Efforts afoot to turn Katpana Desert green

280,000 saplings planted in cold desert under 10 billion tree project

Our Correspondent May 28, 2021


In order to mitigate the drastic effects of climate change which is adversely affecting most countries including Pakistan, efforts are under way at a frenzied pace to combat it by making the landscape as green as possible.

To this end, the world's highest and cold desert 'Katpana Desert' located in Pakistan's scenic Skardu region is going to go green as 280,000 saplings have been planted in the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami (TBTTP) campaign under Prime Minister Imran Khan's vision of Clean Green Pakistan.

The aim behind planting trees in a desert is to turn barren lands from grey to green and contain the rising temperatures and environmental degradation in the region, an official of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Plantation project disclosed to the media.

Highlighting the first-ever desert plantation of the country ahead of World Environment Day celebrations which the country would be hosting globally as a leader on environmental conservation, he added that Under TBTTP, the respective Forest Department has aimed at continuing the process to harness maximum areas under forest cover by converting desert to green cover," he said.

"Now turning a desert into green forest, around 35,000 plants have been planted alone in Spring Plantation 2021 at Hoto Forest, Skardu comprising a mix of Indian Willow and Olive plants," the official pointed out.

While elaborating on the cold desert environment, the official described Katpana cold desert as the world's highest desert in Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan.

He added that giving a breathtaking view of picturesque dunes of fine quality sand, the high sand dunes of Katpana has given it the name of the cold desert.

"Due to a higher altitude terrain, the temperature prevailing is savage varying from 8°C to 26°C in October which drops to -10°C in December to January making the region one of the harshest areas to survive in during peak seasons of cold," he said.

Under TBTTP, he explained during this spring season 2021, 0.035 million plants were planted where a total of 0.28 million saplings were planted in Katpana cold desert since the inception of the TBTTP project.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2021.