LAHORE: The Forests Department will use information obtained from a newly established laboratory to improve management of 68 river- and 27 canal- irrigated forests, Forests, Wildlife and Fisheries Minister Malik Asif Bha Awan said on Sunday.
He was presiding over a meeting to review pace of work on ongoing projects of the department.
The minister said river-irrigated forests were spread over an area of 52,500 acres and canal irrigated of 170,174 acres in Kasur, Okara, Lahore, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rajanpur, Muzaffargarh, Sargodha, Mianwali, Multan, Chichawatni, Sahiwal, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Faisalabad, Jhang, and Layyah forest divisions.
The minister said highly qualified and experienced staff had been recruited for the management of the laboratory. These included a GIS manager, a GIS analyst, a data analyst, a draftsman and a computer operator, he added.
He said the laboratory equipped with geographic information system (GIS) was now operational. He said the department had published a brochure with updated maps of 25 canal-irrigated forests spread over 166,302 acres. He said these maps were made with information collected through the GIS software at the laboratory.
The minister said besides the information obtained through the GIS software, a team at the laboratory was using record of the Revenue Department to prepare maps of other forests in the province.
The minister said a training programme had also been arranged for newly recruited staff at the laboratory.
The minister said the laboratory had been set up at a cost of Rs50 million. He said efforts to enhance protection of forest resources would improve with the help of the information obtained from the laboratory. He said officials had been asked to seek assistance from the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO).
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2015.