Carbon storage can be increased by promoting the social forestry and non-destructive use of wood. Barani areas of pakistan are suitable.
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 ppm to approximately 392 ppm. The CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas that is increasingly trapping solar heat and warming the global climate. So, capturing/reducing of carbon levels from the atmosphere is the ultimate challenge of 21st century. Among others, carbon sequestration/carbon capturing using trees as CO2 sink is most efficient and cost-effective way (IPCC, 2007).
Carbon removal by trees
According to FAO (2010), only 2.5% of Pakistani area is under state forest but they are only reserved/protected forests and major needs of the country are fulfilled by agro-forestry/social forestry. So, sustainable development of agroforestry sector is crucial to meet the wood demands in Pakistan. Barani areas of Pakistan (Khushab District; Thal desert) receive very limited rainfall and farmers are very poor with small land holdings but farming is totally dependant on rainfall during Monsoon season. Soil are sandy and water table is at the level of 25 ft, but water is not fit for irrigation but it can be easily employed for growing trees. In the 1980s the district was classified as a tax-relief zone for new industries. This lead to the establishment of many industries including cement, paper and textiles. In Khushab district, people are interested to grow the trees because it’s increased demand.
The increment of forested area can be carried out rapidly through social forestry in Khushab District by just motivating the farmers and by providing some basic funds. This increased forestry area will directly help to lower the CO2 concentrations from the atmosphere, will improve the soil and atmospheric conditions and most of all it will improve the livelihood level of local community by increased income. On the completion of rotation of trees, most of the wood would be consumed without burning in the local industry (paper industry and chip board industry), so that, CO2 is not returned to atmosphere.
What actions do you propose?
Sites in the Khushab District (Barani Areas) will be identified by extensive visits of the area and farmers will be contacted to realize them the concept of social forestry. A list of interested farmers will be prepared. A survey will be conducted to determine the preferences of farmers and industry for tree species. A nursery will be raised near to Barani Areas and 1,50,000 plants of preferred species will be prepared and provided to farmers. Union of farmers will be made and an agreement will be signed to bind them to bear the 20 % cost of the planting of one acre (1/2.47 hectare) and they will also be bounded to plant another one acre on their own expenses. So, with the 80% cost of planting of one acre, two acre forest plantation will be established. In this project, 50 ha plantation will be carried out. Another 50 ha will be established by the farmers according to agreement. So, a total of 100 ha plantation will be establishing comprising of 181500 trees (1815 trees/ha). A rotation of 5 years is normally carried out in this area. It is well known fact of this area that farmers, who have once planted trees on their lands, have continued the practice of agroforestry even after the completion of first rotation. So, this area can serve as timber mine for Pakistan on one side and can help in CO2 reduction from atmosphere on the other side.
Who will take these actions?
Department of Forestry, Range Management and Wildlife, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad will work in collobration with Punjab Forest Department at Khushab distrit for the implementation of project.
Dr. Muhammad Farrakh Nawaz (Ph.D. From France in 2010) at the Department of Forestry will deals with funds utilization, research aspect, monitering the project and selection of sites. Punjab Forest Department at Khushab District will help in making the contacts with farmers, nursery raising and ensuring the survival of trees after the plantation.
Govt. sector involvement will also be ensured to subsidies and attract the wood industry in this area.
Farmers will be directly involved for post management practices for their own interest. 20% bearing cost will make the responsible and dutiful.
Where will these actions be taken?
All the project activities will be carried out in Barani areas of Pakistan like Khushab. Khushab is situated between the cities of Sarghodha and Mianwali, near the river Jhelum. The district headquarters is located at Jauharabad. Khushab consists of agricultural lowland plains, lakes, and hills. Parts of the Thal desert touch the district, which has a breadth of over 70 miles (110 km) and is situated between the Indus river and the Jhelum river. The district is rich in natural resources (salt and coal). Most people are associated with farming and agriculture. Wheat and gram are the major cultivated field crops. In the 1980s the district was classified as a tax-relief zone for new industries. This led to the establishment of many industries including cement, sugar, paper and textiles. In Khushab district, people are interested to grow the trees because some agroforestry projects have already run there that have the major impacts on socioeconomic conditions of people of Khushab.
How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?
100 ha plantation of trees (181500 trees) will absorb huge amount of CO2 from the atmospher. It is well known that plants at the initial stages absorbs more CO2 than later on (Nair, 2011). Carbon storage by social forestry is cheap, easy, effective and long lasting strategy. According to an estimate Eucalyptus trees absorb about 30 ton CO2/ha/year (web1). So according this reference 3000 tons of CO2 will be reduced/year through this project.
What are other key benefits?
This project will also provides following benefits
1. As the Khushab area is mostly saline area so trees will stabilize the soil and act as wind breaks
2. Income generation for people by growing trees
3.Industry supply will be fulfilled
4. All over Pakistan wood requirement will be fulfilled
5. Soil improvement
6. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere will be reduced which cause global warming, temperature will be maintained
What are the proposal’s costs?
Cost of plantation on 50 ha. = 30,000 US Dollar
Salaries of Project Team and Labour = 5,000 US Dollar
Tools and equippment of nursery = 15, 000 US Dollar
Travel and transportation Cost = 5000 US Dollar
Stationary and miscellanous = 500 US Dollar
University administrative and taxes = 10,000
Total Cost: 65500 US Dollar
Project is designed for 3 years. In first six months survey of the site will be done, in next six months registration of union and nursery raising will be done. In 2nd and 3rd year plantation on the selected site will be done. Evaluation of project and research activties will also be carried out periodically to determine the carbon pools and carbon reductions from atmosphere.
Australian Greenhouse Office (2001). Growing Trees and greenhouse Sinks. An overview for landholders. AGO in the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 14 pp.
Cropper, W.P. and K.C. Ewel. 1983. Computer simulation of long-term carbon storage patterns in Florida slash pine plantations. For. Ecol. Manage. 6: 101-l 14.
Dewar, R.C. 1991. Analytical model of carbon storage in the trees, soils and wood products of managed forests. Tree Physiol. 8:239-258.
Row, C. and R.B. Phelps. 1990. Tracing the flow of carbon through the US forest product sector. 19th IUFRO World Congress, Montreal.