PESHAWAR: Over 1,000 vacancies (1,054) have been approved for the forest and environment department to enhance its overall capacity and ensure protection of forests in the province.
Out of the vacancies, 687 are for settled districts and 367 for the newly-merged districts. Similarly, raising of a special forest squad has also been approved to further strengthen the forest checkposts across the province, and work is in progress to equip these checkposts with CCTV cameras and other technological gadgets to check smuggling of timber.
This was stated at a meeting of the forest department with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair. The meeting reviewed the overall performance of the department with special focus on measures to increase forest acres and their protection in the province.
The meeting was informed that a comprehensive plan had been prepared for better and efficient management of pine nut forests in Chitral and other parts of the province as well as for its value addition and marketing.
Apart from the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Project, work is underway to prepare an Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan for other ecological zones of the province adding that a preliminary draft of ecotourism policy has been prepared while ecotourism activities have also been included in the forest management plans.