Punjab being a poor forest cover province requires drastic steps to increase its forest area in next few years’ time by adopting two prong strategy including short term / fast track measures and long term actions. In countries like Pakistan where dry weather conditions persist the role of forests is vital in soil and water conservation and disaster risk resilience. Currently Forestry sector is confronted with a number of challenges i.e.
- Massive degradation of watersheds, deforestation, encroachments, conversion of forests to non-forestry uses
- Overuse of rangelands, pressures on habitats and biodiversity loss, desertification
- Impact of climate change and prolonged droughts
- Heavy dependence of rural population on biomass energy
- Complex land tenure
- Weak forestry institutions, ineffective enforcement of law and lack of inter sectoral coordination
- Forest fires and spread of invasive species
The overall improvement of the Forestry Sector in the province will require continuous efforts through a number of initiatives under long term Green Pakistan Programme. Existing meager forest resources being crucial to environmental stability demands serious interventions from Federal / Provincial Government to lead from the front with commitment for sufficient financial contribution through an umbrella project to improve and enhance the existing forest cover of the country.
Under Prime Minister's Green Pakistan Programme Rs 1284.753 million has been allocated to the Punjab Forest component which shall be utilized for afforestation of blank areas by planting 5.5 million trees in different forest types, over a period of five years (2016-2021).