International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is implementing a project on “Building Coalitions for Change to Implement Pro-Poor Environmental Fiscal Reforms (EFR) in Pakistan”, in the Abbottabad district.
The EFR work in being carried on through implementation of EFR instruments as well as implementation of pilot schemes on solid waste and water supply under the recommendations of the various studies that have already been completed under the project.
During a Round Table held on ‘Water and Sanitation’ for identifying coordinated approaches in the district it was suggested that measures to protect and manage catchment area around Abbottabad need to be initiated to increase ground water recharge in the aquifers. Afforestation was also identified as a need.
For initiating slope stabilization and watershed management, IUCN organized a sapling planting campaign in Nawanshehr in collaboration with the NWFP Forest Department and Town Committee. On Independence day, August 14, 2009, about 4000 saplings of indigenous and multipurpose species were planted on selected sites. Nursery stock of Robinia pseudocassia (Kikkar) and Pinus roxburghii (Chir pine) were planted in degraded watershed area and on un-stable slopes around villages of Dhodial and Bumblail.
The event was celebrated as a major activity in conjugation with Independence Day, and was participated in by more than 300 persons, including senior representatives from community, social workers, members of Nawanshehr Youth Welfare Society and school children from local schools including Government High School Nawanshehr and Orush Public School.
School children sang national songs and poems about independence and Pakistan Day, while the Town Nazim and other senior citizens also spoke to them children and briefed them about the planting activity.
Before start of the planting activity, Saadullah Ayaz, Coordinator EFR, IUCN spoke to the school children and briefed them about the purpose of the activity. He also demonstrated how planting was to be carried out in order to ensure maximum survival of the plants. The children were also instructed to dispose off the trash in a proper manner.
The activity was widely publicized through banners. For planting, children were assembled in small groups of two to three children, with each group being supervised by .teacher. Each group was given 10 saplings and they guided to already prepared ditches.
The children planted Robinia pseudocassia (Kikkar) on unstable slopes and shady aspect. While Pinus roxburghii (Chir pine) saplings were planted on southern and drier aspects. About 4000 saplings were planted.
Local people living around the site have been mobilized for the protection of planted stock and they will keep IUCN and Town Committee Nawanshehr informed about the survival and will ensure that the plants are protected from any damage.
Some school children have volunteered to keep visiting the site with their teachers to monitor plant survival.