Forestry in Pakistan

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View of 'Fairy Meadow' at Nanga Parbat showing conifer forest of Picea smithiana and Pinus wallichiana.

The forestry sector of Pakistan is a main source of lumber, paper, fuelwood, latex, medicine as well as food and provide ecotourism and wildlife conservation purposes. 5% of Pakistan's land is covered in forest (2024). The Shangla district is the only district of Pakistan that composed of more than 80% of forest land.[1]


Total forest area coverage in km2 (source)
Parameter Pakistan Asia World
Total forest area in 2000 23,610 5,041,800 38,694,550
Natural forest area in 2000 13,810 3,758,240 36,827,220
Plantations area in 2000 9,800 1,109,530 1,867,330
Total dryland area in 1981 725,240 10,781,210 50,599,840
Percentage of forests ~4.97% ~22% ~29%

The percentage of Pakistan's area that is forest is disputed. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates 2.2% of the total land of Pakistan is covered by forests. On the contrary, Pakistan Forest Institute estimates it to be 5.1%. According to the survey done under the Red Plus programme in 2017, the forest cover of Pakistan is 5.7%.

According to survey under Red Plus programme, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir has the highest forest cover at 36.9%, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (20.3%), Islamabad (22.6%) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (19.5%). The World Wild Fund report that between 2000 and 2010 Pakistan has lost 43,000 hectares of land every year.[2]


Lajbook, Lower Dir
Miandam, Swat
Ecosystems area by type in 1993 (source)
Ecosystem type Pakistan Asia World
Shrublands, woodlands and grasslands 36% 37% 37%
Sparse or barren vegetation; snow and ice 34% 10% 16%
Cropland and natural vegetation mosaic 28% 34% 20%
Wetlands and water bodies 1% 2% 3%


The forests of Pakistan are a main source of lumber, paper, fuelwood, latex, medicine as well as human and animal food. Other minor products include resin (a fluid in tissue of Chir pine plant that becomes solid on exposure to the air) and 'mazri' (used for making baskets). The forests also provide for ecotourism and wildlife conservation purposes. Forests have also been planted in some areas like Thal Desert to avoid soil erosion and further desertification. Riparian zone along the river Indus have been managed to avoid excess flooding.

Annual production, 1996-1998 (source)
Parameter Pakistan Asia World
Total production (000m³) 31,528 1,111,958 3,261,621
Fuelwood production (000m³) 29,312 863,316 1,739,504
Industrial roundwood production (000m³) 2,217 268,470 1,522,116
Paper (thousand metric tons) 619 88,859 313,206


According to the UN in 2011, Pakistan was the most heavily deforested country in Asia.[3] The Federal Bureau of Statistics provisionally valued the deforestation sector at Rs.25,637 million in 2005, thus registering over 3% decline of forests in Pakistan since 2000.[4] The main reasons of deforestation are urbanization, farming, overgrazing, and tourism development. Wildlife in Pakistan is confronting a critical situation, marked by the dwindling populations of numerous species. This decline is primarily attributed to pressing threats, including illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss due to urbanization, rising pollution levels, and the impacts of climate change.[5][6]

This has led to severe consequences such as desertification, flooding and endangering of wildlife. As a consequence to deforestation and changing land use patterns, the most critically affected ecosystems of Pakistan are:

  • Juniper forests of northern Baluchistan have been heavily harvested for timber and fuel wood.
  • Ecological changes in the Indus River riparian zone have drastically affected the riverine forests. Large tracts have been cleared for agriculture.
  • The Himalayan temperate forests are also under severe pressure from logging for timber and firewood, and from clearings for agriculture and human settlements. Deforestation rate in Pakistan is increasing 0.2 to 0.5 percent annually.


The protected areas serve the purpose of conserving the forests and wildlife of Pakistan. National Conservation Strategy of 1993 was a major landmark of start of conservation of natural resources and wildlife in Pakistan. Resource-managed man-made forests like Changa Manga, Kamalia plantation and Chichawatni plantation have also been planted to serve purpose and conserve forests. Through conservation, a large region of Thal desert has been afforested.

Natural protected forests
Artificial resource managed forests


Research institutions[edit]

Punjab Forestry Research Institutes, Gatwala Faisalabad Punjab Wildlife Institutes Gatwala Faisalabad

Botanical gardens[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Introduction to landscapes of Pakistan". Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  2. ^ shabbir hussain. "Forest cover rises by 6%".
  3. ^ Pakistan tops Asia in deforestation, Al Jazeera, June 17, 2011
  4. ^ "Federal Bureau of Statistics, National Accounts" (PDF). Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
  5. ^ Shahid, Jamal (2020-08-15). "Pakistan's deforestation rate second highest in Asia: WWF". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  6. ^ "Deforestation in Pakistan". 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2023-09-21.
  7. ^ "Birir Valley Coniferous Forests". WWF Pakistan. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Remains of Jhangar scrub forest". Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  9. ^ "Jhangar Scrub Forest". WWF Pakistan. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Sulaiman Chilgoza Pine Forest". WWF Pakistan. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  11. ^ "Zarghoon Juniper Forest". WWF Pakistan. Archived from the original on 13 June 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010.
  12. ^ "Khipro Reserve Forest". Mahadev Dheerani. Retrieved 14 August 2010.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]