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06 October, 2011

An Agreement Signed Between Punjab Forest Department and WWF Pakistan to Map and Monitor the Forests of Murree Forest Division

The Murree Forest Division has been witnessing continued degradation due to both natural and anthropogenic pressures over the last few decades. This area lies in the outer Himalayas of the sub-tropical continental highlands and is one of the most significant Global 200 Ecoregions of the World. The forests of this area are critical in watershed management and it is believed that any damage to the Western Himalayan Ecoregion will have a negative impact on the Ganges and Indus River systems.
In light of the current situation, a Project Agreement has been signed between the Punjab Forest Department and WWF – Pakistan on 6th October 2011, in order to carry out an assessment of changes in forest cover and delineation of Forest boundaries in the Murree Forest Division. The MOU is signed by the Major(R) Shah Nawaz Badar, Secretary to the Govt. of Punjab, Forestry, Wildlife, Fisheries and Tourism Department and Ali Hassan Habib, Director General of WWF - Pakistan in Lahore.
Forests resources in Pakistan are deteriorating both qualitatively and quantitatively due to anthropogenic, climatic and weak institutional arrangements. Poor socio-economic conditions of forest dependent communities are the main contributors towards depletion of forest resources as such communities are heavily dependent on forests for their livelihoods. The report published in 2009 by the United Nations, Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on the State of the World Forests indicated that Pakistan has only 2.5% of its area under forest cover. The annual rate of deforestation in Pakistan is -2.1%, which is deemed to be the highest in all of Asia.
These very issues will be addressed via the agreement. Under the venture, joint study will be conducted by Survey of Pakistan, Punjab Revenue and Punjab Forest Departments and WWF - Pakistan to save precious Pine/mixed Forests and valuable forest land. This study is highly important as it will help to prioritise conversion targets and segregate them into immediate, midterm and long term process of retrieval in order to regenerate forests back to their original state.


About WWF – Pakistan:

World Wide Fund for Nature - Pakistan was formed in 1970 to address the growing environmental and conservation issues in Pakistan that not only affected the flora and fauna, but were also affecting the human population. WWF – Pakistan is a non-profit organisation, working to preserve, conserve and save our environment and natural resources. Today, WWF - Pakistan works through 31 offices with a team of approximately 340 dedicated staff members. We have our Head Office in Lahore, regional offices in Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar, Gilgit, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Quetta, and project offices wherever there is need and the potential to make a difference.


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Nuzhat Saadia Siddiqi
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