International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security
Study of Effects of Local Communities and Recreational Activities
Shaheen Begum*, Syeda Maria Ali, Saroop Shahid
Environmental Sciences Program, Fatima Jinnah Women University, Pakistan
Present study was conducted to highlight the effects of local communities and recreational activities on the Margalla Hills National Park, Islamabad and the role of management in its protection. Information from the target communities as well as the visitors were collected through questionnaire survey and random sampling technique was exercised. Two villages present within the Park’s boundary but not acquired by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) were selected and fifty households each village were surveyed. Fifty visitors per weekend were interviewed on three selected weekends. In-depth interviews with the management personnel were done and personal observations were also incorporated for further emphasis. Results indicated that there is an increasing pressure on the natural resources of the Park. Common practices carried out by the local communities are use of wood for fuel, deterioration of vegetation due to extensive livestock browsing and grazing, clearing of land for agricultural practices, hunting of animals for game purposes, contamination of water resources by improper waste disposal and extraction of medicinal plants by Hakeems and Pansaris for use and sale in market. Recreational activities by visitors have given rise to problems like increased waste production, over crowding and disturbance of biodiversity, etc. The management is concentrating more on development rather than planning. Managers need to implement strategies that help mitigate local communities and recreation effects, in order to protect the Margalla Hills National Park for future generations.