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March 21, 2021

PM to inaugurate natural regeneration project in ‘chilgoza’ forest soon

Islamabad

March 21, 2021

Islamabad :Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon inaugurate assisted natural regeneration project in indigenous ‘chilgoza’ forest in Zhob area under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami programme.

According to the details, the climate change ministry has prepared a plan to declare this ‘chilgoza’ forest a national park and initiate natural regeneration project to increase its production.

Around 20 percent of Pakistan’s forests consist of ‘chilgoza’ trees, with the country producing 15 percent of the world’s total pine nuts at between 3,500 and 4,000 metric tons annually. Pine trees in the main forest of Pakistan are centuries old.

The Pakistan Journal of Botany reported a tree of Pinus gerardiana in Zhob district of Balochistan had a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 65 cm, indicating an age of approximately 411 years.

Pakistani pine nut has the biggest kernel size in the world. It is not only eaten as a dry fruit, but also forms part of traditional dishes like pilaf, and some sweet dishes.

In Pakistan, ‘chilgoza’ is found in the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Balochistan, the Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. ‘Chilgoza’ pine is a hardy tree and can endure excessive drought, high winds, and severe cold in the winter.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said the production is likely to increase manifold in the Zhob’s ‘chilgoza’ forest through assisted natural regeneration project that has already proved its worth in other areas of the country.

He said: “Some pine nuts take up to three years to mature. They are also difficult to harvest, this justifies their high price.”

Water is available in Zhob area as monsoon weather brings enough rains every year so atmospheric conditions would also help them in their efforts to increase tree cover in this indigenous ‘chilgoza’ forest, he said.