Sustainable forest management to secure multiple benefits in Pakistan’s high conservation value forests (SFM)

Lead country


Participating countries


Project status

Under implementation

Implementing period

From March 3, 2016 to December 31, 2021

SDGs addressed by this project

SDG targets

  1. 15.2 Promote sustainable forest management, restoration, afforestation
  2. 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction
  3. 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

Project ID: 4674

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Technical team

  • Ecosystems and Biodiversity Programme

Technical area(s)

  • Ecosystem management and restoration
  • Strengthening conservation areas


  • Ecosystem-based mitigation
  • Wildlife conservation


  • Forests
  • Conserved areas


  • General
  • Temperate forests
  • Intact forests
  • Terrestrial protected areas
  • Key biodiversity areas (KBAs)
  • OECM (Other effective area-based conservation measures)

Transformed sector(s)

  • Forestry and other land use

UNDP role(s)

  • Capacity development / Technical assistance
  • Data collection and analysis
  • Institutional mechanism and system building


  • Management operation
  • Law regulation
  • Monitor inventory


  • Sustainable land management
  • Wildlife and habitat conservation
  • Laws/ Policy/ Plan formulation
  • Laws enforcement/ Regulation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Ecological monitoring

Social inclusion

  • Private sector
  • Local community/CSOs

Gender equality

  • Women's access to and control over resources
  • Livelihoods for women

Gender result effectiveness scale

  • Gender targeted


  • People pathway
  • Systems pathway

Risk reduction target(s)

  • Hazard control/mitigation
  • Improve resilience

SDG target(s)

  • 15.2 Promote sustainable forest management, restoration, afforestation
  • 15.5 Reduce habitat degradation, halt biodiversity loss, extinction
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

Conventions and protocols

  • National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs)

Private sector(s)


Hot topic

  • Multi-stakeholder collaboration

About this project


Pakistan is a low forest cover country, with only 5% of land area remaining under forest cover (0.03 ha/capita) . However its great variety reflects the country's physiographic and climatic contrasts, and includes temperate and subtropical coniferous forests, scrub forests, riverine forests, irrigated and linear plantations, and mangroves. The forests (particularly those in the north) deliver crucial ecosystem services to the entire country in the form of natural resources (timber and non-timber forest products), water conservation, disaster prevention, climate regulation, carbon sequestration and harbouring important biodiversity including many globally threatened and endemic species. Demand for timber and fuel wood have been the main economic drivers for forest management in Pakistan. These, together with severe overgrazing in many areas have led to significant loss and degradation of the forest resource and lack of sustainability. Pakistan's forests (which include State-owned, communal or privately owned land) have already undergone extensive de-forestation and remain under severe threat of further deforestation in the order of 27,000 ha/yr. As a result, most forests are modified or semi-natural. According to the Forest Resource Assessment 2010 (FAO), deforestation and forest degradation have caused a reduction of carbon stock in the living above- and under-ground biomass from 330 to 213 million tons from 1990 to 2010, which is an annual decrease of 2.2%. Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) is calculated to contribute 9.7% to Pakistan's carbon emissions. The provincial and other territorial Forest Departments, who are responsible for forest conservation and management, do not have adequate capacity and instruments to address deforestation, which is illustrated by the recent lifting of the ban on timber trade in GilgitÔÇôBaltistan. The importance of forests in terms of ecosystem services has started to receive attention at the political level. The national MDG target of increasing forest cover up to 6% by 2015 has driven financial support for central government-funded forestry programmes. However, provincial resources for forestry are limited due to competing demands from agriculture, water and sanitation, health and education. Pakistan is a UN-REDD Partner country, and recently a REDD+ Preparedness Phase Project for Pakistan, has been initiated by the Ministry of Climate Change with financial support from UNDP and UN-REDD through OneUN-JPE (US$ 200,000) and FAO respectively (US$ 109,000), with technical and implementation support from ICIMOD and WWF-Pakistan. The project will help to shape the institutional and regulatory environment for SFM projects supporting REDD+ initiatives in the country that will preserve forests through private sector led carbon sequestration and carbon credit generation. The REDD+ project provides important pre-conditions to establish PakistanÔÇÖs access to the international carbon market in future. By the end of 2013, the REDD+ strategy project will complete assessments of data availability and capacity needs, as well as an action plan for MRV. One of the major outputs of the project is developing the REDD+ Readiness Roadmap for Pakistan, and a Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP), a specific format required by the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The R-PP was submitted to FCPF in July 2013 requesting US$ 3.4 million funding (of a total $4.2 million project). The R-PP project document focuses on: (i) preparation of REDD+ Readiness Management Arrangements; (ii) information sharing and dialogues with key stakeholders; (iii) defining consultation and participation process; (iv) assessment of land use, land use change and drivers, forest law, policy and governance; (v) REDD+ strategy options; (vi) REDD+ implementation framework; (vii) social and environmental impact during readiness preparation and REDD+ implementation; (viii) develop a national forest reference emission level; (ix) design system for national forest monitoring and information on safeguards; and (x) design a programme monitoring and evaluation framework. The REDD Readiness Roadmap is planned to be ready by end 2013 and REDD+ capacity building will continue in 2014. REDD+ activities have the potential to deliver significant social and environmental co-benefits, however, many participants during the early information sharing and dialogues have also highlighted the potential risks, particularly for forest-dependent communities. Strategic environmental and social issues which must be considered at the REDD+ readiness stage includes biodiversity and ecosystem services; micro-climate; water services and quality; soil condition; food security, placement of people and fauna, cultural and social problems resulting from migration and immigration, land ownership, land tenure , land accessibility, energy supply and gender equity and other benefits to improve education and health of the people while pursuing growth with low emissions from land use change. Pakistan forest management is decentralized, and governed at provincial level which will probably facilitate processes leading to ownership and control of forest resources, but it complicates transfer of knowledge and access to global facilities including the carbon market and fora for SFM. In anticipation of the development of the carbon market, private companies have started to search opportunities to invest in REDD+ projects. These companies sometimes offer millions of dollars to forest managers in return for contracts covering large areas of land. This phenomenon has raised the forest manager's eagerness for REDD+, but the reliability and integrity of the "REDD companies" is not always evident. Forest managers lack the proper knowledge and experience with REDD+ for an adequate response to the advances by these companies and it is clear that framing of this development into policies and regulations is required, as well as successful demonstration of landscape-scale SFM activities on the ground.This project has therefore been designed to fit seamlessly with and support PakistanÔÇÖs REDD+ initiative. Whilst the R-PP will support preparation of the federal and provincial level strategic and policy framework and national level methodologies and capacities for REDD implementation, this project will take Pakistan's UN-REDD Readiness programme (2011-14) to a practical level through demonstration of sustainable forest management at landscape scale, raising readiness for trading forest emissions reductions in markets and reducing losses of forest cover through enabling further up-scaling of good practice. The project will focus on three target forested landscapes totalling 55,600ha where participatory sustainable forest management approaches will be implemented to secure globally significant biodiversity, carbon benefits and other forest ecosystem services in an integrated way. This will be the first time that such an approach has been piloted at such a scale, and will provide a vital base for capacity building, knowledge sharing and up-scaling. A key element of the project will be to demonstrate financial sustainability for forest management through effective business planning and a variety of funding mechanisms. It will enhance the momentum of the REDD+ initiative and pave the ground for full REDD+ implementation, recognising that it may take several years before private sector led carbon sequestration and carbon credit generation are sufficient to deliver SFM in Pakistan. Without the project, successful demonstration of this landscape-scale approach to sustainable forest management would probably not take place for many years, putting at risk the success of the UN REDD+ implementation in Pakistan. As a result critical forest landscapes of high biodiversity and carbon significance will continue to face the threat of habitat destruction and loss of globally important species and ecosystems and the capacity, planning, institutional and financial barriers described below will continue to constrain any efforts to mainstream biodiversity into landscape-level land use planning and management.


Promotion of Sustainable Forest Management in Pakistan"s Western Himalayan Coniferous, Sub-tropical broadleaved evergreen thorn and Riverine forest (scrub forests) for biodiversity conservation, mitigation of climate change and securing forest ecosystem services.

USD $41,890,000

Grant amount

USD $49,420,000

Leveraged amount (co-financing)


Source(s) of fund

Sources of fund


  • Global Environment Facility – Trust Fund ($41,890,000)

Implementing partner(s)

  • Ministry of Climate Change

Project metrics

Related resources

Geospatial information

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Project reports and documentation



Sustainable forest management to secure multiple benefits in Pakistan’s high conservation value forests (SFM)