The Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MoAIL) on Friday said that its efforts to preserve and rehabilitate 7,000 hectares of forests around the country face an immense challenge in attempting to address Afghanistan’s high rates of illegal deforestation.
In Kunar province, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local authorities are working jointly in helping reforest areas that have been illegally logged. So far up to one million new saplings have been planted in Kunar.
“We are working on a number of programs for reforestation in the country, and some of these programs are already working and they have yielded positive outcomes,” MoAIL Forest Protection Department head Mohammad Aman Amanyar said. “Currently, our programs for Kunar reforestation continues in Kunar and we have planted fruit bearing trees.”
Experts have criticized the central government for not undertaking more comprehensive programs to reforest and preserve the country’s natural resources, but praised local initiatives.
“Currently, there are some institutions that undertake reforestation in Kunar, and these institutions plant saplings with the help of local people and persuade the people to try and protect forests,” National Academy of Science member Sikandar Hussaini told TOLOnews.
Based on publicly available figures, there were two million hectares of forests in Afghanistan prior to 2001. That figure is said to be just one million hectares.