An Anatomy of State Failures in Forest Management in Pakistan

Lubna Hasan


Deforestation remains one of the most intractable
environmental problems of today. About one third the size of the
original forest cover has disappeared so far. Despite continuous efforts
by the world community to curb this process, deforestation continues
unabated in most parts of the world, with serious consequences for the
human livelihoods, eco systems, and global climate. Pakistan also faces
serious problem of depletion of its forest reserves. Approximately 39000
ha of forest are being cleared every year.1 If deforestation continues
at this pace, it is feared that Pakistan will lose most of its forest
within the next thirty to forty years. Being a forest poor country, with
forest occupying less than 5 percent of total land area,2 protection of
its forest resources is a vital task. Forest management faces many
challenges in Pakistan. Forests face tremendous pressure, not only from
a population of 160 million people for meeting their needs3 (be it only
subsistence needs), but also from market forces which have seen soaring
timber prices for many years now. Forest department is ill equipped to
counter these challenges. It lacks human and financial resources, and
relevant technical expertise.

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