El Mecanismo para la Restauración de Bosques y Paisajes

Improving livelihoods through the restoration of Chilgoza Pine in Pakistan as part of The Restoration Initiative (TRI)

Year published: 18/03/2019

The Chilgoza ecosystem in the North West of Pakistan is subject to negative impacts of climate change. Chilgoza Pine (Pinus gerardiana) is an important high value species, a unique product of the ecosystem of the dry temperate forests, regulating water flows and biodiversity conservation. It also has the potential to contribute billions of rupees (tens of millions of USDs) to the economy by providing non-timber forest products, such as pine nuts, medicinal plants, mushrooms and fuel wood.

Thanks to the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under The Restoration Initiative (TRI), FAO recently launched this project across Pakistan, with the aim of reversing deforestation and forest degradation in high value conservation Chilgoza pine forests.

FAO works in partnership with Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change and provincial Forest Departments as well as with local communities.

To ensure alignment of all stakeholders’ priorities and to serve the men, women and youth dependent on Chilgoza pine for their livelihoods, the FAO team comprised of Ms. Mina Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative to Pakistan, Dr. Faizul Bari, Natural Resource Management Advisor (NRM), and Ms. Mathilde Iweins, Chief Technical Advisor, met with the Chief Secretary, Secretary of Forests and Conservation of Forests in the districts of Gilgit and Chilas.

Ms. Dowlatchahi noted that the sustainable collection, processing and marketing of Chilgoza has the potential to provide one stable source of income to support local livelihoods and incentivise communities to sustainably manage forests. The project, she said, will also be instrumental in setting up a mechanism to achieve the successful restoration of forests, which is the primary objective of TRI, linked to the Bonn Challenge.

The team also met with community members in Ghais, in Diamer district to hear directly from them about their priorities and respective roles in the implementation of the project. The community highlighted the need for the project to support alternative livelihoods development, to reduce their dependency on use of the forests. The male members of the community, often the main providers in households, in most cases rely on collecting Chilgoza cones to meet their livelihood needs. They requested appropriate tools for cone collection and further processing, and in particular equipment/training to help them organize and guard the forest areas from illegal logging. It is important to engage women to enable them to play their role in the Chilgoza value chain and in other livelihood development activities so they can also benefit from it, despite the social and cultural limitations they face. The project will place a particular emphasis on supporting women’s activities linked to the sustainable conservation and management of forests.

Several systems will be developed to generate incentives for all the communities for sustainable Chilgoza forest management, including linked Payment for Ecosystem Services and value chain development.

One of the key constraints of the Chilgoza pine nuts value chain in Gilgit is currently the lack of processing facilities accessible to communities, and tools and knowledge for improved  harvesting of the cones without harming the tree. During the visit to the Chilgoza processing unit in Chilas, the need to promote value addition by introducing the latest techniques in roasting, packaging, and labelling of the nuts at local level was identified. The roasting units are to be managed and run under a cooperative arrangement, where they would be able to provide services to different Chilgoza collection communities.

The project will contribute to improving the environment and enhancing resilience and livelihoods in Balochistan, Giligit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the next five years.

For more information contact: [email protected] or click here.

Photo credit: ©FAO/Dowlatchahi


Waqas Rafique (FAOPK)