Piloting restoration initiatives in subtropical scrub forest: specifying areas asserting adaptive management

  • Amin U. KhanEmail author
  • Faiza Sharif
  • Zafar Siddiq
  • M. Umar Hayyat
  • Laila Shahzad
  • Joachim Gratzfeld


Subtropical scrub forests in Pakistan have diminished by about 75% over the last hundred years, mainly due to indiscriminate exploitation and invasion by exotics species. Lack of initiatives, awareness, and research in utilizing the techniques used for accelerating natural forest succession is resulting in further degradation of the remaining forests. To promote active restoration with local communities and governmental authorities, a restoration scheme was piloted between 2010 and 2016 to examine enrichment population effects. Over 4,000 saplings of two woody climax species, Acacia modesta and Olea ferruginea, raised from seeds of local provenance, were planted in three subjectively selected trial plots representing various stages of degradation, covering a total area of about 4 ha. The results showed an overall 46% survival rate, accompanied by natural regeneration. Comparative analyses of the trial plots have shown variations which were strongly site specific, in addition, it also helped in gauging compliance of the site coordinators in implementing restoration measures as an effective management tool. This study provided an opportunity to appreciate the differences in terms of interventions used for implementing ecological restoration across landscape in the degraded scrub forests.


Planning restoration Gauging compliance Engaging stakeholders Restoration alliance 



We are thankful to our site coordinators at all sites, and Dr. Sumbal Nazeer for analyzing the diversity indices and Ms. Asma Mansoor for proofreading.

Funding information

This project was funded by the Botanic Garden Conservation International-UK and GC University Lahore.


  1. Appanah, S. (2003). Introduction: restoration of degraded forests as opportunities for development. In H. C. Sim, S. Appanah, & P. B. Durst (Eds.), Proceedings of international conference on bringing back the forests: policies and practices for degraded lands and forests (pp. 7–14). Bangkok, Thailand: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.Google Scholar
  2. Balmford, A., & Cowling, R. M. (2006). Fusion or failure? The future of conservation biology. Conservation Biology, 20, 692–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Banuri, T. (1992). The Pakistan National Conservation Strategy. Government of Punjab. Retrieved on 05-07-2018.
  4. Birben, Ü. (2019). State ownership of forests from different angles: policy, economics, and law. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 191, 502. Scholar
  5. Cabin, R. J. (2007). Science-driven restoration: a square grid on a round earth? Restoration Ecology, 15, 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Champion, H. G., K. Sethi & G. M. Khattak (1965). Forest types of Pakistan. Forest Institute, Peshawer, Pakistan.Google Scholar
  7. Chen, X., & Perc, M. (2014). Excessive abundance of common resources deters social responsibility. Scientific Reports, 4, 4161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clayton, S., & Mayers, G. (2009). Conservation psychology: Understanding and promoting human care for nature. UK: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  9. Cole, R. J., Holl, K. D., & Zahawi, R. A. (2010). Seed rain under tree islands planted to restore degraded lands in a tropical agricultural landscape. Ecological Applications, 20(5), 1255–1269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dalmacio, M. V. (1987). Assisted natural regeneration: a strategy for cheap, fast and effective regeneration of denuded forest lands. Tacloban City: Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources Regional Office.Google Scholar
  11. Dugan, P. (2000). Assisted natural regeneration: methods, results and issues relevant to sustained participation by communities. Forest restoration for wildlife conservation. International Tropical Timber Organization and The Forest Restoration Research Unit, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 195-199. Dugan assisted natural.pdf. Retrieved on 20-06-2018.
  12. GOKP. (2018). Forestry, environment and wildlife. About billion tree tsunami afforestation project. Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. January 2019.
  13. GOP. (2018). Forestry sector. Planning and Development Department, Government of Punjab. Retrieved on 26-06-2018.
  14. Gorrie, M.R. (1946). Land management in the Punjab hills. 2ndEition Printed. Pakistan, Lahore: Government Printing Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gratzfeld, J., & Khan, A. (2015). Dry woodlands in Pakistan’s Punjab province –piloting restoration of a unique yet vanishing natural resource. Richmond: Botanic Gardens Conservation International.Google Scholar
  16. Hardwick, K., Healey, J. R., Elliot, S., & Blakesley, D. (2014). Research needs for restoring seasonal tropical forests in Thailand: accelerated natural regeneration. New Forests, 27, 285–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Higgs, E. (2005). The two-culture problem: ecological restoration and the integration of knowledge. Restoration Ecology, 13, 159–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hobbs, R. J., Hallett, L. M., Ehrlich, P. R., & Mooney, H. A. (2011). Intervention ecology: applying ecological science in the twenty-first century. Bioscience, 61, 442–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Holling, C. S., & Meffe, G. K. (1996). Command and control and the pathology of natural resource management. Conservation Biology, 2, 328–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Khan, A. U. (1994). History of decline and present status of natural tropical thorn forest in Punjab. Biological Conservation, 67, 205–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Khan, A. U. (1996). Appraisal of ethno-ecological incentives to promote conservation of Salvadora oleoides Decne. The case studies for creating a resource area. Biological Conservation, 75, 187–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Khan, A.U. (2003). Conservation of wild natural resources and the need for good governance in Pakistan. Lead – Pakistan 2000.Google Scholar
  23. Khan, A. U. (2010a). Monitoring structural assets of bi-species groves according to land use types: a case study from arid plains. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 68, 168–121.Google Scholar
  24. Khan, A. U. (2010b). Evaluating the last remnants of Butea monosperma (Lam.) Kuntze Forest for their in situ conservation: a case study. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 70, 171–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Khan, A.U. (2012). Rationale behind selecting Nannorrhops ritichinna leaf as the logo for Pakistan Botanic Gardens Network Secretariat Proceedings of 3nd Pakistan Botanic Gardens Conference “Role of Botanic Garden in conserving natural vegetation”. 2nd – 4th February 2012. Pakistan Botanic Garden Network Secretariat GC University Lahore, Pakistan.Google Scholar
  26. Khan, A.U., & Ahmad, F. (2012). Establishing links between wood trading, grazing and mining activities with the underlying trends of continuous decline of natural scrub forest cover in the Soan valley. Proceedings of 3nd Pakistan Botanic Gardens Conference “Role of Botanic Garden in conserving natural vegetation”, 2nd-4th February 2012. Pakistan Botanic Garden Network Secretariat GC University Lahore, Pakistan.Google Scholar
  27. Khan, A.U., & Shah, W. (2012). Observations on the episode of invasion of mesquite and other exotics on the roadside hedgerows of Soan valley. Proceedings of 3nd Pakistan Botanic Gardens Conference “Role of Botanic Garden in conserving natural vegetation”, 2nd-4th February 2012. Pakistan Botanic Garden Network Secretariat GC University Lahore, Pakistan.Google Scholar
  28. Khan, A. U., Ahmad, F., & Sharif, F. (2013). Rapid ranking method for prioritizing restoration by evaluating human influences on the status of scrub forest: a case study. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 45(1), 11–16.Google Scholar
  29. Khan, A. U., Sharif, F., & Hamza, A. (2016a). Establishing a baseline on the distribution and pattern of occurrence of Salvadora persica L. with meteorological data and assessing its adaptation in the adjacent warmed-up zones. International Journal of Biometeorology, 60, 1897–1906.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Khan, A.U., Sharif, F., Siddique, Z., & Hayat, M.U. (2016b). SDSC-BGCI, Report, ‘Conserving dry-land ecosystems in the Indus plains of Pakistan’. (unpublished).Google Scholar
  31. Mastrangelo, M. E., Gavin, M. C., Laterra, P., Linklater, W. L., & Milfont, T. L. (2014). Psychosocial factors influencing forest conservation intentions on the agricultural frontier. Conservation Letters, 7, 103–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mitri, G., Nasrallah, G., Gebrael, K., Bou Nassar, M., Abou Dagher, M., Nader, M., et al. (2019). Assessing land degradation and identifying potential sustainable land management practices at the subnational level in Lebanon. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 191, 567. Scholar
  33. NDMA. (2012). Pakistan settlements flood recovery project: A Guide on Land and Property Rights in Pakistan Second Edition 2012, National Disaster Management Authority, Islamabad-Pakistan. Retrieved on 08-08-2018.
  34. Omeja, P. A., Chapman, C. A., & Obua, J. (2009). Enrichment planting does not improve tree restoration when compared with natural regeneration in a former pine plantation in Kibale National Park, Uganda. African Journal of Ecology, 47(4), 650–657.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ostrum, E. (1990). Governing the commons. Cambridge: Cambridge University-Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Parker, R. N. (1918). A forest flora for the Punjab with Hazara and Delhi. Pakistan, Lahore: Government Printing Press.Google Scholar
  37. Parrotta, J. A. (2000). Catalysing natural forest restoration on degraded tropical landscapes. In S. Elliot, J. Kerby, D. Blakesley, K. Hardwick, K. Woods, & V. Anusarnsunthorn (Eds.), Forest restoration for wildlife conservation (pp. 45–54). Chiang Mai: International Tropical Timber Organization and the Forest Restoration Research Unit, Chiang Mai University.Google Scholar
  38. PPAF. (2009). Assessment of outcome, Drought Mitigation & Preparedness Program, Soon valley project. Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Islamabad Pakistan. Retrieved on 02-05-2018.
  39. Rappaport, D. I., Tambosi, L. R., & Metzger, J. P. (2015). A landscape triage approach: combining spatial and temporal dynamics to prioritize restoration and conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52, 590–601.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ray-Benayas, J. M. R., Newton, A. C., Diaz, A., & Bullock, J. M. (2009). Enhancement of biodiversity and ecosystem services by ecological restoration: a meta-analysis. Science, 325, 1121–1124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reid, J. L., Holl, K. D., & Zahawi, R. A. (2015). Seed dispersal limitations shift over time in tropical forest restoration. Ecological Applications, 25(4), 1072–1082.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Ryan, J., Estefan, G., & Rashid, A. (2001). Soil and plant analysis laboratory manual (2nd ed.). Aleppo: International Centre for Agricultural research in Dry Areas (ICARDA).Google Scholar
  43. Shannon, C. E., & Weaver, W. (1963). The mathematical theory and communication. Urbana: University of Illinois press.Google Scholar
  44. Sharif, F., & Khan, A. U. (2009). Alleviation of salinity tolerance by fertilization in four thorn forest species for reclamation of salted-affected sites. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 41(6), 2901–2915.Google Scholar
  45. Stewart, R. R. (1972). An annotated catalogue of the vascular plants of West Pakistan. In E. Nasir & S. I. Ali (Eds.), Flora of Pakistan. Pakistan, Karachi: University Publications.Google Scholar
  46. Swart, J. A., Zevenberg, J., Ho, P., Cortina, J., Reed, M., Derak, M., Vella, S., Zhao, H., & Van der Windt, H. J. (2018). Involving society in restoration and conservation. Restoration Ecology, 26, S3–S6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tambosi, L., Martensen, A., Ribeiro, M., & Metzger, J. (2014). A framework to optimize biodiversity restoration efforts based on habitat amount and landscape connectivity. Restoration Ecology, 22, 169–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Von Benda-Beckmann, F. (2004). Struggles over communal property rights and law in Minangkabau, West Sumatra (working paper No. 64). Germany: Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.Google Scholar
  49. Zobel, D. B., Jha, P. K., & Behan, M. J. (1987). A practical manual for ecology (p. 149). Kathmandu: Ratna Book Distributors.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sustainable Development Study CentreGC UniversityLahorePakistan
  2. 2.Department of BotanyGC UniversityLahorePakistan
  3. 3.Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI)SurreyUK

Personalised recommendations