LAHORE – The Punjab Forest Department Thursday launched the Green Pakistan Programme by planting 100,000 saplings over an area of 138 acres across 19 districts of the Punjab.

A ceremony was held at Karol Forest, Lahore, which was attended by Mian Yawar Zaman, Minister Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries Department, Capt (r) Jahanzeb Khan, Secretory Forest, Shahid Rashid Awan, CEO, South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC).

“Through Green Pakistan Programme in Punjab, Rs 1,285 million have been allocated, through which almost 5.5 million trees will be planted on 10,000 acres of forest land, across 13 districts in five years”, said Mian Yawar Zaman.

Tahir Rasheed, CEO, SPFC, said, “the Green Pakistan Programme will be a successful initiative, as it will help to improve the forest cover of Pakistan, leading to the conservation of wildlife. Most importantly, it will help to adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change in Pakistan, as the country is highly vulnerable to the phenomenon”.

South Punjab Forest Company (SPFC) and World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF-Pakistan) also collaborated for the event. WWF-Pakistan also helped to engage the students from Government College University (GCU), who participated by planting trees at the event. At Karol Forest, 7000 trees were planted on 10 acres of land and hoped that the initiative will eventually increase the proportion of forests in Pakistan.

For Green Pakistan Programme, the federal government is bearing 50 percent cost of the project, whereas each province will contribute 50 percent as a matching grant. Through the programme, 100 million trees will be planted across the country. The programme aims to plant indigenous tree species to conserve and promote the local flora of Punjab. The species to be planted in different ecological areas include Chir, Kail, Deodar, Fit, Partal, Sprouce, Phulai, Kiker, Rubinia, Kahu, Jand, Ber, Fig, Akhrot, Toot, Neem, Frash and other species.