Volume 7, Issue 4      October - December, 2019

Forest disturbance and degradation in western Himalayan moist temperate forest of Pakistan

Javed Iqbal

Department of Silviculture, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic

Department of Forestry, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto University, Sheringal, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan


This research aims to investigate forest disturbances and the underlying factors driving forest degradation in the past several decades in the western Himalaya, Pakistan. The results revealed four major disturbance sources (geological, climatic, biotic, and anthropogenic). Data (frequency of events) were recorded using point and fixed area methods (0.1 ha). The analysis shows average frequency (0.045 or 27% of disturbance) through climatic sources (natural fire, wind, snow & floods, which shows the impact of climate change on these mountains; Landslides damaged large areas (11%–16 %) through a geological source. Humans also have a great impact on land clearing for agriculture and infrastructure (35%) from logging, shifting cultivation and counter fire. Most of the disturbances occurred on higher altitudes (>2,800 m a.s.l.), whereas the mid-range elevation (1,900–2,700 m a.s.l.) were only influenced by snow. The landslide was recorded on low elevation (>1,900 m a.s.l.), but there are some landslide events that were observed on a higher elevation. This study focused on the stability of mountain forests for long-term planning. Anthropogenic activities need to be restricted and more afforestation projects need to plan, that increase the forest-covered area.

Keywords: Disturbance, Altitude, Degradation, Moist-temperate climate, Sustainability

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