Afghanistan: Rapidly cutting the last of the last of the forest in Nangarhar Province

“In the past, over 134,000 hectares of land in the 11 districts of Nangarhar Province were forest, but now tree cover is down to less than 15,000 hectares,” Nazir said. “People still cut [down] trees on a large scale because we lack adequate means to stop them,” Hamidullah Nazir, forestry management officer at the department of agriculture in Nangarhar, told Integrated Regional Information Networks.

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FPR’s Companion post / same issue on other side of the border in Pakistan is here: http://bit.ly/VulJQ

Also: AFGHANISTAN TREE PROJECT: http://bit.ly/3cVVAJ

The eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar has lost about 90 percent of
its forests since 1989 – a major contributory factor to aridity, air
pollution, loss of habitat and vulnerability to flash floods,
according to experts and provincial officials. Millions of trees have
been lost in Nangarhar and the neighbouring provinces of Kunar and
Nooristan and the ecosystem has been severely damaged because of
deforestation, in part induced by drought, officials say.

In 2006 Afghan President Hamid Karzai banned tree-felling, but deforestation has continued with large-scale illegal timber exports. Large tracts of forest have also been lost to what were initially small fires. These often get out of control as Nangarhar only has two fire engines and very limited fire-fighting resources. Afghan cities such as Kabul and Jalalabad (the capital of Nangarhar Province) are facing a serious crisis of air pollution which threatens public health, the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) has warned, and it linked current pollution levels to rapid deforestation: Forests are effective in soaking up carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.

Trees have also been cut down by people in need of firewood for heating and cooking. “People still cut [down] trees on a large scale because we lack adequate means to stop them,” Nazir said. Deforestation has also made the country more prone to flash floods and landslides. Every year floods cause human deaths and loss of property in Nangarhar, Kunar and Laghman provinces, according to the Afghanistan National Disasters Management Authority.

“Deforestation has contributed to the longstanding drought in the country,” Ahmad Bakhtyar, an expert at the Ministry of Agriculture, told IRIN.
“Deforestation has contributed to the longstanding drought in the
country,” Ahmad Bakhtyar, an expert at the Ministry of Agriculture,
told IRIN.

The country has also lost much of its wildlife such as snow
leopard, Marco Polo sheep and Asiatic black bear because of
deforestation, climate change and other environmental impacts. Ranked
the fifth least developed country in the world by the UN Development
Programme, Afghanistan does not have sufficient institutional means to
ensure better forest management, which has received little, if any,
support from the government and its international backers in the past
seven years.

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The violence of the past twenty-five year has caused the destruction
of 98% of Afghanistan’s forrests. Children in Afghanistan are
suffering from respiratory problems and eye infections due to the
unhindered blowing dust. Sister Schools of San Diego has undertaken a
new project in conjunction with the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture to
help the reforestation process in Afghanistan. Sister Schools is
accepting donations from generous individuals who would like to
support this process. For every dollar donated, Sister Schools is able
to plant one tree. project will be on going. Currently Sister Schools
is raising funds to plant 400 trees in Spring of 2006. This is an
ongoing project.
If you would like to make a donation and support this cause please
click on the link below.

AFGHANISTAN TREE PROJECT http://bit.ly/3cVVAJ

Comments (1)

Nasrullah KhanJanuary 25th, 2010 at 5:38 am

Dear Hamidullah Nazir

Through this website i want to convey my message that i am a research scholar at department of Botany Federal Urdu university Karachi. My research interest is about Forest Population dynamics, managment, Regeneration potential, present and future status of Forest. I am interset to carried out research in your country in Kunar. Nangahar, and Nooristan province. if you are interest than i want to come to Afghanistan to work on these detoriating forests. Hope you will provide possible assistance. I will be anxiously waiting for you early response.

Nasrullah Khan
Department of Botany Laboratory
of Plant Ecology & Dendrochronology
Federal Urdu University 75300 Karachi
Pakistan

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