Man and Biosphere initiative for Juniper forests of Balochistan

Project Theme Natural Sciences
Project Title Man and Biosphere initiative for Juniper forests of Balochistan
Duration January 2013 - December 2013
Total Project Budget USD 300,000.00
Funding Sources One UN Environment
Implementing Partners - Ministry of Science and Technology
- Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF)
- International Union for Conservation of
  Nature (IUCN)
- Provincial Departments of Balochistan
Location Ziarat-Balochistan
Project Officer Syed Raza Shah
Contact (email) r.shah@unesco.org
Man and Biosphere (MAB) initiative for Juniper forests of Balochistan
Pakistan is an agrarian economy and has rural population largely dependent on natural resources. Nevertheless, these resources are depleting rapidly due to growing population and poolution. Climate change is an added threat that is impeding the adaptive capacity of dependant communities in meeting their livelihood needs. Protected areas play an important role in conserving the biodiversity and thus sustaining rural livelihoods. These resources helps in building the resilience and adaptation of local communities, to the impact of natural disasters such as droughts, floods, desertification, low productivity, etc.

The Juniper forest ecosystem of Ziarat-Pakistan is reputed to be the oldest and world's second largest, and harbors some of the unique species of Juniperusexcelsapolycarpu. This ecosystem commands global importance as a sink for carbon sequestration. Despite its status as a protected national park, sustainable management of the Juniper ecosystem remains threatened by the population intrusion, poverty, poor governance and the dependence of local communities on forest for goods and services.

Although a number of international interventions exist for the sustainable management of Pakistan's natural resources, however, establishing biosphere reserves through UNESCO's MAB programme has not been fully tapped, mainly due to weak implementation at national level.

The intent of this project is three-fold: to galvanize institutional support for the implementation of the Madrid Action Plan (MAP) for MAB in Pakistan, and add an additional site - the Juniper Forest Ecosystem of Ziarat - to the global network of biosphere reserves, and to facilitate the capacity building of stakeholders in the management of biosphere reserves, along with enhancing the research capacity on ecosystem services.