Pakistan, with its geography ranging from sea level to the second highest mountain in the world, hosts a rich variety of flora and fauna. However, with the increase in population, and subsequent increase in the demand for fuelwood, timber and grazing grounds, forest area in Pakistan has been diminishing at an alarming rate. This has resulted in rapid erosion, severe land degradation and a significant decline in both the numbers and variety of wildlife.
In order to reverse the process of deforestation and improve the status of wildlife, the Government of Pakistan has created a number of environmentally related departments at both the federal and provincial levels. In addition, several NGOs have initiated efforts to enhance the process of reforestation. However, local participation, the essential requirement for the success, has largely been ignored. Local communities were rarely involved in the protection of natural resources on government land. Likewise, technical and financial support needed to improve communities’ skill and ability to manage their resources on private lands was virtually nonexistent.
The World Wide Fund for Nature/Pakistan (WWF/Pakistan) has been actively trying to improve the environmental situation by including local communities in natural resource management. This paper details WWF/Pakistan’s efforts in Bar Valley in the North Western Frontier Provinces of Pakistan. The project, begun in 1990, capitalized on the popularity of hunting in the area and the possibilities of linking ecotourism (based on sustainable hunting), conservation and community development.