Thousands numbers of deodar trees dried in Chitral Gol National
CHITRAL: The mysterious disease caused to drying up of
thousands of deodar trees in Chitral Gol National Park has always
evaded the notice of wild life department over the past ten years.
Talking to Chitral Times here on Saturday, a number of residents
complained that the dried up national trees (deodar) are seen in
every part of the park but its management has done no effort to
diagnose the disease to eradicate it.
They said that the disease shows a grave situation in the national
park which houses the national tree (deodar), national animal (markhor)
and national bird (chakor) and any delay in controlling it could
spell doom not only for the valuable deodar trees but also afflict
other important high-altitude species .
A conservationist working with a non-governmental organization,
requesting anonymity, warned that unless effective preventive and
curative measures were taken, the disease can affect the rich
biodiversity in the national park area.
He said that the process of drying up had started ten years ago and
the trees older than twenty years are affected by the disease while
it has been observed that at first the upper part of the trees get
Giving the other symptoms, he said that the in the first stage, the
needles turn yellowish and their size and the crown starts
withering in the next stage and finally the bark also peels off the
Discarding the presence of fungus as the reason, he said that that
no trace of fungus can be traced out and that the fungus attacks
the roots while the drying up of the trees from the top also
He estimated 35 acres of the area specifically from North to West
with affected trees while the park divided into many patches in
which many have completely dried up trees and while in most of them
the trees are in different stages of withering.
He stressed on a thorough survey of the forests in and around the
afflicted patches in the national park to assess the extent of the
spread of disease and temporary isolation of the infected areas.
The chairman of Chitral Gol National Park Association (CGNPA), the
umbrella organization of twelve village conservation committees,
Hussain Ahmed, expressed his grave concern over the fast rate of
drying up of deodar trees in the park.
He said that a number of resolutions were passed in the CGNPA
meetings asking the wildlife department to take measures to contain
the proliferation of the mysterious
diseases in the park but to no avail.
He said that the drying up of chalghuza pine, a species of the
deodar, has inflicted economic loss on the local people as they
used to collect hundreds of thousands of kilograms of chalghuza
every year which is in high demand in the market.
Mr. Ahmed said that the process of drying up of the trees had
started long ago in the park which encompasses an area of 77.5 km
and it was a pity that the wildlife department is still indifferent
When the divisional forest officer of Chitral Gol wildlife
division, Muhammad Buzurg, was contacted to know his version, he
admitted the drying up of trees in the park and stated drought of
rainfall as the reason.
He said that no anatomic disease can be attributed to the drying up
of trees as the shortage of required moisture to the roots of trees
was the only cause of its drying up of the deodar trees.