight DFO’s (Ext.) and a SDFO for each district working as extension officer.

The Forest Departments of sub-national entities mainly function in relation to the state-controlled forestlands. They are neither mandated nor capacity to support forest management outside their domain is limited. Besides, they have limitations in effective sustainable management and law enforcement due to shortage of manpower and political pressures. Interestingly the scope for increase in tree cover to meet the growing demand for wood rests mainly with private lands particularly on farmlands/ agroforestry or on arid lands in addition to supplies from the state-controlled lands. The broadening of the geographical scope of work of provincial forest departments will need a legal framework, policies, organizational development, additional human and financial resources and developing social and technical knowledge to deal with the communities and managing forests on lands outside the government owned forests.

Human and financial capacities

Human Capacities

The forestry sector assessment with respect of human resources covers sanctioned and shortage of manpower, current capacities, and gaps to fill for smooth sailing. Statistics collected from sub-national forest entities and OIGF indicate that the total sanctioned regular posts available with forestry departments are 19,983. The human resource currently in place is 14,340 and 5,643 posts are vacant (29%). None of the provinces has all staff positions filled. Sindh has the highest proportion of vacant positions ((89%). KP, GB and AJK are generally well staffed, yet with few positions lying vacant. Punjab and Balochistan have deficiencies by 24% and 37%, respectively. At federal level OIGF is lacking 44% of its sanctioned staff. Understaffing is considered one of the reasons for ineffective functioning of the departments.


An analysis of the number of sanctioned positions and the positions filled in above figure suggests the highest staffing has been observed in Punjab which is the largest province in term of its population. This is followed by KP, the privince with the largest portion of the total number of the national forest resources.

Balochistan is the third highest organization by manpower despite only 7% forest resources under the direct departmental control. However, this may be due to a vast landscape where long distances are involved from one district to the other. AJK stands fourth, despite that the territory is relatively small in area even though with rich forest resources. GB has even surpassed Sindh in the filled positions even though the department is responsible for 39% of the forest resources under the direct control of the department.The situation of Sindh is highly unusual with very little sanctioned posts filled with human resources.Workforce analysis with respect to the positions This analysis has been made to figure out where is the larger weight of the organization at sub national level.

In total, 36% is administrative support staff and 64% technical staff in the organization across Pakistan. In case of KP, Punjab and Sindh, the bulk of the staff is in category of BPS15 and below — and this is where most of the field responsibilities are placed. The senior management makes a generally uniform proportion with 7-8% of the staff positions. In Balochistan, GB and AJK, the staff balance is more skewed towards (i) support staff making bulk of the organizations whereas the number of field level staff is quite slim making less than half of the organization workforce (ii) and the top management staff, although only 2% higher than other provinces is significant.

Analysis by diversity of competences

The change process discussed in the sub-national departments warrants that the sub-national departments create spaces for specialized positions at senior level, having educational backgrounds other than the traditional forestry. Examples may include addition of graduates with GIS, monitoring, forestry extension and community participation backgrounds at the senor levels. This diversity is far from achieved. Even where inducted, such staff with non-traditional forestry backgrounds are not promoted to senior positions and they report to RFOs, DFO and others (for instance community development officers and GIS experts in KP).

The departments, therefore, are not an attractive place for highly specialized experts when there is no chance for vertical career progression and they will remain in support functions. In an institutional environment with limited career opportunities, such positions will only remain project positions and staff turnover will be higher in such cadres. There is a need to either create full-fledged organizational units with Sanctioned senior technical and management positions open to open-forestry professionals, or to source out these functions on a permanent basis to specialized organizations staffed with professional providing these services and having their own career perspectives.


Human resource development has been directly linked to productivity and long-term career growth of employees. It is also important to engage core departmental professional staff into challenging tasks with motivation. This is because most talented and highly qualified professionals leave the department knowing that they will not progress in their career. The disaggregated details on staff dedicated to extension tasks are not available. There are two issues associated with this analysis:

1. Only in Punjab and KP, there are designated wings responsible for extension services and with clear TORs for responsibilities.

2. In general, however, the provinces (particularly the remaining 4 with no extension wings) consider junior staff (RF0s, Foresters and Guards) responsible for extension.

This forestry hierarchy in place since centuries can only serve a different role if term of reference is changed (from conservation, controlling and catching forest offenders to community mobilisers, trainers and institution builders). Currently only 1% of forest department staff is engaged in extension and outreach activities. These tasks are generally not included in the job descriptions of territorial field staff, neither part of the ACR of staff.

Targeted capacity building

The staff especially the middle cadre are frustrated with limited or no opportunities for their training and capacity building. They stated that most of the training and knowledge exposure opportunities are availed by senior staff of the provinces and OIGF. The forest departments need to be equipped with new tools of sustainable forest management including participatory forestry management, agroforestry, and techniques for conflict resolution as well as market research. Further, capacity improvement in the area of extension will enable them in developing and implementing a strategy to work with communities and other stakeholders. In this regard a targeted capacity building programme may be developed.

The on-going capacity building activities at Pakistan Forest Institute and provincial forestry education and training facilities need to be transformed as per present days requirements. As far as REDD+ is concerned, Pakistan has conducted several capacity building sessions and organized training workshops since 2009 to develop capacities of sub-national forest departments and other stakeholders (NGOs, community members, forestry right holders, etc.) Capacity building activities under REDD+ included

(i) engaging international experts in conduct of several REDD+ related technical studies:

(ii) local and international trainings, and

(iii) participation in REDD+ dialogues and negotiations under UNFCCC and other forums.

The trainings included two international courses on Satellite Land Monitoring System (SLMS) and National Forest Inventory (NFI) in Finland, two national Trainings of Trainers (ToT) on Safeguard Information System (SIS) and eight provincial level training/ consultative workshops on Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES). In total, 442 participants were trained, of which, 352 were male and 90 were female participants. The Master Trainers afterward conducted further trainings and enhanced the technical supervision capacity at national and provincial level.

The members of technical working groups also provide technical inputs on REDD+ relevant technical aspects based on their technical expertise and experience from the field. Additional trainings and sessions in the areas of SLMS, NFI, GHG-I, carbon accounting, nursery raising, plantation techniques and general REDD+ concepts and have been planned for capacity building of sub-national forestry officials and, policy makers under the consultancy service, “Awareness, outreach and capacity building assigned to IUCN Pakistan. However, majority of such capacity building activities are project specific, and not yet institutionalized on permanent basis. Also, transfers of staff make it difficult to retain trained officials.

The REDD+ mechanism is a complex instrument, where continuous capacity building sessions and trainings are required for policy makers, forestry resource managers, dependent communities, and relevant field staff. The following are some of the potential areas identified by sub national actors for building capacity of the departments:

• Complete know how about decisions and guidelines of UNFCCC and its relevant subsidiary bodies.

• National and international policy context on REDD+.

• Mediation skills to manage forest conflict (uses, rights, decision-making)

• Different methodologies used for REDD+ inventory preparations and forest carbon accounting. Human and technical (knowledge and skills) capacities of relevant national and provincial officials in Satellite Land Monitoring System (SLMS) National Forest Inventory (NFI) and Green House Gas (GHG) inventory.

• Inclusion of women and small and medium enterprises.

• Communication strategy of REDD+ and its related components of forestry extension services.

Financial Capacities

The World Economic Forum has estimated that more than half of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) is moderately or highly dependent on natural ecosystem services. For investors and governments, the loss of forest biodiversity has significant economic consequences that should be recognized in national accounting systems and corporate book-keeping.


Historically, in Pakistan forestry sector attains low priority and receive meager budget allocation for its operations. However, in recent years, it has been observed that both federal as well as sub-national governments recognized the importance of forestry sector. Like other sectors, the financial flow in forestry sector is also divided into non-development and development budgets. The development budgets of the provinces are called Annual Development Programme (ADP), while that of the Federal Government is called the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). Despite severe financial constraints there is a progressive trend in financial allocations to the forestry sector in Pakistan under PSDP and ADP.

Non-Development Finances

In each annual budget, funds for routine departmental expenditure including establishment charges, transportation, and covering regular maintenance and operational costs allocated by the concerned sub-national governments show an increasing trend due to overall inflation and related increases in cost of human resources and administrative costs. Given Pakistan’s extremely tight fiscal space, it is very difficult to sufficiently augment non-development sectoral budgets, which certainly need to be increased for strengthening of sub-national forest departments, for example regarding improved monitoring, reporting and community participation.


Development Budget

The forestry sector like any other sector needs long term financial commitments and timely availability of finances with proper planning. However, the forestry sector generally has received low priority in financial allocations. Also, access to donor funding is limited because of capacity issues and complex procedures. Further, resources from development Partners are mainly available for soft interventions such as capacity building, exposure visits, planning and monitoring related documentation.

Flow of finances on sustainable basis and its judicious and fair utilization is another bigA ig challenge. Provinces normally allocate finances for forestry development operations mainly ny from Federal Government also supplements and provides some resources undearlitsPSDPiDniPtiasi Tivehse. The TBTAP is a new combined initiative of Federal as well as sub-national governments to enhance the forest and tree cover of the country.

The development budget in the forestry sector is used to fund o the implementation of different conservation and management activities which are normally not covered under the h non-development budget. The procedure outlined for the demand of development funds are through project documents called PC-I. Allocation of development budget in the provinces during 0- 2021 is given in Table.


Coinciding the approval of National Forest Policy 2015, investment in the forestry sector has improved. However, due to severe resource constraints in an economy in transition, the actual allocation of required financial support is still far away from the desired level, and development investments are slowly decreasing again. The aggregate data on development and non-development budgets suggests that the non-development budget is larger than the development budget and is consistently increasing (57% from FY 2010-11 to FY 2020-21). Development budget is also increasing with a few ups and downs (166% from FY2010-11 to 2020-21) discounting inflation (Figure).

The PSDP and ADP funding is mainly used for afforestation programmes at national and sub-national level aimed at avoiding the negative impact of climate change and improving the status of biodiversity conservation. The current examples under implementation are the Ten Billion Tree Afforestation (TBTAP) and Mangrove restoration projects. The TBTAP is expected to receive US$800 million of own Pakistani contribution for the coming ten years according to NDC 2021. A matter of concern, however, is that the actual funds received by the departments from the treasury for development expenses is lower than the allocation with an average of 20% reduced sanction.


Sub national analysis

All the provinces suggested that the budget needs enhancement to perform developrr as well as administrative and protection functions.


Punjab has the highest non development budget in the country. The province had a relatively sharp increase in non-development budgets from FY2010-11 to 2020-21 (258%). Development budgets have been declining from FY 2011-12 to 2015-16 and then slightly increasing. A total increase of development budget in Punjab was 48% for the same financial years.



Sindh’s non development budget is consistently increasing, especially since FY 2014-15 (net increase 120%). The development budgets increased from FY 2010-11 to 2019-2020 and then a dip was noted in FY2020-21 whereas the non-development budget experienced a sharp increase. Sindh also reported that the average released budget is usually 20% less than committed every year.



KP’s non development budget is consistently increasing, especially since FY 2017-18 with a total increase of 248% from FY2010-11 to 2020-21. There is a highly skewed situation with development funds over the years but increasing especially since FY2015-16 (coinciding with major afforestation programmes such as Billion Tree Afforestation Project (BTAP), overall increase 1901% and the highest in volume of funds in the country).


Balochistan has the lowest budgetary allocation both in development and non-development areas. Non development budget has been consistently increasing with an overall increase of 315%. The development budget shows a sharp jump from 2010 to 2021 (PKR 5 million to PKR 1231 million, which is the highest after KP), especially with a good increase from 2017-2018



AJK analysis shows a consistent increase in non-development budget ( overall increase of 171% ). The trend for development budget is highly encouraging with an increase of 104% ( due to flood emergency Reconstruction project financed by ABD and TBTAP ) which was a sudden high jump in FY 2019-20, and then a decline.



GB also sees a sharpmincrease in the non-development budgetary allocation (246%). Development budgets have increase with a relatively less sharp trend ( overall increase by 96% ) and are declining since 2020.


Source: REDD+ Pakistan

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