More than 2mn indigenous trees have been planted throughout Pakistan so far as a part of Prime Minister’s Green Pakistan Programme. This was stated by Mohamed Saleem, a representative of the Ministry of Climate Change, yesterday.
“Launched on February 9 this year at the Prime Minister Office, the Green Pakistan Programme aims to reinvigorate country’s ailing forestry sector through a large-scale plantation besides protecting and conserving wildlife and their habitats for revival of the overall biodiversity, which is in danger because of over-exploitation or sustainable use of natural resources,” he said.
He claimed that more than 1mn trees had been planted in Punjab followed by 409,300 trees in Sindh, 202,000 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 232,400 in Balochistan, 130,500 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, 86,330 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 87,000 trees in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). He said 9.58mn saplings were in different nurseries set up in various parts of the country under the programme.
“These 9.58mn more saplings will be planted across the country in the next few months, particularly in watershed and areas which are vulnerable to floods, land erosion, landslides and where desertification is expanding,” Saleem added.
He said a viable mechanism had been hammered out to ensure maximum survival of the tree samplings through utmost care.
In this regard, local forest communities are also being engaged for their direct involvement in the tree plantation and their care.
Under the five-year ambitious Green Pakistan Programme, 100mn trees will be planted till 2021 at a cost of Rs10bn.
Some 50% of the cost will be met by provincial governments, Gilgit-Baltistan, AJK and Fata regions while the remainder will be extended on a yearly basis by the federal government.
Drylands cover about 41 per cent of the Earth’s surface and face the problem of water scarcity. People living in drylands, especially in the developing countries, depend on forests, wooded lands, grasslands and trees to meet their basic requirements.
The world’s drylands must be restored as they provide habitat for biodiversity, protect against erosion, help combat desertification and contribute to soil fertility.
According to Nora Berrahmouni, drylands forestry officer at FAO, “Trees contribute to food security. So, increasing their density in forests is very important. It is important to increase their density in drier areas, keeping in mind the local conditions. However, this does not mean that we should convert natural grasslands into forests. Grasslands are equally important as forests.”
Water shortage in drylands
Life in drylands is precarious and to make things worse water availability in these areas is expected to decline due to changes in climate and land use, the report says.
“People in drylands face many challenges. They live in extreme environmental conditions: scarcity of water, periods of drought, heat waves, land degradation and desertification. Poverty, lack of socio-economic opportunities, food insecurity, conflicts, weak governance and inadequate policies are other problems they face,” Berrahmouni added.
Increasing forest cover in drylands will improve water infiltration in soils and reduce erosion. To solve water scarcity, there is a need to manage existing water resources and develop water harvesting techniques, support restoration of forest cover to reduce siltation and water erosion and recharge aquifers.
Dryland forests and other associated ecosystems have not attracted the same level of interest and investment. Tree cover and land use in drylands are not well known. However, drylands cover 6.1 billion hectares, an area more than twice the size of Africa.
Shrubs and trees in China’s western deserts are shown.
Credit: Xu Jianchu
New look at satellite data questions scale of China’s afforestation success
May 3, 2017
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
China has invested massive resources into halting and reversing tree cover loss. However, ‘planting trees is not the same as gaining forests.’ It is likely that much of China’s tree cover gains consist of low-height, sparse and/or scattered plantations, which are unlikely to provide the same benefits as natural forests, such as diverse habitats for wildlife, prevention of soil erosion, and timber resources.
Black willows were used because they are easy to propagate and grow into a new tree from cutting off a limb
By STACEY HAIRSTON SHairston@thefranklinnewspost.com
The STIC program was started in 2012 as a partnership between Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
As part of the program, students root native Black Willow cuttings in the classroom for about three to four weeks and then take a field trip to plant the trees, said Krista Hodges, DRBA education manager.
“Trees along streams help keep water clean by buffering out pollution like chemicals and litter, and help keep the streams at cooler temperatures during the summer,” Hodges said. “The trees also provide habitat for wildlife seeking food or water, and shelter.”
Black willows were used because they are easy to propagate and grow into a new tree from cutting off a limb, Hodges said. The limbs, when handled and treated properly, will root in a couple weeks and can be planted within three to four weeks after cutting.
“The Black Willows are perfect for the program because they are native to the area and love wet areas near streams,” she said.
I’ve been holding off on my willow-building experiment because I couldn’t quite decide whether our native black willow (Salix nigra) was too tree-like (eventual height 33 to 98 feet) to keep small in the format of a living sculpture. Then, while out hunting cattail spears for lunch, I stumbled across a stand of what are probably planted purple willows (Salix purpurea) and decided that this smaller (up to 15 feet), introduced species would be easier to keep within bounds.
I just participated in a restoration project a few days ago in the local Lagunitas Watershed in Marin County, CA as part of the Ecology/Plant Biology class I’m taking. Part of the project is to transplant willow cuttings from one area of a seasonal tributary creek to the devegetated shores of the creek just downstream. The idea is to get a root system going that will shore up the steep sides of the creek to as so decrease sediment falling into the tributary (saving salmon-spawning habitat). The 1-inch thick cuttings (2-5ft tall) that were put in a month or so ago have a nice little amount of vegetation on them already. The cuttings we transplanted last week were instead nestled horizontally in the soil along the creek bank. It was enjoyable.
The economics are clear. The benefits of trees far outweigh the cost of planting and maintaining them. Restoring 350 million hectares to contain global warming requires between $79 and $130 Bn (or an average $7 Bn per annum over the next 15 years.
In 2014, global GDP amounted to about 77.3 trillion U.S. dollars, this total investment to contain global warming represents merely 0,001% of 1 years’ global GDP or 0,08% of 1 years’ global military spending.
If creative mechanisms where private contributions are matched by public grants can be developed, like in the WeForest Zambia project where a grant from Finland (CSEF) is covering 60% of the project costs, corporates will enjoy a huge positive impact with a minimal investment. Ask us about this opportunity to contribute in Zambia.
 Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices from 2010-2020 (in billion U.S. dollars): Statista. (2015),
Figure 3.1: Portulacaria afra Jacq. (spekboom) tree. Notice the skirt of rooted branches
Spekboom multiplication for combating desertification
by Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM
Ghent University (Belgium)
One of the most interesting African plant species used to combat desertification, limiting soil erosion, producing a dense vegetation cover and a remarkable number of small, edible leaves (fodder, but also vitamin-rich food for humans), is the Spekboom or Elephant’s Bush (Portulacaria afra).
This plant species is swiftly covering dry, eroding soils and should be recommended to all global projects for alleviation of drought, combat of land degradation and halting of wind erosion.
My good friend Johan VAN DE VEN of Bamboo Sur was so kind to offer me some rooted cuttings. These are growing very well in pots and PET-bottles in my garden in Belgium.
In order to study different ways of multiplication of this Spekboom (with succulent branches and leaves), I started taking off small lateral shoots (cuttings) and planted them in some potting soil in a cake box. I also planted some of the succulent leaves (see my photos below).
Within the plastic cake box humidity is kept high (condensation of droplets on the cover). Therefore, I opened the cover from time to time to let some fresh air (oxygen) in.
Quite soon both the cuttings and the separate leaves started rooting. The cuttings swiftly developed some new leaves. A month later I transplanted them into small plastic bottles, twice perforated 2-3 cm above the bottom (for drainage, keeping a small quantity of water at the bottom for moistening the bottle’s content and the rootball).
Once fully rooted within the plastic bottle, I cut off the bottom of the bottle to set the lower part of the rootball free. Then I planted the young Spekboom in a plant pit without taking off the plastic bottle, sitting as a plastic cylinder around the rootball. That plastic cylinder continued to keep the rootball moistened (almost no evaporation) and it offered possibilities to water the sapling from time to time, whenever needed. Irrigation water runs through the plastic cylinder towards the bottom of the rootball, growing freely in the soil (irrigation water directed towards the roots growing into the soil at the bottom of the plant pit). Thus a high survival rate was guaranteed.
It is clear that multiplication of the Spekboom with rooting cuttings and leaves is very easy. It is another interesting aspect of this remarkable plant. I can only recommend a broader use of the Spekboom for reforestation, fodder production and even production of bonsais for enhancement of the annual income (export to developed countries).
Here are some photos of this experiment.
—————-Considering that people working at the Great Green Wall in Africa (or any other interested group on other continents) are looking for practical solutions to cover as soon as possible huge areas of a desertified region, one is tempted to believe that setting up nurseries to produce a sufficient number of plants should not be a problem (as these plants only need a minimum of water).
I keep dreaming of successes booked with this nice edible plant species in the combat of desertification. The day will come that the Elephant bush will be growing in all the drought-affected regions of the world. Animals will eat from it, but also malnourished children and hungry adults will find it an interesting supplement to their food.
A CIFOR scientist (left) inspects Arenillo seeds collected by a Kichwa timber producer. These seeds will be replanted by the farmer to reforest his land in Napo Province, Ecuador. Tomas Munita/CIFOR Photo
New global forest restoration initiatives – such as the Bonn Challenge, Initiative 20×20, AFR100, the Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi Targets – present an unparalleled opportunity to reverse the trend of deforestation and forest degradation in the coming years. However, those who work in forest restoration have countless stories of failed projects. How can we minimize these failures, learn from other restoration initiatives and build success from the ground up?
Restoration experts agree: monitoring is essential to restoration success. But is monitoring being given enough attention in the current major global initiatives?
Dr Moussa Ouédraogo, Director of the National Tree Seed Centre, Burkina Faso,
Why seeds for trees matter in ecosystem restoration efforts in Burkina Faso
The Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed in Nagoya in 2012 included restoring 15% of the world’s degraded ecosystems by 2020 (Target 15). Subsequent assessments have led to estimates that for terrestrial ecosystems, this 15% means restoring a staggering 350 million hectares – and requires billions of tons of tree seed and trillions of seedlings.
In this second blog in the CBD COP13 Forest and Landscape Restoration Blog Series, Bioversity International partner, Dr Moussa Ouédraogo, Director of the National Tree Seed Centre, Burkina Faso, outlines longstanding efforts to supply quality seeds for restoration initiatives and the challenges they are facing.
When assessing ecosystem restoration opportunities in a country, it is important to analyze what institutional, policy, and legal frameworks, as well as financial and technical resources exist or are lacking that can either support or hinder ecosystem restoration plans. This need is also highlighted in the Short-term Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration that the Conference of Parties to the CBD which is expected to be adopted in Cancun as a guidance to countries and other actors interested in restoration.
Regarding institutional capacities, one aspect often overlooked in restoration planning is the ability of existing tree seed supply systems to provide the quantity and quality of seed required for meeting restoration goals. We spoke to Dr Moussa Ouédraogo, newly appointed Director of the Centre National de Semences Forestières (CNSF – National Tree Seed Centre) in Burkina Faso about his research centre’s longstanding efforts to supply quality seeds for restoration initiatives in the country and the challenges they are facing. More than 30 years after its establishment, the centre remains a reference for the Sahelian region with its pivotal role in supporting tree planting efforts in the region.
Q: Why is restoration important for Burkina Faso?
Dr Moussa Ouédraogo: Burkina Faso is a land-locked country. We experienced major droughts in the 1970s, which caused large-scale tree mortality, land degradation and pushed desertification processes. Nature could not recuperate alone after these dramatic events and human intervention was needed to revert land degradation. The need to restore became evident.
At the technical level, many approaches were attempted in order to restore the resource base needed for agriculture and agroforestry. Soil restoration techniques, to improve fertility and soil quality, were adopted due to support and maintain agriculture production. These were coupled with water management techniques and with assisted natural regeneration. Re-establishing a tree cover could mean planting within an existing forest area, in order to increase diversity, or direct/sowing and planting on a totally bare land.
Restoring lands and livelihoods in Burkina Faso: The business of one association
Effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities and women in ecosystem restoration is one of the three main principles of the Action Plan on Ecosystem Restoration that the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are expected to adopt at their next Conference in Cancun in December. Effective participation is both the ends and means of ecosystem restoration, but is not easily achieved.
A Burkinabè association tiipaalga (meaning ‘new tree’) has worked with the country’s farmers for over a decade to help them bring their degraded lands back to life. The organization’s aim is to help improve ecosystems for the purpose of improving the well-being of local households. The organization considers – and calls – farmers its partners. Mr Alain Traoré, Director of tiipaalga, shares insights from his long-term efforts in fostering farmer-led restoration initiatives in Burkina Faso.
This is the fifth blog in the CBD COP13 Forest and Landscape Restoration Blog Serieshighlighting why mainstreaming agricultural and tree biodiversity in sustainable food and production systems is critical to achieve the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, with a particular focus on forest and landscape restoration.
Q: What is tiipaalga’s approach in supporting farmers?
A: Our main approach is assisted natural regeneration, which is a low-cost forest restoration method aimed at accelerating growth of existing natural regeneration by removing competition from weeds and other disturbances and creating a more favorable micro-environment for growth. In some cases, if natural regeneration is not sufficient, planting of valuable species to supplement the existing tree populations (enrichment planting) can be carried out.
While we support planting trees, we recommend farmers only plant in small numbers, to allow them to maintain the trees. There is no point in planting one million trees which we cannot tend. It’s better to plant 10 trees per year and in 50 years we will have all we want. We want our partners [farmers] to be sure to be able to care for their trees so they can bring life; as our slogan says: “a tree for life”.
Hunndreds of carefully cultivated young native trees and shrubs are taking root at Carlsbad’s Lake Calavera Preserve where a grove of invasive Mexican fan palms was recently cut down and hauled away.
A wide palette of trees and plants — oaks and cottonwoods, marsh elder and lizard tail — was installed at the preserve this week as part of a habitat restoration project coordinated by the city.
The palms may have been pretty, but in wildlife areas such as the preserve, they are a nuisance that attracts rats and other rodents, while crowding out desirable native plants and animals, officials said.
“You give them an inch, and they’ll take an acre,” said Eddie Rosas, a foreman for Habitat Restoration Sciences, the company hired by Carlsbad to tackle the replanting project.
The restoration project is designed to compensate for vegetation removed as part of the maintenance of the Lake Calavera dam. The preserve, with more than six miles of public hiking trails, is on the northeastern end of Carlsbad near the Oceanside border and is notable for the ancient volcanic cone at its center.
Most of the trees planted this week were willow cuttings. Workers took hundreds of cuttings from three types of willows — arroyo, red and black — already growing in the preserve and then stored the inch-thick, 4-foot-long cuttings for a week in buckets of water, like flowers in a vase.
High levels of poverty, low water availability, deforestation and land degradation are fuelling conflicts among communities in East Africa.
Faced with growing degradation that is swallowing large swathes of land in arid and semiarid areas, Kenya is heavily investing in rehabilitation efforts to stave off the threat of desertification.
Charles Sunkuli, secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, says a programme targeting 5.1 million hectares of degraded and deforested land for restoration by 2030 was launched in September 2016. He added that Kenya is increasing its forest cover from the current seven percent to a minimum of 10 percent.
“We have introduced an equalisation fund to help communities living in dry and degraded lands eke out at a living and participate in rehabilitation initiatives,” said Sunkuli.
He was speaking in Nairobi during the Fifteenth Session of the Committee of Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which concluded last week.
Afforestration, he noted, will mainly be done in the country’s arid and semiarid areas which make up 80 percent of Kenya’s land cover, although other areas of the country to are being targeted too.
To succeed in its ambitious endeavour, Sunkuli said Kenya is implementing a programme to promote drought-tolerant tree species such Melia volkensii (locally known as Mukau) in the country’s vast drylands to increase forest cover.
Indeed, Kenya is heavily investing in research into drought resistant trees to enhance afforestration of dry lands and improve livelihoods. At Tiva in the dry Kitui County, eastern Kenya, the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) has established a research centre to breed tree species ideal for planting in arid and semiarid areas. The centre is supported by the government in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).