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Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


A region of Northern Pakistan has successfully reforested an area with one billion trees in just two years, protecting vital natural ecosystems and the services they provide.

Following decades of deforestation in Pakistan, a push by the regional government saw a mass reforestation effort leading to the planting of one billion trees and the conservation of more than 350,000 hectares.

The so-called ‘billion tree tsunami’ project is a part-mitigation, part-adaptation effort from Pakistan, a country that contributes less than 1% of global emissions, but is in the top ten countries expected to be worst hit by climate change.

The reforestation efforts have occurred in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where 40% of the country’s remaining forests occur. After years of deforestation, forests accounted for just 2% of Pakistan’s total land area.



In preparation for the ‘tsunami’, 13,000 private and government nurseries were set up, which contributed 40% of the new trees in the region. The remainder have come from protection and regeneration of existing lands.

Pakistan is planting over one billion trees in the northern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (photo by Rahman Shah).

The Challenge

To restore a previously deforested area and contribute to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Green Growth Initiative, two approaches of protected natural regeneration and planned afforestation were set in motion.


Economic The economic benefits are estimated to be around $121 million for the province in terms of carbon sequestration, watershed improvement, and sustainable future forest resources.

Social An estimated 500,000 green jobs have been created by the nurseries, which can generate incomes of around 12,000 to 15,000 rupees ($115-$140) a month for villagers.

Environment Large scale reforestation is also expected to have positive effects for biodiversity conservation, as forests provide habitat for a broad range of species.