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In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, some 730 million trees have been planted using various forest regeneration methods, and 300 million seedlings of some 40 different species were recently planted.
In addition, nine million eucalyptus trees were planted in Heroshah in the 2015-2016 period, with the participation of 16,000 workers. ” Eucalyptus trees are a fast growing species, so they can provide benefits to landscapes that are more deteriorated, caused mainly problems of erosion “, said Kamran Hussain, manager of the Pakistani branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) .
This huge project started just a few years ago and cost the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government $169 million. About 5.2% of the area of Pakistan is covered with trees.
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Excessive logging and devastation by the Taliban years ago contributed to the loss of Pakistan’s forest cover. Mohammad Jawad, a Khyber Pakhtunkhwa forest officer, said, ” The Taliban are widely believed to have destroyed 80% of those forests .”
Some people living in heavily forested areas received annual compensation for logging, but after the Taliban cut down so many trees for their own use, their income reportedly decreased by as much as 90%.
The United Nations has noted the multiple and important benefits generated by forests, saying that “ forests provide many important resources and functions, including wood and non-wood products, recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, conservation of biological diversity, water and soil, and play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle. They support employment, traditional uses and biodiversity . ” They also prevent erosion, provide shelter and food for animals, and generate oxygen. Some trees that produce food for humans and forests are extremely valuable to the economies of many parts of the world.
Pakistan thus joins the list of countries that have taken reforestation as a matter of state, such as Portugal, Iceland, China, Brazil or Ecuador.