Gilgit Baltistan forest wildlife and environment department Is implementing a Two (2) years project titled Production Sustainable Harvesting and Marketing of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in Gilgit Baltistan”.
Gilgit Baltistan is well known for its biodiversity as it is surrounded by three great Mountain ranges i.e., Karakorum, Himalaya and Hindu Kush (Shinwari et al.2000b). The scenic beauty and unique biological diversity make this region different from other parts of the country. About 3000 species of plants have been reported from the area, out of which at least 124 have medicinal value (UNDP/IUCN, 1999). Whereas, these three mountain ranges collectively contain about 25,000 species (about 10% of world plant species), out of which around 10,000 are economically or medicinally useful (Pei 1992).
The main purpose of this project is to protect, conserve, develop and sustainable management of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) through raising awareness, building the capacities of relevant communities in sustainable harvesting, management and ex situ cultivation techniques. The project also aimed at improving livelihoods of mountain communities by promoting biodiversity friendly enterprise and business of NTFPs that would in turn be helpful in reducing the existing pressure on natural forest for timber and fuel wood collection. However, the specific objectives of the project may include;
- Protect, conserve and sustainable management of NTFPs and MAPs through effective implementation of GB Forest Act 2015 and NTFPs rules 2015.
- Cultivation, Scientific Malmanagement and Harvesting of NTFPs and MAPs in Gilgit Baltistan.
- Improve livelihoods of mountain communities of Gilgit Baltistan through promoting biodiversity friendly enterprises including NTFPs, MAPs and Mushrooms
- Improving knowledge of youth of Gilgit Baltistan regarding the medicinal and economic importance and distribution of NTFPs, MAPs and mushrooms by promoting research activities within the sector
- Building the capacities of communities related with NTFPs and MAPs collection, Propagation, and sale in domestic and international markets to enable them to earn reasonable income from the NTFP related business and enterprise and establish the linkages.
- Value addition of NTFPs including Medicinal and Aromatic Plants and Mushrooms through various processing equipment and techniques.
- Mobilizing communities towards biodiversity friendly production and enterprise
- Introduce voluntary certification mechanism for key NTFPS and MAPs
- Institutionalizing the initiatives and establishment of NTFP cell within Forest Wildlife and Environment Department Gilgit Baltistan.
- Production Sustainable Harvesting and Marketing of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) in Gilgit Baltistan” with objective to document the local botanical and NTFPS wealth and to attract the local as well as foreign investors for investment in the region. Resultantly it will be source for the Income generation of the people after getting jobs indirectly and uplift their living standards and will be source of income for the Government in the form of taxes / levis.