{Book Launch] CKNP Natural Environment and Cultural Heritage in the land of K2

Islamabad: The speakers termed the book ‘CKNP Natural Environment and Cultural Heritage in the Land of K2’ a valuable inventory of biological diversity, endangered species, cultural heritage, and water resources. They said the Central Karakoram National Park in the Gilgit-Balitstan is a mountain area endowed with rich biodiversity, natural beauty and important natural resources. The Park compasses the world’s largest glaciers, outside the Polar Regions.

The book was launched Wednesday in connection with the on-going weeklong 5th Pakistan Mountain Festival, being organized by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) to commemorate the International Mountain Day.

Luca Listo, Director of the project SEED-EvK2CNR, said that the research work and inventory of natural, cultural and social heritage was supported under the framework of Pakistan-Italy Debt Swap Agreement (PIDSA). He said, “The two Italian researchers and authors Ermes Invernizzi and Michele Lucatelli have done great efforts to research, compile and consolidate the most recent information and knowledge about the species, natural and water resources. The book is enriched with the maps trekkers, visuals and photographs of heritage and monuments in the land of Karakoram.”

Luca Listo is hopeful that the book would boost the importance of the Central Karakoram National Park that was notified in 1993. It is the largest protected area of Pakistan, covering over 10,557.73 km2. Dr Nasim Javed Khan, the forestry expert, said the book contain very important information about the flora and fauna species specific to the Karakoram region. It is a very comprehensive research on almost every aspect of the CKNP since its inception. The Italian researchers spent almost four year to complete the extremely valuable work. Through this book we know the high value natural, social and cultural treasures. Having known the resources in the CKNP, now it is our core responsibility to manage and conserve the resources available with us.

Muhammad Aurangzeb, another biological diversity expert, said the water resources available in the CKNP are the lifeline of life downstream. Almost 70 per cent of water flows down come from the melting of glaciers in the CKNP. The management of the CKNP is vital for everyone in the park and downstream. The CKNP is the hub of natural habitats of all the flagship wildlife species and big cats in the region. Yassar Abbas said the picturesque value of the book is also most important to attract the trekkers and tourists to the CKNP. Many treks are developed through the PIDA project SEED-EvK2CNR that could pave the path for the eco-tourism to boost economy of the locals.

Munir Ahmed, Pakistan Mountain Festival Director, said it is prime duty to conserve the natural resources and beat the cartels responsible for exploitation of natural resources. The core-hubs of natural resources are far away from the eyes of watchdogs, hence remains on the mercy of mafias. We need to develop mechanisms to play active role to curb the unfriendly practices. He asked the Gilgit-Batistan government to immediately allocate resource for the implementation of the management plan in the CKNP for the consistent and sustainable development. Otherwise, all the effort done in the CKNP by the SEED project feared to go waste.

The Central Karakorum mountain range and the highest park all over the world, it is characterized by extremes of altitudes that range from 2,000 m a.s.l. to over 8,000 m a.s.l., including K2, the second highest peak in the world. It falls into four administrative districts of Gilgit-Baltistan Region.

In order to facilitate the maintenance of Central Karakoram National Park ecological integrity while, at the same time, providing sustainable management opportunities for local communities and visitors, a zoning system has been implemented.
Source: Pakistan Observer

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