Monday, February 25, 2019

Satellite Image Shows Pakistan Among World's Fastest Greening Countries

Satellite images provided by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show that greenery in Pakistan has been growing at double digit rates over the last few decades. All of this rapid greening of the country is the result of intensive agriculture in Punjab and Sindh provinces.

Greening Trends in Asia. Source: NASA Earth Observatory

“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9 percent of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation,” said Chi Chen, the lead author of a study he did with Ranga Myneni at Boston University. “That is a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation.”

The Boston University research team found that "global green leaf area has increased by 5 percent since the early 2000s, an area equivalent to all of the Amazon rainforests. At least 25 percent of that gain came in China. Overall, one-third of Earth’s vegetated lands are greening, while 5 percent are growing browner. The study was published on February 11, 2019, in the journal Nature Sustainability", according to NASA Earth Observatory.

Pakistan's arable land grew by about 600,000 hectares between 2014 and 2016, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  It increased from 36,252,000 hectares to 36,844,000 hectares. However, Pakistan has experienced deforestation in this period.  The area under forests has shrunk from 1,515,000 hectares in 2014 to 1.429,000 hectares in 2016.

Two years ago, Prime Minister Imran Khan, then a politician whose party governed the Khyber PakhtunKhwa (KP) province, launched a program called the “Billion Tree Tsunami”.  Eventually, hundreds of thousands of trees were planted across the region, timber smuggling was virtually wiped out, and a cottage industry of backyard nurseries flourished, according to Washington Post.  Now, the PTI government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, is aiming to replicate that success nationwide with a “10 Billion Tree Tsunami.”

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Bumper Crops in Pakistan

Billion Tree Tsunami

Value Added Agriculture in Pakistan

Agribusiness Drawing Investors to Pakistan

China Pakistan Economic Corridor

An Indian Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes

Pakistan's Rural Economy

Pakistan World's 5th Largest Motorcycle Market

The Other 99% of the Pakistan Story



9 comments:

Baloch said...

Pakistan will be green when 99% of Balochistan will be green.

Riaz Haq said...

Baloch: "Pakistan will be green when 99% of Balochistan will be green."

It's neither likely nor advisable to change the basic character and diminish natural beauty of Balochistan.

Chandan said...

Pakistan is in a state of rapid deforestation for a long time. On the other hand India and China have gained forest cover.

1990 to 2000 to 2005 in million hectares:

2.5 to 2.1 to 1.9. Pakistan
63.9 to 65.5 to 65.7 India

Ahmad F. said...

Wow. I am impressed. But where is the water going to come from to irrigate these trees? Pakistan is a water shortage country.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/pakistan-s-billion-tree-tsunami-is-astonishing/

Pakistan hit its billion tree goal in August 2017 – months ahead of schedule. Now, the hills of the country’s northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are alive with newly planted saplings.

The massive reforestation project – named the Billion Tree Tsunami – added 350,000 hectares of trees both by planting and natural regeneration, in an effort to restore the province’s depleted forests and fight the effects of climate change.

Decades of felling and natural disasters have drastically reduced Pakistan’s forests. Figures for the country’s total forest cover range between around 2% and 5% of land area. Nevertheless, Pakistan has one of the lowest levels of forest cover in the region and well below the 12% recommended by the UN.

Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "Wow. I am impressed. But where is the water going to come from to irrigate these trees? Pakistan is a water shortage country. "

Make it rain: Planting forests could help drought-stricken regions.
Growing trees take water from the soil and release it into the atmosphere. Tree leaves also act as interceptors, catching falling rain, which then evaporates causing rain precipitation elsewhere — a process known as evapo-transpiration.

By better understanding this process, we may, one day, be able to strategically plant trees that will bring rain to regions that need it most, Ellison said. https://forestsnews.cifor.org/10316/make-it-rain-planting-forests-to-help-drought-stricken-regions?fnl=en

Anonymous said...

@Chandan: 2.5 to 2.1 to 1.9. Pakistan from 1990 to 2000 to 2005

And 2016 per RH it is 1.429 million hectares. That is almost 40% of forest or nearly 1 million hectares lost!

Gabriel

nayyer ali said...

Pakistan's geography has very limited forests, mostly in Kashmir and KPK mountain valleys. The overall increase in vegetation around the world is quite marked and is not simply increased agriculture. It is likely the effect of rising CO2 levels in the last few decades that act as a natural fertilizer for all plants. While climate change is a real issue and needs to be addressed, the increase in plant biomass globally is real and substantial.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan’s #Honey Production Up 70% Thanks to #ImranKhan's Billion #trees Project. About 400 tons, about 2% of demand, still imported every year. Tree planting will cut Pak import bill by half in the next 4-5 years. #beekeeping #environment #forests https://propakistani.pk/2020/04/20/pakistans-honey-production-increases-by-70-thanks-to-billion-tree-project/

The production of honey in the country has increased by seventy percent thanks to the plantation of hundreds of thousands of trees under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Billion Tree project.

The honey production initiative in Changa Manga was started in 2016 when the beehives were auctioned for Rs. 729,000. Now, they cost more than Rs. 1.3 million.

According to the Forest Department’s officials, the complete implementation of the project may increase the amount of auction money from Changa Manga to Rs. 10 million.

Shahid Tabassum, a Forest officer, mentioned that 85 percent of the trees have been planted in the past few years which has led to a remarkable increase in bees.

As for now, there are hundreds of beehives in the Changa Manga forest, he said, highlighting the increase in income from the honey auction.

In the financial year 2016-17, the honey was auctioned for Rs 729,000 and in 2017-18 for Rs1.15 million. Similarly, in 2018-19, the honey was auctioned for Rs 1.252 million, while during the current financial year the auction fetched Rs 1.3 million.

Locals of the forest describe how ruthless deforestation and in the past year and reduction in the green cover reduced the number of beehives quite significantly as honey bees found little to no place to make hives.

Also, the flowers which honey bees use to collect nectar became toxic due to spray of the pesticides, resulting in the deaths of thousands of bees.

This declined the production of natural honey by a significant margin, prompting people to consume processed varieties.

The forest officer informed that there are four types of honey bees currently found in Pakistan; Domna, Pahari, small and European. The first three kinds are local bees while European specie (Apis Mellifera) has been exported from Australia.

The best is the European bee because it produces more honey than others.

Tabassum revealed that a honeybee flies 3.5 million times and travels 50 thousand kilometers to produce half a kilogram of honey.

“Honeybees lay 15,000 eggs a day and 2.5 million in one season. They remember the flower scents while moving around and return with its help after accumulating honey in their stomachs.”

He maintained that about 400 tonnes of honey is imported to Pakistan every year. This is only two percent of the total demand.

Tabassum was hopeful that the tree plantation project will cut Pakistan’s import bill by half in the next four, five years.

Riaz Haq said...

While much of Pakistan is under coronavirus lockdown, local police and district authorities have been told trucks carrying trees should be allowed to travel and villagers permitted to leave their homes to work with the project. The work, which pays between 500 rupees and 800 rupees per day, includes setting up nurseries, planting saplings, and serving as forest protection guards or forest firefighters. The program is expected to create over 63,600 jobs. The workers will maintain social distance.

https://youtu.be/1iwT30Vd88E