Illegal logging and the "timber mafia" in Pakistan have already had a devastating toll on people, wildlife and the climate, but it appears that Pakistanis are not willing to take this destruction lying down.
Some Pakistanis have already set the world record for actual treehugging, while one Pakistani soldier planed over 20,000 trees in a single day. Now Al Jazeera reports that the government of one northern province of Pakistan is embarking on a huge, $150 million reforestation effort that will plant up to 1 billion trees within the next four years.
Of course, not all tree planting projects are created equal—and the Al Jazeera piece is a little short on details—so we must hope that efforts in the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province are focused on biodiverse forests, not monoculture timber plantations. (If anyone has more details of the scheme, we'd love to hear more.) Still, it's a promising sign that governments are beginning to put serious resources aside to invest in natural capital.
And Khyber Pakhtunkwa is by no means alone. Vast areas of Ethiopia have made dramatic progress in re-greening once denuded hillsides and Pakistan's neighbor, India, has also made pledges to plant 2 billion trees along its highways.
With corporations like Apple also investing heavily in more sustainable forestry, I am hopeful that we might start reversing global forest loss and putting some carbon back in the soil where it belongs.