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FOREST ECONOMICS  
   
 

This branch was established in 1966. The Forest Economics Branch collects and compiles forestry statistical data on regular basis. It maintains data base on forest area, forest production, afforestation and regeneration, production of nursery plants, revenue and expenditure of forest departments, imports of wood and wood products, wood prices and other related aspects. It carries out special surveys periodically to determine wood consumption in various end uses. It conducts economic analysis of management practices, development projects and other forestry activities. These data provide a sound basis for intelligent and effective decision making. Planners and policy makers use the data for strategic planning and policy formulation. In addition, lectures on forestry economics are delivered to the students of M.Sc. and B.Sc. forestry.

It consists of a Forest Economist, an Assistant Forest Economist, one Research Assistant, three Computers and two Foresters/Field Assistants.

Significant achievements

•    Forestry statistics: Ever since its inception in 1966, the Forest Economics Branch has been compiling and publishing forestry statistics of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir regularly on annual basis. Over the years, steps have been taken to improve coverage, presentation and reliability of the data. Hitherto, the data were collected and compiled on the provincial basis. Latest statistics are available for 2012-13

•    Study on the rotation and economic management of the coniferous forests of Pakistan. This study was undertaken for economic evaluation of the system of management prevalent in the coniferous forests. The system of management in these forests is based on the Indian Selection System which allowed only harvesting of trees of diameter size of 60 cm and more. The study found that the selection system had led to adoption of long rotation periods sometimes upto 200 years with consequent low yield. The system also resulted in over-mature stands, uneven regeneration and deficiency in young age-classes. All this produced very low increment per ha. Economic analysis based on concept of financial maturity and soil expectation value brought out that financially best rotation in these forests ranged between 50-70 years. The adoption of longer rotation periods is uneconomical and represents under utilization of the valuable resource. The study proposed an adjustment period of 50 years over which all over mature trees would be removed and new system of management introduced. This would generate revenue which could be subsequently reinvested in the forestry sector. Shortening of rotation would also produce young healthy and vigorous stands which will give higher increment. The recommendations of the study have been adopted by the forest departments on experimental basis in some forests.

•    Economic management of irrigated plantations: This study was conducted to evaluate economics of irrigated forest plantations of Punjab and Sindh. In the first place data were collected on annual increment in different plantations. The mean annual yield varied from 2.94 m3 in Chichawatni to 10.28 m3 in poplar plantations. Average yield per ha per year was found to be 5.7 m3 of which timber accounted for 0.7 m3 and the rest was firewood. Based on the prices prevailing in 1967, the net income per hectare per year worked out to Rs.363 under the prevailing system of management with rotation period of 20 years and thinning at 5 year intervals. The study considered other alternative management practices including charge in thinning regime. Prolonging the rotation period to 30 years, raising pure mulberry crops, and raising of fast growing species. It was found that change in thinning regime could yield net income of Rs.836 per year per ha. Prolonging of rotation period to 30 years could yield net income of Rs.1238 per year per ha. Raising of pure mulberry crops could yield net income of Rs.766 per year per ha. Growing of Eucalyptus on 10 years rotation for pulp wood could yield net income of Rs.926 per year per ha. And finally growing of poplar for pulp wood on 10 year rotation could yield net income of Rs.1667 per year per ha. The study concluded that irrigated forest plantations could be economically feasible only if fast growing species are grown there for pulp wood.

•   Survey of socio-economic conditions of manpower engaged in forestry and wood based industries in Pakistan: This study was undertaken with the objective of estimating employment in forest operations and wood based industries and to study the socio-economic conditions of the workers. In addition, timber consumption in various end uses was estimated. It was found that forestry operations both in public and private sector and wood based industries employed about 592,000 workers who worked for about 104 million man days annually. Timber consumption was estimated at 1.650 million m3. Of this total, building construction accounted for 0.506, wood containers 0.464, furniture 0.164 and the rest 0.516 million m3 by other industries.

•    Survey of tree growth on farmlands of NWFP: This survey was conducted in 1989 to determine the quantum, species composition, diameter distributions and location of tree growth on farmlands in NWFP. It also aimed at developing estimates of wood removal from the farmlands. A stratified random sampling scheme was employed. The province was divided into 2 main blocks: irrigated and non-irrigated. Each block was sub-divided into 3 zones on the basis of climatic factors. Sample size was fixed at 800 giving sampling rate of 0.001. The number of trees per ha was found to be 72 on irrigated farms and 17 on non-irrigated areas. The total tree stock on farmlands was estimated at 80 million. 60% of tree stock fell in dia. Class 5-14 cm. Poplar is the major species accounting for 17% of total stock, followed by bakain 13.9%, Ailanthus 13.2%, Shisham 10.3%, per 7.6%, mulberry 8.2%, fig 4.8%, willow 3.3% and the rest 21.6%. Using the available volume tables, the volume of growing stock was estimated as 14.0 million m3, of which 10.6 (76%) is in irrigated areas and the rest 3.4 million m3 (23%) in barani areas. The farmers felled about 11 million trees (13.5% tree stock every year) and removed 2.9 million m3 of wood (21% of total growing stock) to meet their own requirements and far purpose of sale. In order to fully harness potential of farmlands, it is necessary to provide incentives to the farmers. The study recommended that extension efforts should be intensified and social forestry programmes be further expanded.

    Tree growth on farmlands of the Punjab: The farmlands not only cater to food and fibre requirements of the country but are also a big repository of tree growth. This is revealed by a survey of tree growth on the farmlands of the Punjab conducted in 1990-91. According to the survey, about 2.5 million farms in Punjab with a cultivated area of 11.8 million ha carry a stock of 200 million trees. The estimated standing volume of these trees amount to 46 million m3. The pre-dominant species is shisham which accounts for 42% of total tree stock. Other species grown on farmlands are kikar, bakain, mulberry, ber, tamarix, mango, poplar, eucalyptus, semal, siris etc. Encouragingly the proportion of young trees with diameter less than 20 cm is as high as 60 percent. Farmers generally grow trees in form of linear plantations along farm boundaries and water courses. About 87% of trees are linear, 11% scattered and 2% block/cinoact okabtatuib trees. About 15% farms are without trees, 46% have between 1-10 trees per ha, 15% farms are without trees, 46% have between 1-10 trees per ha, 15% have between 10-20 trees per ha and the rest 24% have more than 20 trees per ha. Over all average number of trees per ha is 17. However, there are wide variations. Northern Zone has 2 times more trees per ha than control and southern zones. Irrigated farms have 3 times as many trees per ha as the unirrigated farms. Small farms (less than 2 ha) have 25 trees per ha compared to 12 on medium and 10 on large farms. The tree growth on the farmlands of the Punjab is estimated to be roughly   equivalent to 0.73 million ha of plantation forests which is more than the forest area under the control of forest Department. During 1990-91, farmers felled about 14 million trees and removed about 9.4 million m3 of timber and firewood. Generally trees with diameter in excess of 25 cm are felled. Shisham accounted for 2/3rd of total volume removed. On conservation basis, the value of wood removed at producers price works out to 5.8 billion rupees. The study brings out that only a fraction of the potential of farmlands is currently being harnessed. Proper motivation of the farmers through appropriate package of incentives can go a long way in boosting up the tree growth on the farmlands.

   A study on “Status of tree planting campaigns in Pakistan” was conducted in 2004. The main objective of this study was to find out the state of art of tree planting campaign, past and present, in the country and its causes for decline. The results of the study were compiled in the form of a report.

    Land covers Atlas of Pakistan: This study was completed in 2011 to provide scientific monitoring mechanism of natural resources particularly forest resources. The data are used in studying economic impacts of land cover changes and productivity, as well as the spread of invasive species, habitat and biodiversity loss, climate variability and other environmental factors.

 

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