Female ‘negehbans’ protect TBTTP enclosure forests in KP

KP govt hires female forest guards 
to mobilise, educate community for supporting forest conservation and 
discouraging tree cutting trend 
in Seran, Kaghan area

ISLAMABAD   –  The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Forest Department has hired female negehbans to  mobilise and educate community for supporting forest conservation and discouraging tree cutting trend from the protected areas in the Seran and Kaghan area under Ten Billion Tree Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation initiative.

This is a second milestone for empowering women of local communities after the successful accomplishment of Bonn Challenge.

A KP Forest Department official told APP news agency, “These women are doing the task of forest guards and are proud in protecting the precious natural reserve helpful in reviving green cover and bringing green employment for them,” he said.

The department has ensured massive roadside linear plantation at the greenbelts spreading over 148 kilometres along Hazara Motorway that helped in preventing soil erosion in the scenic valley of Hazara division. 

The plantation was carried out under the TBTTP project starting from University Road till Manga Interchange which technically made it 48 avenue kilometres plantation area with some 330 plants installed per kilometre (km), the Divisional Forest Officer said. 

He said local plant species were planted including Chir Pine, Sarru and other ornamental plants in six avenues along the motorway, forming three-coupled layers of trees, during the spring plantation in 2020.

The forest department had inked a memorandum of understanding with the National Highway Authority to ensure watering of the plantation, where sowing and other matters were to be managed by the department. 

“A total of 48,840 plants have been planted along the avenue in six lanes that have reached to sustainable level and will add more to the beauty of the area,” he said.

In another area of Daur Watershed plantation at Noushera Biodiversity Complex Abbottabad, the KP Forest Department had ensured three different types of plantation activities to enhance green cover on the eroded mountains of the area. 

The three different plantation activities carried out under TBTTP comprised of Miyawaki plantation, close spacing plantation on slopes and bad-land plantation. 

The Forest Department officials elaborated that the Miyawaki plantation which was close plantation of native species with nature manoeuvre made at 8-kanal land, where some 4,600 plants were planted. 

He said the second intervention of close space plantation at the 14 hectares (ha) of mountain slopes to prevent soil erosion. However, the plantation was done at 14 ha area and some 60,200 plants were planted closely to create a trap for sand particles to remain intact and ensure soil enrichment. 

Thirdly, band-land plantation was made in the watershed area and adjoining vicinity that included layering and plantation at 25 ha area where over 130,000 plants were planted.  

To a question, he said a target of 5,420 ha closures was set which was a closed area for no human intervention and grazing of all types. 

“The area is selected based on mother trees availability, and canopy cover favouring regeneration of local plants through assisted natural regeneration (ANR) process,” he added. 

He maintained that the enclosures were created after local communities’ consensus to utilise their forest land for conservation purpose, where the Negehbans (forest guards) were hired from the local community.  

The official said over 15 negehbans and forest guards got martyred during forest fires in this region. “The KP Forest Department made hard-earned achievements made amid harsh conditions under TBTTP and Billion Tree Afforestation Project,” he underlined. 

However, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN-Pakistan) was providing technical assistance to the Ministry of Climate Change to hold data based ground study of its carbon stocks absorbed in the forests revived under BTAP.

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