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Commercial Forestry in Pakistan

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Commercial Forestry in Pakistan

Public Private Partnerships is the way to go!

M.H. Rehman

One of the major causes of climate change is deforestation. As human population and industrialization have grown, so have human settlements and use of timber for multiple purposes. This means much of the land that previously had forests and other vegetation on it has been, on the one hand, levelled, and constructed upon, and trees cut to obtain timber, on the other. Less forest cover affected earth’s ecosystem in more than one way, all contributing to the phenomenon of climate change. It is no surprise, therefore, that efforts for mitigating climate change have heavily relied on tree plantation, aimed at restoring balance in the earth’s ecosystem. Over time, it has also become clear that governments alone cannot succeed in mitigating climate change, or in restoring forest cover for that matter. It is the masses at large that need to be taken on board, involved and incentivized for ensuring that all such efforts remain fruitful. Such incentives range from providing low-cost energy and heat sources, and alternate building and furniture materials to rural people, to assigning commercial value to growing trees. Once the general public knows planting and growing trees is a profitable proposition, commercial forestation will, surely, set in and forest cover will increase without much intervention by the government.

1178907Agreements like the Kyoto Protocol attempt to cap the amount of CO2 that is being released by the signatory countries. To meet the Kyoto Protocol commitment, countries can use carbon sinks whereby they can continue to produce CO2; for example, in power generation, but offset this emission using a carbon sink. A carbon sink is where CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored for a period of time. Planting trees for forestry is currently the main carbon sink used in many parts of the world. Trees absorb carbon as about bout 50 percent of the dry weight of tree roots, branches, trunks and leaves is of carbon. The carbon trading system involves the issuing of carbon credits for afforestation and reforestation activities that meet a set of strict guidelines. Credits are issued to individuals or companies growing compliant forests and these can be sold to a carbon emitter such as a power company, using them to ‘offset’ a power station’s CO2 emissions.

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