ISLAMABAD: The government has approved Rs 3.65 billions for implementation of the Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme (GPP), which would be transferred to the provinces to utilize for planting trees.
“Under the GPP, 100 million trees would be planted across the country at a cost of Rs 10 billion, for which half of the amount would be extended by the provincial, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and FATA governments”, the media spokesperson of the programme Mohammad Saleem said.
“It is high time that the forests get the right value and their importance is recognised by us all for the sustainability of the country’s socio-economic sectors.
The spokesperson said that the federal government had directed the ministry’s forest officials and urged the provincial forest department officials to play their active role in engaging public, all stakeholders, particularly educational institutions, corporate sector, NGOs and media to sensitise about the importance of forests in sustainability of the earth’s overall ecosystem, biodiversity.
The government, he said had asked the forest officials that without their involvement no forest growth plan would succeed and tree plantation targets would remain hard to achieve 100 per cent or surpass them.
“Forests are the most effective way for coping with the global warming-induced climate change impacts on the country’s critical socio-economic sectors, particularly agriculture and water” he added.
“The important services, which forests provide are often ignored or underestimated by many of us as long as we wake up to the unprecedented environmental importance the forests promise to us.
“Trees, in fact, help protect soil and regulate water on farms, mitigate floods, regulate weather and
enrich biodiversity. Besides, crops grown in agro forestry systems are often more resilient to drought, excess rain and erratic weather patterns,” he added. To a question he said during current monsoon tree plantation campaign more than 103 million trees would be planted across the country during next two months as a part of the government’s larger plan visualsed to re-invigorate the ailing forestry sector of the country. Saleem, said that the plan was aimed to recover the tree cover lost because of unchecked deforestation in the country over the last few decades and bring thousands of hectares of land under trees during next five years.