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Qamer F.M.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | Abbas S.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | Abbas S.,Asian Institute of Technology | Saleem R.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Mountain Science | Year: 2012

This study examines the spatial and temporal forest cover changes in Swat and Shangla districts to understand the deforestation pattern in context of the recent security conflict in these districts. We used multi-resolution satellite images to assess the long term deforestation from 2001 to2009 and also to identify episodic forest cutting areas appeared during the conflict period of Oct. 2007-Oct. 2008. There are only 58 ha of deforestation identified during the conflict period while 1268 ha of gross annual deforestation were assessed during last eight years. Most of the deforestation patches persist around the administrative boundaries at sub-district levels (tehsils) which can be attributed to ambiguity in unclear jurisdiction between the forest official. The results highlight that the forest cutting appeared in Swat and Shangla during the conflict period is not as significant when compared with the long term deforestation pattern in the area. On the one side the results of the study are supportive to the picture that emerges from international studies which report high rate of deforestation in the country and on the other side it negates any relation between the security situation and the increasing deforestation in the north western Pakistan. The study concludes that deforestation assessments require verification by independent sources of data, such as satellite imagery to improve our understanding of deforestation processes. © 2012 Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Ali H.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | Ali H.,University of Punjab | Akram U.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | Abbas S.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | And 8 more authors.
Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences | Year: 2015

Western Tragopan (Tragopanmelanocephalus) is a beautiful pheasant species and is endemic to western Himalayas. It has large distribution range but different populations are fragmented within the western Himalayan moist temperate forests. Its distribution in Pakistan is restricted to some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJ&K).This species is globally ‘vulnerable’ since its fragmented small populations are declining dueto continuing forest loss and habitat destruction throughout its range. This study was carried out to model the potential distribution and habitat of Western Tragopanin Neelam and Muzaffarabad districts of AJ&K by incorporating the physical, biological and climatic variables into MaxEnt model. Land cover data, Digital Elevation Model (DEM), slope, aspect, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), temperature, precipitation, topographic and sighting datasets were processed in Geographic Information System (GIS) to produce meaningful predictor variables, subsequently used in the MaxEnt software. The results showed that 11,112 ha area (2% of the total study area) is highly suitable for Western Tragopan, 30,248 ha area (5.3%) moderately suitable while 525,445 ha (92.7%) area is unsuitable. Jackknife test evaluated the importance of predictor variables and DEM, precipitation and land cover were found to be the most important variables for this study. The study evaluated the species-habitat relationship within the study area and can be helpful in the management and in-situ conservation planning of the species in its distribution range. © 2015, Pakistan Agricultural Scientists Forum.All rights reserved.

Arshad M.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | Qamer F.M.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | Saleem R.,World Wide Fund for Nature WWF Pakistan | Malik R.N.,Quaid-i-Azam University
Biodiversity | Year: 2012

The Kashmir markhor, Capra falconeri cashmiriensis, is classified as endangered throughout its range because of habitat loss, unsustainable hunting and competition with domestic livestock. We investigated environmental factors influencing species distribution in Chitral Gol National Park (CGNP) based on the 'presence-only' dataset and predicted the potential distribution of markhor in order to compute a habitat suitability (HS) map using ecological niche factor analysis (ENFA). Kashmir markhor presence-only data was recorded for a period of four years during 2003-2007 from 487 point locations in summer, spring and winter. The geographical position of animals and the related topographic and habitat variables were used to accurately assess species occurrence within the study area and to predict its distribution. ENFA is used to describe distribution patterns and to identify key variables influencing the ecological niche of markhor. The ENFA model revealed that markhor occurred at a mean elevation of 2818 m with a mean slope of 33.4°. The species requirements seem different from the average habitat conditions available in the study area. Whereas the specialisation factor indicated some specific habitat requirements of markhor, it was found that they still occupied a wider ecological niche. The model suggested that markhor avoid higher elevations but showed a strong relationship with comparatively steep slopes. ENFA computed 25% of the area of CGNP under suitable and optimal conditions for the long-term existence of Kashmir markhor in CGNP. ENFA computed a HS map for markhor showing its widespread distribution within the study area. Steep slopes and a lower to medium elevation range were mostly preferred by markhor. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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