JUNIPER FORESTS OF BALUCHISTAN
A BRIEF REVIEW
Juniperus excelsa M. Bieb is the only conifer tree in Balochistan province of Pakistan. It is listed as a threatened tree by IUCN Red List in Pakistan. These forests and their associated plants and animals constitute a unique forest ecosystem; unfortunately, these forests in the northeastern region of Balochistan are degradating due to increased human population, poor regeneration, illegal cuttings, over grazing, agricultural land extension, canopy dieback, mistletoe attack, and periodic drought. Rehabilitation of these degraded forests land needs to be monitored over a long period of time with collaborative efforts and support from different related governmental organizations, as well as local inhabitants. Silvicultural practices and sustainable management must be adopted as tools for rehabilitation with floristic, ecological, and socio-economic interest. In the present study, the main objective is to indicate the major threats and recommend the appropriate silvicultural treatments in order to preserve and increase this species (J. excelsa) located in the Ziarat valley of Baluchistan. Under present conditions J. excelsa exhibits an adequate recruitment and does not face any immediate danger. However, if grazing does not stop in the future, J. excelsa may be replaced in better sites by more competitive species. In order to preserve an important component of the landscape such as J. excelsa stands and the integrity of ecosystem diversity, forest practice must imitate the impact of grazing and tree cutting in better sites. Intensive grazing must be avoided due to the negative effect upon the soil, juvenile seedlings, and microclimate. A forest management system that enables the original stands to survive and regenerate must be undertaken without delay. Moreover, the density of J. excelsa tree can be increased through specific silvicultural techniques such as the replanting of drought tolerant exotic trees and Juniper.