In 2014 Pakistan started a projected called the Billion Tree Tsunami costing $169 million. It was an effort to restore the province’s depleted forests. The massive reforestation project aimed to add 350,000 hectares of trees by both planting and natural regeneration in the country’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In August of 2017, Pakistan hit the goal months ahead of schedule.
For decades natural disasters and felling of trees have reduced Pakistan’s forests. The country’s total forest cover range for 2% to 5% of land area. Pakistan has one of the lowest levels of forest cover in the region and well below the 12% recommended by the United Nations.
As well as benefiting the environment, the project established a network of private tree nurseries. This has boosted local incomes and generated green jobs for unemployed young people and women in the province.
The New Plan
Prime Minister Imran Khan is aiming to replicate that success nationwide, this time with a “10 Billion Tree Tsunami” planted over the next 5 years. Officials hope the initiative, launched last month, will foster environmental awareness in their impoverished, drought-plagued country, where both greed and necessity have left forests stripped.
The new goal aims to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land worldwide by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. Experts say Pakistan will need more than a trillion new pines, cedars and eucalyptus trees to reverse decades of deforestation.