CHITRAL: In order to enhance the forest cover and provide alternate livelihood opportunities in Chilghoza Landscape in Chitral range, thousands of plants of different species were distributed among the local communities at Kalash Valley Bumburate. Some 4500 fruit plants and as many wild plants were distributed among the Kalash women and children free of cost. The plants’ distribution ceremony was held at Bumborat wherein Divisional Forest Officer Chitral Farhad Ali was chief guest on the occasion. Ejaz Ahmed, Provincial Coordinator GEF Chilghoza Project, Ziaur Rehman, Value Chain Development specialist, Shahzad Ahmad, Deputy Forest Manager Chitral were also present on the occasion. Talking on the occasion, Ejaz Ahmed said distribution of fruit plants was part of the GEF funded project, “Reversing Deforestation and Degradation in high conservation value Chilgoza pine forests in Pakistan” implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change, forest department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The projects carry the objective of improved local livelihoods through increased productivity and enhanced services and functions of the Chilghoza forests of Pakistan. The project brings around 30,000 hectares of Chilghoza forests under sustainable forest management through active participation of the local communities. This will also include 3600 hectares under Assisted Natural Regeneration and 800 hectares under agro-forestry and farm forestry. Chitral DFO Farhad Ali said that forest degradation has consequences on climate, environment vulnerability, biodiversity conservation and livelihoods and there was a need for taking joint action for forest conservation. He said joint efforts were required to conserve forest resources and urged upon the local people to plant more trees during the spring tree planting campaigns. He assured that the Forest Department will provide plants and technical guidance to the community. He also appreciated the efforts of the GEF Chilghoza Project in the restoration of the forest resources in the valley.