Sustainable Agro and Community forestry in localities around Ayubia National Park, Western Himalayas, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK Province), Pakistan



  • Center for Integrated Mountain Research (CIMR), University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan


  • 09/05/2014

  • REGION :

  • Southern Asia


  • Pakistan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa KPK, Province)


  • On the bases of data/information collected by CIMR through its different research programs in this area it has been estimated that deforestation caused drastic impacts on environment, biodiversity and people of the villages around Ayubia National Park (ANP). The main reason behind this issue is that there is negligible management by forest department and feeble enforced rule and regulation about use of forest resources. Presently, deforestation has been exceeded its limits because of meager level annual tree plantation in area around Ayubia National Park. This partnership would be helpful to deal with the current situation through land use reforms in agriculture and agro forestry, reintroducing traditional knowledge and experiences in farming, reforestation in area, providing better sanitation techniques in area, tourist awareness campaigns and cleaning activities in area. Further it would also be helpful to control rapidly increasing deforestation and protecting biodiversity of the area.


  • Community forestry, Agro forestry around Ayubia National Park, Socio-ecological production landscape (SEPLs) in Pakistan


  • Dr. Khalida Khan (Director CIMR) & Atif Rasheed She is initiator and heading a very first academic institute (CIMR) since 1987, ambitious towards the research and capacity building for the livelihood prospects of the mountainous communities. With lots of research experience she has initiated MSc and MPhil/PhD degree programs in the vital area of conservation and watershed management. She has rich research experience and supervised various research projects/thesis/reports related to mountainous area’s issues. She has made reasonable research contributions in national and international literature by presented in various international forums. Atif Raseed as recently completed his M.Sc. degree in Mountain Conservation and Watershed Management and has got position as a Research Scholar in CIMR.

  • LINK:


Map of study area, Location of Ayubia National Park, KPK

Like most of the mountainous areas of the world, Pakistan mountainous (marginal) area’s communities are mostly deprived and not have access to meet with their daily requirements. Therefore, imprudent use of natural resources resulted in depletion of natural resources. Despite that government spent millions of dollars for protecting forest the forest set up failed to control the deforestation in Pakistan. It is believed that deforestation can be arrested if government supports people in managing their forest (Sponsel et al, 1996). It is estimated that 39,000 ha of forest are cleared every year (FAO, 2001). If present rate of deforestation continues, remaining forest will disappear by 2026 (Knudsen, 1996).

The proposed area is categorised as one of the social-environmental sensitive regions in Pakistan due to its unique cultural and biological diversity. The portion of reserved forest was declared as the NATIONAL PARK in 1984 and its administration was supervised by the Wild Life Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the administration of Guzara Forest was under Forest department KPK (WWF-P-2004). Moist Himalayan Temperate pine forests and Natural Pastures are abundantly found while, major products acquired from these natural resources are timber, medicinal herbs, off seasonal vegetables, forest gatherings etc.  Deforestation rate in area is alarmingly high which have ultimately negative impact over local environment and biodiversity. Almost 50,000 people currently lived in 12 villages around Ayubia National Park. Major ethnic groups are Abbasi (Hazaary) and Karalls, they speak Potohori and Hindko. Fuel wood consumption by each house is approximately 11,000kg/year dry weight and each household use 13 tons fresh fodder (Waseem, et. al 2003-2004 & Aumeeruddy et. al.2004). Due to unprotected activities in forest and extensive use of resources, park is under great need of revitalization process. As park lies between Western Himalayan Global Ecological Regions it has international importance. There are following land cover classes in Ayubia National Park (Table 1).

There are some ramifications in implementation of law and regulations and therefor unethical exploitation of natural resources are by the indigenous community living in villages around ANP. Local people are unaware of their rights to use Guzara for their domestic use. Due to the improper demarcation of the boundary between Reserve and Guzara forests, local people are doubted about the use of resource. WWF-P_2004 in its findings suggested that due to growing population and increasing demand of resources, people fastened on illegal ways on manipulating resources from reserved forest in Ayubia National Park.

Impact of climate change on local level is quite evident due to the rapidly increasing deforestation rate in area. In past few decades many dramatic changes have seen in annual precipitation, temperature and snowfall patterns, which ultimately have serious impacts over biodiversity and local communities that is already suffering with serious development issues (Khalida & Atif, 2013). Data acquired from 1984 to 2012 revels a changing trend of precipitation and snowfall pattern in the area (Figure 1.1 & 1.2). During physical survey nearly all the respondents were agreed with this fact that rainfall and snowfall pattern have been changed in last 30 years.

Figure 1.1 shows changing trends of annual rainfall at Murree

Figure 1.2 revels shifting trends of annual snowfall at Murree, Western Himalayas, Pakistan

Khalida & Atif (2013) documented that local communities around ANP also verifyied that snow fall pattern and its annual amount has also changed gradually in past few years as the annual amount of snowfall has increased with dramatically staying for long time. Whereas, temperature have also changed over time and becoming harsh in both seasons i.e. extremely low in winter and more harsh in summer season (Figure 1.3).

Figure 1.3 is evident of changing scenario of temperature in the area

In spite of irrational management, and ruthless hunting in past, ANP still supports rare species of wildlife like Leopard, Himalayan Griffon Vulture, Black Bear, Masked Civet, Kestrel, Himalayan Palm Civet, Honey Buzzard, Yellow Throated Marten, Kashmir Hill Fox, Red Flying Squirrel, Rhesus Macaque, Golden Eagle, Indian Sparrow Hawk, Hill Pigeon, Spotted Dove, Peregrine Falcon and Collared Dove etc. Table 2 describes the conditions of wildlife species in Ayubia National Park.

SOURCE: Indigenous Rights and Biodiversity Conservation 2000 by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

Most of the people use local terminology related to biodiversity. According to data collected during field survey 2013 different proportions are evaluated. 40% of respondents used local terminology for biodiversity of that area. Generally they have their own local terminologies and local name for different plant and animal species in area (Khalida & Atif, 2013). In the field survey respondents were asked about knowledge of

Figure 1.4: Community Survey by CIMR, 2013

Figure 1.5: Community Survey by CIMR, 2013

key practices about land, water and biological resources and in this perspective respondents were asked whether the knowledge of key practices is transfer between different generations? Some respondents have indicated positive answer and answered that knowledge of key practices is transferred between generations as they consider this knowledge is inherited to them from their forefathers (Figure 1.4 & 1.5).

Many downstream communities are marginalized and no attention has been given for the betterment of the area. Agriculture is considered as non-profitable business therefore traditional knowledge and experiences are being vanished with the passage of time. Consensus shows that remittances are the biggest source of income in area (Social Survey 2013). Usually people are not willing to adopt agriculture as profession due to small land area, low agriculture yield and migration of male members of household to other cities or outside the country for better livelihood prospects. Mostly farmlands are restricted to few Marla’s and exist near the household. Generally maize and vegetables are grown in these farmlands which are mostly consumed by the household while some people also sell them in the market to earn some cash. Male members of the family are obliged to leave the area due to insecure economic conditions. Figure 6 shows the major occupational groups in area (Figure 1.6).

Figure 1.6: Social Survey by CIMR 2013 shows various occupational groups in the area

The area has magnificent scenic beauty and natural value, therefore, every year, a large number of tourists reach on upstream picnic spots. It is estimated that 120,000 tourist visit Ayubia every year. Local economy largely depends upon the tourism, approximately more than 50 % population directly or indirectly depends upon the tourism. Beside this economic value, tourism has many negative impacts on local biodiversity, environment and community. It has been observed that no significant management is present to dispose the waste material produced by unsustainable tourism which ultimately has disastrous impacts over downstream villages.

The situation of solid waste management system is also very poor in this area. It reveals in our physical survey that the villages that are much away from main localities due to absence of road have poor solid waste management system. For instance, in downstream Darwaza Village it was found that solid waste from upstream areas mostly used by tourists ultimately reached downstream villages with rain water and gravitational pull that ultimately causing a serious threat for health to the people of Darwaza Village. Moreover, solid waste generated by household is also thrown into the forest and down streams without any treatment. There is no municipal comity to check or manage this waste whereas not a single institute is present to guide the people how to manage the solid waste. Survey also exposes that there is no proper site for dumping or collecting the solid waste generated by households. Indigenous and traditional way of dumping and disposing system of solid waste is practiced in the area (Figure1.7).

Figure1.7: Social Survey by CIMR 2013 for solid waste management

Purposed partnership would be helpful to cope with the current situation through land use reforms in Villages around Ayubia National Park by providing basic education and awareness in agriculture and agro forestry by using traditional as well as adopting technical measures to deal with the situation. Eco tourism awareness campaigns and cleaning activities in the area would also be the part of activities. Further, it would also be helpful to control rapidly increasing deforestation and protecting biodiversity of the area. CIMR maintaining its field station for past few decades while conducting different research programs in the area. Preservation of traditional knowledge and experiences of farming, reintroducing the traditional farming and agro forestry would be an innovative way and an ultimate objective of this partnership. It is also urgent to minimize the unsustainable forest cutting and attempting downstream solid waste problem due to non-sustainable tourism through different programs and activities in the area because of its serious impact over the local environment and biodiversity. Proposed program will also helpful in organizing different awareness campaigns for cleaning the area with the measures of conservation, reforestation, and tourist’s awareness mechanisms with the volunteer’s participation.

References and bibliography

Aumeeruddy, T.Y, Zabta K.S, Abdullah A, Ashiq A.K.. 2004. Ethnobotany and Management of Fodder and Fuel wood at Ayubia National Park, Northwest Frontier Province, Pakistan. People and Plants, Working Paper, International Plants Conservation Unit, WWF-UK

FAO. 2001. Global forest resources assessment 2000 – main report. FAO Forestry Paper No. 140.

Khalida Khan, Atif Rasheed, 2013, Identification and assessment of the different drivers of deforestation in localities around Ayubia National Park, CIMR-PU Case Study, Research  Survey Dissertation

Knudsen, A.J., 1995. Forest Management in Pakistan: Failed Policies or Local Mismanagement, Chr.

Michelson Institute – Development Studies and Human Rights

Sponsel, L.E., Headland, T.N., Bailey, R.C., 1996. Tropical Deforestation: The Human Dimension

Waseem, M., Mohammad, I., Khan, S., Haider,S., & Hussain K., WWF Pakistan (2003-2004). Tourism and Solid Waste Problem in Ayubia National Park, Pakistan

WWF-P (World Wide Fund for Nature, Pakistan), 2004. People and Plants-Pakistan: Capacity Building in Ethnobotany Applied to Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Resources. Annual Progress Report 1999–2004. Peshawar, Pakistan: WWF-P, Peshawar