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


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.

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.

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!


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.