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October 12, 2020

Sustained management leads to regrowth of vegetation

Islamabad

October 12, 2020

Islamabad : The sustained management activities have led to significant vegetative re-growth in Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) over the last 30 years especially on the southern part of the mountain facing Islamabad in the eastern half, between the Barri Imam area and Faisal Mosque.

When the MHNP was first notified the habitats were already severely degraded and modified for agricultural purposes. The forests had been cleared, and trees closer to human habitations had been cut down in large numbers.

The bushes and grasses were victims to over-grazing resulting in extensive soil erosion. Most of the western half of the MHNP was under erosion due to the presence of stone quarries and a lack of vegetative cover.

There were twenty-four areas in the MHNP where seasonal forest fires were common in the dry months of April, May, June, and early July. In the Musharraf era, the federal government took interest in the preservation of MHNP and banned commercial activities like stone crushing to preserve its natural ecological settings.

According to the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB), the preservation of MHNP was a herculean task in the face of growing challenges. But the successive governments played their role in its preservation by introducing effective policies in the context of its status as ‘protected area’.

The boundary of the MHNP was marked in 2008 and pillars were installed to prevent activities of the land mafia. The demarcation of the area is still incomplete but most of the work in this respect has been done by the authorities. The survey of Pakistan worked on the delineation of the area with the help of Geographic Information System (GIS). Now IWMB is the custodian of the MHNP and making efforts in coordination with all the stakeholders to protect and preserve the ‘lungs’ of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.