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About the Author

Ladislav Kudlacek
Education project manager (Czech Republic)

Political Scientist and Economist. I worked for human rights and humanitarian NGO in India and for international NGO People in Need based in the Czech Republic as a Programme Manager for Afghanistan. In present time I work as an Education Manager. I studied Economics in Tomas Bata University and Political Science in Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and in the University of Delhi in India and Humanitarian and International Law in Helsinki University in Finland.


Forest on Terror – The environmental disaster in Afghanistan

Published 02nd August 2010 - 5 comments - 3997 views -

Forest on Terror – The environmental disaster in Afghanistan

Afghanistan may be facing a serious environmental crisis. Huge percentage of Afghanistan's land could be subject to soil erosion and desertification. Environmental issues in Afghanistan predate the political turmoil of the past few decades. Forests and wetlands have been depleted by centuries of grazing and farming, practices which have been increased by modern population growth. In Afghanistan, environmental conservation and economic concerns are not at odds; with 80% of the population dependent on herding or farming, the welfare of the environment is critical to the economic welfare of the people. The violence of the past twenty-five year has caused the destruction of 98% of Afghanistan's forests.

As forest cover decreases, the land becomes less productive, threatening the livelihood of the rural population. Loss of vegetation also creates a higher risk of floods, which not only endanger the people, but also cause soil erosion and decrease the amount of land available for agriculture. Currently, only 6% of the 15% of land in Afghanistan is usable and, if all the refugees are to return, problems of land ownership and adequacy of available land are inevitable. Many refugees who have already returned have found the rural areas too hard to survive. They have escaped again to big Afghan cities like Kabul or Masar-e-Sharif. Thus another disaster has started also in over-populated cities. People have problem to find jobs, there is a lack of water sources and poor hygiene.

New forest trees for new livelihoods

The forest trees should act as windbreak barriers to protect annual crops and prevent soil erosion where they are planted.  They should also contribute to reduction of greenhouse gases, help decrease air pollution and increase rainfall in the region which should result in more productive land.

Even if we assume that this environmental degradation is not permanent, it is not easily reversible and it will require a major internationally supported recovery programme to be implemented. International organisations (such as USAid, the European Union and many others) try to collect resources and support many projects which may help by reforestation. New trees will help the people and animals settle down in areas which have without trees really low probability to keep agriculture production.

Category: Environment | Tags:


  • Iwona Frydryszak on 02nd August 2010:

    the problem for reforestation can be landmines… as Afhganistan is one of the most mined country in the world.

  • Luan Galani on 02nd August 2010:

    A spooky reality out there. Good point, Iwona.
    Ladislav, do you know the name of some of these projects?

  • Hussam Hussein on 03rd August 2010:

    Good point Iwona

  • Andrea Arzaba on 04th August 2010:

    We do not need to only plant trees…we actually need to analyze the surroundıng ın order for them to survive!

    It ıs very sad to hear about the landmines…ahhh this is so sad

  • Ladislav Kudlacek on 05th August 2010:

    Landmines are not the main issue in Afghanistan. The solution is well known and there are many landmines clearing programmes done by private companies, NGOs and UN or by army. There are also the areas where are not the landmines or where the clearing is done.
    The problem of erosion and deforestration is more visible and dangerous. The environmental issue is also the problem of security, economy and normal life of the Afghan population. We should look at this more complex.

    The interesting reforestration projects or livelihood projects are done by many NGOS in Afghanistan - People in Need, German Agro Action, etc. More info is also on USAid webpage etc.

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