Pakistan is listed among countries extremely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change due to its diverse topographic and demographic settings. The country is vulnerable to a host of natural hazards particularly of forester hydro-meteorological nature, the frequency and intensity of which has increased due to climate change.
I observed the recurring extreme events, including flash floods, cyclones, heat waves, droughts, glacial lake outburst floods and intrusion of deforestation, that Pakistan has faced in the recent years carried significant climate change footprints although, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are low compared to international standards.
These cover actions to address issues in various sectors such as water, agriculture, forestry, coastal areas, biodiversity, health and other vulnerable ecosystems. Climate change will likely alter the frequency and intensity of forest disturbances, including wildfires, storms, insect outbreaks, and the occurrence of invasive species.
The productivity of forests could be affected by changes in temperature, precipitation and the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Climate change will likely worsen the problems already faced by forests from land development and air pollution.
Despite having a protected status, the Kakad Wari Forest is being severely damaged and degraded by the extraction of resources by natural disasters and locals. The average elevation of Kakad Wari forest, Upper Dir, is 1393 m and project site is situated in the northern part of Pakistan and famous for moist temperate forest and wildlife species in all over the world.
It is home to an immense variety of unique and threatened animals and plants (WWF-Pak, 2010). Plant species are mainly in the forest are Cedrus deodara (Deodar, diar), Pinus wallichiana, Abies pindrow (fir), Picea smithiana (spruce). More than 530 families are living in scattered forest area of Kakad Wari and their total population was 8793 (National Report 2013-14).
Community 100 % dependent on forest plants to cook their daily food and forest plant population has decreased by almost 53% since being established in 1954. Most households cook there food with wood on a traditional hearth comprised of three-stones an inefficient method that wastes a great deal of wood and energy with unburned dangerous smoke.
Women’s bags charcoal made from forest wood for winter season, which is used for cooking fuel in winter season resulting half burn fire and polluting air with heavy charcoal smoke. Households in the target area use a traditional three-stone fireplace for cooking and women spend an average of 15 hours per week collecting fuel wood from Kakad Wari forest for home use. Women are more deliberately considered to reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and development projects, the significant potential of fuel efficient stoves for improving their lives and reducing deforestation. As forest reduce or become degraded, women and children spending most of time in collecting firewood, leaving little time for other activities as study for girls.
Firewood is one of the key energy sources in this area that’s why people rely on to cook their meals, heat their water. Due to high elevation (5500-8500 ft) air pressure (O2) is low and need more firewood energy for longer period of time to cook food. Maximum plant wood is utilizing in process of food preparation and that firewood also causing deforestation in Kakad Wari forest and producing more carbon dioxide gas, causing dangerous diseases are also reported in targeted community.
The destruction of forests for firewood, harmful emissions from inefficient biomass cooking lead to an array of upper respiratory complications, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, cancer of the nasopharynx and larynx tuberculosis, low birth weight and eye diseases such as cataract and even blindness result from constant exposure to biomass fumes (Ref. FAO 2014).
Firewood and charcoal which comes from cutting down forest trees brings with it major environmental consequences. Decades of deforestation have left forest with less than 37% of its original forest cover and has led to soil erosion and severe flooding.
Continuously, cutting of tree forced wildlife species for migration to other areas like nearby populated locality which found very unsafe for animals. Biodiversity of the Kakad Wari forest significantly affected by the excessive deforestation by natives and it also degraded the forest soil and organic matter which disturb forest fertility.
Our Environment Protection Team invented a cooking stove that requires less than half of biomass fuel and emits less greenhouse gases. Designed with efficient ceramic lined material which is locally available, the stove improves combustion by supplying a small volume of high velocity air through a hole that increases the mixing of oxygen. These efficient stoves decrease firewood use by 40%, resulting in emissions reductions of 2-3 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per household annually.
Now, in implementation phase; awareness and capacity building training program will be organized among the forest community particularly 200 women and youth groups (100 women, 100 youth) to make them able to manufacture a ceramic-lined, wood-burning local stove, with a compartment underneath that focuses the heat directly upward instead of in all directions like a traditional three-stone fire. This activity promotes locally made, efficient stoves to help conserve remaining forests, through women and youth manufacture efficient ceramic wood-burning stoves and sell them in their communities to replace the traditional (and inefficient) three-stone hearth which also empower them economically.
Local materials are used for stove production, which is subsidized by the sale of carbon credits. Local populations are thus incentivized to conserve the forest instead of cut it down. The women will get training in stove product quality control and its small entrepreneurship, which develop their leadership and decision making skills.
Locally manufactured efficient fire stoves absolutely reduce wood consumption in forest and help to preserve the unique vegetation, plantation and biodiversity of Moist Temperate Rainforest. The stoves have a cleaner burning process and thus decrease indoor air pollution and associated acute respiratory infections in women and children.
Moreover, savings in burning unsustainably harvested fuel wood cut down CO2 emissions and environmental friendly for both.
The objectives of the research project are as follows:
- Promoting awareness among forest living communities to adapt efficient techniques to reduce deforestation and global warming for sustainable biodiversity
- Helping forest living communities to protect themselves, environment, and biodiversity to adaptation of efficient energy stoves & pressure cookers
- Enhancing positive biomass energy behavior change through information and awareness rising activities, sanitization on use of less firewood consuming stoves, empowering local youth groups to promote modern biomass utilization technology that saves energy consumption
- Building resilience among remote communities with interventions to integrated forests management and other land resources toward combating the negative impacts of rapid environmental change
Blogpost and photo submitted by Adnan Arshad (Agriculture & Climate Change Lab, Faculty of Crop & Food Science, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Pakistan) – ad.uaar(at)gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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