Pakistan's remaining forests are both fragile and unique. They are also extremely important for the ecological services that they provide to society. Despite the government's ongoing recognition of the need to increase forest cover since 1955, very little substantive progress has been made. Indeed, deforestation levels have been continuing at an alarming rate, making Pakistan one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to losing its forest resources in the next thirty years. This paper highlights the impact of political and government actions on the forest sector in Pakistan. It describes how the rapid rate of deforestation in the past has been linked to government and administrative failures and discusses the possible impact of forest land transfers on forest loss. It then presents the case of the proposed Patriata Reserved Forest development in 2004 as an example of a situation where provincial governments and institutions attempted to usurp established forest policy and legislation to transfer ecologically endangered forestland for a resort development. Finally, the utility of the existing tools of government for protecting Pakistan's remaining forestlands are discussed.
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Vol. 12 • No. 1