Afghanistan: Forest rehabilitation in Laghman and Paktia Provinces

Report
from Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees
Published on 30 Jan 2006
A forestry survey funded by FAO has been launched by DACAAR with special focus on forestry in two eastern provinces of Afghanistan. The research project aims at exploring potential of recovery of forest in Salab valley in Laghman, and Jaji valley in Paktia Province, given the severity of forest degradation in the areas.
Today, natural vegetation in Afghanistan is sparse, occupying only 2 to 3 per cent of land surface. Forests have been cut illegally, and timber smuggled to Pakistan in the mid 90s, and many forest areas were burned during the war. Throughout Afghanistan loss of forests and degradation of rangelands and watershed, due to overuse and drought, and dry-land cultivation has caused severe soil erosion, and depletion of soil fertility. Due to decades of poor management of land resources degradation of soil fertility, flooding and desertification is accelerating day by day.

"In April, DACAAR along with other stakeholders in this project will present findings on a national conference arranged by the Afghan government. We sincerely hope that this leads to a future viable national strategy for forest rehabilitation. The need for sustainable natural resource management in Afghanistan is a basic means for creating better livelihoods for people in rural areas", says Erik Toft, chief of programmes in DACAAR.

DACAAR, already working close with communities in villages in Salab and Jaji, has a platform for strengthening efforts to improve natural resource management in the areas. In Salab valley, DACAAR has established 24 village organisations, and 24 women organisations, and in Jaji, 94 village organisations, and 12 women's organisation are implementing development activities, and also function as village decision-making institutions.

So far, some of these institutions have formed associations to manage forests on sustainable basis, and have been recognised by local authorities. However, more support is needed to raise awareness, develop technical skills related to forestry, and create alternative income sources for the forest dependent communities.

For further information:

Chief of Programmes Erik Toft
Kabul, Afghanistan
Tel.: +93 (0) 799 55 79 82
E-mail: erik.toft@dacaar.org

Public Information Officer Alexandra Strand Holm
Kabul, Afghanistan
Tel.: +93 (0) 799 33 77 53
E-mail: a.strand.holm@dacaar.org