Improving Sub-Watershed Management and Environmental Awareness in the Ayubia National Park

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > Southern Asia > Pakistan

Summary

This project aims to contribute to sustainable water flows in Ayubia National Park in the Western Himalayas. At the same time it will attempt to raise awareness among local people of the need for and benefits of environmental conservation.

It is hoped that effective watershed management will allow an improvement in water availability for local communities, and environmental education will reduce dependence on the unsustainable use of natural resources.

Background

Ayubia National Park (ANP) covers an area of approximately 3,312ha and is located within the Western Himalayan global ecoregion. The Western Himalayas is also the catchment area for 70-80% of water from the melting of snow and glaciers to the Indus Delta. Its significance in watershed management is critical; deforestation in the area will have far reaching consequences that will have negative impact in the Indus and Ganges deltas.

ANP is one of the most popular tourist hill resorts in Pakistan with approximately 250,000 tourists visiting annually, particularly during the summer season. It is very rich in biodiversity and provides an excellent habitat to important plants and wildlife species.

The Project will focus on the following 3 areas:

1. Sub-watershed management
2. Awareness raising and capacity building
3. Community development through introduction of alternate sources of energy, rainwater harvesting, crop diversification, habitat restoration and water filtration.

The first phase of this project is designed for a period of 18 months. It will include sub-watershed management covering an area of 200ha. The hamlet Kundla has been selected as a pilot. It is located at the boundary of the ANP and has a high dependency on resources such as fuel wood and spring water from the Park. Alternate sources of energy such as solar stoves will be provided to the residents of Kundla to reduce their dependence on fuel wood collected from ANP.

The Project will also contribute to sustainable flow of water for a sub-watershed area through different techniques such as plantation and loose stone check-damming of the streams at different points. Rainwater harvesting will be tested at the hamlet to provide the residents with a direct supply of water. Solid waste management activities will be carried out for segregation of the waste (for composting of organic material) and its collection.

This phase will also increase the awareness potential of ANP by enhancing the experience of the famous “Pipeline Walk”, a popular visitor pathway constructed over a water-pipe a century ago. The Visitor Education Centre at Dunga Gali, which has been set up by the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) Wildlife Department, will be enhanced as part of this initiative. An Environmental Education and Awareness Strategy will be developed and implemented for the area.

WWF Pakistan will engage students, and others interested groups in cleaning up activities at Saif ul Maluk Lake and exposure visits to ANP. The lake is at an altitude of 3,224m above sea level in NWFP, Pakistan.

Objectives

Contribute to sustainable water flows through watershed management in Ayubia National Park and enhance environmental conservation through awareness raising.

Solution

1. Water availability to the communities has been improved through watershed management.
2. One hamlet, Kundla, tested to reduce the dependence on ANP resources.
3. Tourists educated about nature conservation.
4. Liaison established with schools near ANP to organise environmental conservation education programme.
5. Schools and interested groups engaged to improve cleanliness of Lake Saif ul Maluk.

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