Using trees to adapt to a prolonged winter and dry season

Full Solution
Olive trees planted in the hills of village Rangela Shamozai Valley, Swat

The project promoted the planting of drought-resistant olive trees. The sale of fruit generates income, thereby increasing the resilience of the local communities. The project provided planting material to, organized training on grafting and budding, and arranged an exposure visit for farmers. Furthermore, the project promoted the use of formerly unutilized mulberry fruit as livestock feed. Through training and practical demonstration farmers learned how to produce mulberry based feed-blocks.

Last update: 09 Jul 2019
Challenges addressed
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Shift of seasons
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Lack of food security
In Chitral and Swat districts, climate change adversely affects the livelihoods of the local communities which mainly depend on the services and benefits that the ecosystems provide. With advancing climate change, drought periods will be longer and more frequent. Biodiversity is slowly eroding. In agriculture, local well adapted and resilient species and varieties are disappearing, inter alia due to lack of awareness, propagation of high-yielding varieties, overexploitation of forests and rangelands. There is an acute shortage of fodder for livestock, a situation that is worsened by a prolonged winter / dry season. In the past, the relevant government services have worked in an un-coordinated way, with insufficient communication within and among the departments, and planned their field activities in a top-down manner. Farmers were insufficiently supported in their efforts to adapt to climate change, and to conserve and sustainably manage biodiversity as a basis for their livelihoods.
Mulberry planting: 100 male and 50 female farmers Olive plantation: 20 farmers Vulnerability assessment process: 292 farmers and government staff
Scale of implementation
Temperate evergreen forest
Ecosystem services
Sustainable livelihoods
Watershed management
Outreach & communications
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Province, Pakistan
South Asia
Summary of the process
The systematization of best practices of similar projects (Building Block 1) and vulnerability assessments for integrated bottom-up planning (Building Block 2) laid the foundation for subsequent project implementation. The planned EbA measures were implemented in a participatory manner through a community-based approach (Building Block 3). While using biodiversity and ecosystem services for climate change adaptation of local communities it was of particular importance that the selected EbA measures are climate smart and make use of resilient tree species (Building Block 4).
Building Blocks
Capitalising on best practices of similar projects
At the start of the BKP Project, 13 biodiversity conservation and natural resource management projects implemented in the mountain valleys of Northern Pakistan were analysed for their lessons and best practices. Successful practices included: developing biodiversity strategies and action plans at the sub-national level, raising private forest and fruit nurseries, joint forest management, sport hunting, district coordination mechanisms, resource conservation plans, extension cadres for livestock and agriculture, students’ engagement, village conservation funds, community exchanges, land development infrastructure (irrigation channels, protective walls), and collection and post-harvest processing of medicinal and aromatic plant species. The results were documented in a detailed report.
Enabling factors
• Existence and availability of documented best-practices • Proper orientation and mobilization of the relevant stakeholders on the best practices • Coordination among the stakeholders through a responsive and dynamic steering mechanism • Community involvement from the planning phase
Lesson learned
• With the exception of very few, lessons learnt and best practices are hardly incorporated in the government formal development agenda for future replication. Integration into government policies and funding-decisions are urgently required. • The best practices report emphasises the necessity of capacity-building for local communities. The traditional top-bottom approach of delivering service through the government and NGOs has proven little effective in addressing the problems at the grass root level. A radical shift from resource-focused interventions towards a community-centred approach for local capacity-building, to address the problems at the local level, is needed to improve local ownership to address development challenges themselves. • Knowing in advance the pitfalls experienced by other projects helped BKP dealing with such problems.
Vulnerability assessments for integrated bottom-up planning
The project developed and applied a tool for the assessment of vulnerabilities of communities and ecosystems towards the impacts of climate change. The aim was to ensure that the measures implemented reflect the priorities of the community and, at the same time, consider the local climate. After orientations on general climate change vulnerabilities in Pakistan, the vulnerability assessments (VAs) were implemented by teams of agricultural and forestry experts from various government departments, along with project staff. The teams applied different Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques, including key informant discussions, focus group discussions (FGDs), village resource mapping, transect walks, and field observations. Information was collected on general village issues as well as on main natural hazards and their impacts. Based on the vulnerability assessment and consultations with the pilot communities, a set of adaptation measures were identified. The communities have been fully involved in all steps.
Enabling factors
• A consulting firm was contracted for backstopping and support to district teams. • The assessment was based on an existing methodology (GIZ’s Vulnerability Sourcebook. • An orientation workshop for key stakeholders followed by training for District staff was organized to share the VA approach and to enhance capacities of key stakeholders and discuss data needs/ sources. • Community awareness, mobilization and involvement • Active participation of the government line agencies (departments)
Lesson learned
• Local-level VAs are an important tool for integrated bottom-up planning. They help to identify socially-acceptable and biodiversity friendly measures that support adaption to climate change. The government should consider making VAs mandatory so that values and services of biodiversity can be safeguarded. • Gender aspects of the VAs should be worked out according to the local customs and traditions to allow women participation in the assessments. This is particularly important when women are involved in managing the natural resources. • The assessment proved very helpful for the local communities as well as the line agencies to understand the scale and type of their vulnerabilities with regard to climate change. The realization paved the way for effective implementation of the climate change adaptation measures. • The PRA tools can vary from one community to another, so judicious thought is necessary when selecting the tools. The tools should be context and culture sensitive.
Community-based implementation of EbA measures
Adaptation measures were implemented via a multi-stakeholder process involving communities, government institutions and the project. This innovative mechanism for demand-driven and integrated planning and implementation of field measures was termed ‘Triangle of Cooperation’ (see graphic). The BKP project funded adaptation measures through local subsidy contracts (LSC) with the community, which had to form a village organisation registered with the Social Welfare Department, and open a bank account. To receive support, the community had to enter into an agreement (memorandum of understanding, MoU) with the concerned government department to specify their roles and responsibilities. While the community was responsible for the implementation of the adaptation measures, the involved government department provided training and oversight.
Enabling factors
• Strengthening village-based organisations for appropriate involvement of women considering local norms / traditions • Formalizing cooperation between the community and the supporting institution (government, NGO, development project) • Practical demonstrations • Monitoring and evaluation involving the local communities • Capacity building of the community to ensure the successful completion of activities as well as to carryout out follow up activities beyond the project’s support
Lesson learned
For further promotion of biodiversity conservation to support local communities in climate change adaptation, the different tools introduced by the project, such as training, workshops, exposure visits to promising communities and institutions, use of print and electronic media etc., have to be used continuously, taking into account local culture and norms. In general, the government allocates only a meagre amount of funds for the green sector. In cases, the budget allocated is more for the staff salaries than for the field level activities. Sufficient budgetary allocations to the green sector for biodiversity friendly adaptation measures should therefore be guaranteed by the government, to replicate the best adaptation measures on a needs-basis. For sustainability the responsible government agencies should support the local communities in future activities
Climate-change adapted plants - Olive ssp.
The promotion of drought-resistant and climate change-adapted plants, such as olive trees, contributes to increasing the resilience of the local communities. The area in Swat is suitable for olive growing: wild olives grow here in cemeteries, which are biodiversity hotspots thanks to their protection over centuries. Olive trees can be planted on marginal lands; they bear fruit after 4-5 years of plantation and generate income by providing the source product for olive oil. Pakistan is highly dependent on the import of edible oils. The establishment of small processing plants for the production of olive oil can contribute considerably to the supply of edible oils. The project provided 3000 high-quality olive tree seedlings to farmers in Swat, organized training on grafting and budding, and arranged an exposure visit for olive farmers to an olive-producing community for direct exchange with successful olive farmers.
Enabling factors
• Exposure visits were important to inform future olive farmers on the importance of olive products through value addition by displaying various olive by-products (dried leaves and olive seed powder for medical treatments). • Support of the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) Mingora was crucial to further improve the olive value chain in Swat through different trainings of the farmers. • The farmers should have access to markets for the products; otherwise they get discouraged.
Lesson learned
• For promotion of biodiversity conservation to support local communities in climate change adaptation, different tools such as training, workshops, exposure visits to promising communities and institutions, use of print and electronic media etc., have to be used continuously, taking into account local culture and norms. • The species should be selected according to the local climate and consumer preferences but importantly the species should not be exotic to distort the local biodiversity or increase species uniformity.

• The local community in Chitral has learned how to prepare Mulberry fruit based feed-block and knows its nutritional and economic value. The local community is able to use mulberry when fodder availability is lean. • The production of mulberry fruit based feed-blocks is being replicated by some farmers, and some of them have started marketing the feed-blocks in the area. • 3000 high-quality olive tree seedlings have been planted by farmers in Swat. The plantation sites are protected from grazing animals which has increased vegetation cover and has restored the habitat for the local fauna • The participation in the vulnerability assessments and the subsequent joint planning and implementation of adaptation measures increased the awareness of different stakeholders around biodiversity in general and, more specifically, around the interrelatedness of biodiversity, ecosystem services and climate change.

Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 13 – Climate action
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Asghar Khan
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH