Strengthening and Implementing National and Provincial FLR Policies and Legal Frameworks to Maximize Sustainable Land Management in Chilgoza Forest Ecosystem

IUCN
Published: 02 January 2024
Last edited: 02 January 2024
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Summary

The Restoration Initiative (TRI) country team in Pakistan has worked to strengthen and implement forest and landscape restoration (FLR) policies and legal frameworks with efforts aimed at maximizing the sustainable land management of the Chilgoza forest ecosystems. To do this, TRI Pakistan facilitated the development of sustainable forest management and landscape restoration frameworks in the four districts of Sherani, Chitral, South West, and Gilgit Baltisan (Diamer), which aim to address forest economic issues, biodiversity conservation and concerns over the key current drivers of forest degradation. These are also based on findings from participatory ROAM assessments that identified restoration opportunities and potential interventions. Additionally, TRI Pakistan reviewed existing policies and helped promote a transition to community-based implementation and the use of innovative and sustainable finance mechanisms such as payment for ecosystems and the use of fuel-efficient stoves. 

Classifications

Region
South Asia
Scale of implementation
National
Subnational
Ecosystem
Forest ecosystems
Temperate evergreen forest
Theme
Legal & policy frameworks
Challenges
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Sustainable development goals
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans

Location

Pakistan

Challenges

One of the biggest challenges that TRI Pakistan faces in achieving its policy and project objectives is the availability of resources. Policy development and especially implementation, requires a lot of resources to ensure all aspects of policies are enacted and enforced. This is partly why the inclusion of local communities is so critical. Private sector actors are one of the main sources of funding and with their buy-in the various policies TRI Pakistan has pursued can be properly approved and implemented. Similarly, political will from the government is critical for the policy changes, as without their willingness to consult stakeholders, the FLR policy process would have remained siloed in the government agencies.  

Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries include local communities, benefiting from restored ecosystems, private actors now earning more from sustainable land management, and the forest department, which now has greater clarity on how to implement forest policies.  

How do the building blocks interact?

TRI Pakistan’s work to review policy and regulatory frameworks that promote the use of sustainable financial mechanisms and to help develop sustainable forest management and landscape restoration frameworks in four districts in the Chilgoza Forest comes together to help TRI provide technical input for national policies and help Pakistan’s government implement forest policies with a greater focus on local communities. Through studying financial mechanisms such as payments for ecosystem services and creating an economic valuation study showing the economic worth of restoration in Chilgoza Forest ecosystems, TRI Pakistan was better able to present recommendations on potential interventions and highlight the economic value restoration could bring. With these recommendations incorporated into national policies and implementation measures, Pakistan’s frameworks can become more supportive of FLR. Similarly, with the development of management and restoration frameworks in the four districts, TRI Pakistan is contributing the incorporation of FLR at the subnational level and helping strengthen legal frameworks by ensuring restoration implementation is occurring at the local level with a focus on the priorities and needs of local communities.   

Impacts

TRI Pakistan’s work to strengthen policy and legal frameworks on the national and provincial level has resulted in multiple policy changes, including a transition in the implementation of the country’s various policies related to forests such as the National Forest Policy (2015) and the National Climate Change Policy (2021) that focus on a community-based forest management approach and local communities. This is done through local forest protection conservation committees, through which major developments and implementation must pass, and with the development of Chilgoza Forest Multi-Functional Management Plans for the Sherani, Chitral, South West, and Gilgit Baltisan districts, meant to facilitate the implementation of sustainable land management at the district level. This new focus on local communities represents a complete reorientation of the forestry sector in Pakistan in the way the government consults and considers private sector actors and local groups. While the government had previously not consulted other stakeholders at all prior to this new focus, today, implementation and the development of policies now must pass consultations with the various stakeholders implicated in forest management.

Story

The chilgoza forests, typically either pure stands of chilgoza pine (Pinus gerardiana) or mixed stands with other coniferous species, are native to northern Pakistan and a high-value tree known for its edible pine nuts, which are rich in carbohydrates and proteins. In addition to providing various environmental services, this species plays an important role in the livelihoods of local communities.

Traditionally, in communities’ rights to hold forests, the control of deforestation and forest degradation always remains an issue. The provincial forest departments in selected regions have limited reach, administrative control, and financial, legal and scientific decisions. On the other hand, due to traditional and unsustainable harvesting of NTFPs, existing gaps in the value chain and marketing issues marketing, the communities of high-value forests remain below the poverty line.

To address these issues on the request, FAO launched the project “Reversing Deforestation and Degradation in High Conservation-Value, Chilgoza Pine Forests in Pakistan.” It aims to improve local livelihoods through increased productivity and enhanced services and functions of chilgoza forests. The project aims to restore ecological integrity while improving human well-being through multifunctional landscapes.

Using the FLR approach, four options were identified and prioritized: assisted natural regeneration enclosures, agroforestry and farm forestry, communities’ engagement in conservation and protection, and development of linkages with provincial forest departments, and value chain development of goods and services produced from chilgoza forests.

Wood consumption for fuel and timber and livelihoods plays a role in degradation. To minimize this effect, the project focuses on two types of activities: agroforestry and innovative fuel-efficient technologies. So far, agroforestry interventions have been promoted over 953 ha (in total, 1.12 million plants) to support families dependent on forest services, and 2,100 fuel-efficient stoves and gasifiers, and 6 tonnes of pellets have been provided. In normal conditions, an improved stove consumes 49% less energy than a traditional stove. As such, the 2 100 stoves provided in the last 3 years saved 18 900 trees from ash. Therefore, not only has the fuelwood consumption been reduced, but so has the workload on women and children, while health, hygiene and living standards have improved.

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Leah Bronstein IUCN

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