Pakistan Table of Contents
Forests cover about 3 million hectares, less than 4 percent of the country. Many forests are in the Northern Areas and Azad Kashmir, where coniferous trees predominate, but the management and exploitation of these forests is hampered by the remoteness of the land. Elsewhere, most of the native forest was destroyed before independence by population pressure, overcultivation, and overgrazing. The lack of tree cover contributes to many of the problems the agricultural sector has experienced since independence, including soil erosion, the silting of streams, flooding, and a shortage of timber and firewood.
In the mid-1990s, government efforts to increase the extent of forests have had little success, but tree-planting programs continue. Many of the nation's forests, including some irrigated tree plantations in the Indus River basin, are under government control. These forests produced 321,000 cubic meters of timber and 534,000 cubic meters of firewood in FY 1993, but production was far short of demand. Imports filled part of the requirement for timber, while cutting trees and shrubs on private land met part of the need for firewood. In October 1993, however, the government imposed a two-year nationwide ban on the private felling of trees. This action was taken because of concerns that Pakistan was fast losing the little tree cover that existed (see Pollution and Environmental Issues , ch. 2).
Data as of April 1994