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University of British Columbia Helps Restore Afghanistan’s Forests

In recent months, University of British Columbia Associate Professor Gary Bull has led an effort to help protect and restore Afghanistan’s remaining forest in the north east province of Nuristan. In partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society and USAID, a team led by Prof. Bull has conducted forest management training for Afghan field crews. The Afghan teams will conduct 350 surveys among Nuristan villagers, gathering data on forest uses, household behavior, income and education levels. They will then work with Prof. Bull to develop the appropriate incentives that will compel the local populations from further deforesting the land. Some provinces in Afghanistan have experienced deforestation rates of up to 70% over the past 20 years. Currently, Afghanistan has 1.3% forest cover, one of the lowest in the world.

“If you don’t understand what motivates people, you’ll never help them rebuild,” said Prof. Bull. He identified environmental protocols and standards to combat climate change as means of alleviating poverty and improving quality of life in rural Afghanistan.


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