PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa forest department on Tuesday claimed to have confiscated illegally axed 148,774 square feet timber arresting 393 suspects, while confiscating 408 illegal cutting machines and 1,799 vehicles.
Forest Conservator Hazara Division Muhammad Azher told media that under billion-tree tsunami campaigns, forest land spreading over an area of 85,700 kanal worth over Rs39 billion was evacuated from land grabbers.
He said that the K-P government has achieved 80 per cent results of the billion-tree tsunami.
According to Azher, in Hazara division, the area of forest cover has been increased from 20.3 per cent to 26.6 per cent.
The top guardian of woods in the division said that his department has collected penalties and fines to the tune of Rs307.667 million from people violating laws relating to forests.
The collected penalties were deposited in the national kitty, while 1,304 cases were registered against people involved in timber theft, land grabbing and other such crimes, Azher said.
He said that K-P has attained a position to get carbon quota by increasing forest area. Under the new tree plantation drive, supervision of forest and monitoring system were strengthened.
Azher said that Punjab and Sindh governments should have to protect and strengthened forests to avert floods devastations in coming days.
In preparation for the reforestation effort, the provincial government helped set up a network of tree nurseries across the province in 2016, providing loans and purchase agreements for tree saplings. Altogether it has spent Rs11 billion on the effort.
About 13,000 government and private nurseries, in almost every district of the province, are now producing hundreds of thousands of saplings of local and imported tree varieties, including pines, walnuts and eucalyptus.
The nurseries have provided about 40 per cent of the new trees in K-P; the remaining trees have come from natural regeneration in forests now put under protection.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2017.