SavePlanetEarth (SPE) traveled to Pakistan on Friday to lay the groundwork of doing its part in planting a whopping 1 billion trees in designated areas throughout the country. Under this banner, it will also be entering into a collaboration with WWF-Pakistan to embark on the country’s restoration and conservation of the Himalayan Yew — a species of native conifer best-regarded for its medicinal and ethnobotanical significance. Additionally, SPE will be overseeing the establishment of green nurseries throughout the country (with the largest being about 25–35 acres), with similar nurseries set to be established in the Maldives and Sri Lanka — where SPE will be touring to next. These nurseries play a vital role in boosting carbon sequestration initiatives, fostering an environment for plants and trees to thrive in, as well as encouraging human participation through training and job applications.
The goal of 1 billion trees, though, is a mere fraction of Pakistan’s grand target of planting 10 billion trees — spearheaded by the Ministry of Climate Change and considered as a successor to a series of similar projects carried out in the country since 2014.
This all started with Pakistan taking inspiration from the Bonn Challenge, a global environmental restoration project initiated in September 2011, by Germany and the International Union for Conservative Nature (IUCN). Materializing on the heels of the Earth Summit (1992), the challenge aimed for the restoration of 150 million hectares of the world’s degraded and deforested lands by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030. According to organizers, the restoration process — if achieved throughout the designated period until 2020 — “could result in the sequestration of 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, reducing the emission gap by 20%”.
Pakistan was among a handful of nations that proceeded aboard their own landscape restoration programs, though it is noteworthy that Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa became the first to not only drive their pledge forward but also to upgrade it to the massive success it has become today.
The advent of the Billion Tree Tsunami project in 2014 aimed to restore 350,000 hectares of forests and degraded land — to excel from the Bonn Challenge’s accomplishment. Headed by the government of Khyber…