Margallah Hills National Park (MHNP) was established in 1980 for protection, conservation and management of its biodiversity. It spans over 15,883 ha, comprising Margallah hills, Rawal lake and Shakarparian area. Ecologically MHNP is blend of three ecozones; subtropical pine forest, tropical deciduous forest, and tropical thorn forest. In addition to the fauna of these three ecozones, it also hosts urban biodiversity of Islamabad city. It is also transitional zone between faunal communities of the mountains and the plain areas. The park provides refuge to many indigenous species locally migrating from northern parts of the country during winter season when these areas are packed with snow.
Despite its smaller size, the park’s geomorphology provides rich habitat diversity. Thick vegetation cover, steep slopes and gorges offer escape terrain to elusive and shy species. The Rawal lake provides a good waterfowl habitat and serves as refuge for many fish species.
Contrary to the legal status, MHNP is facing many threats from illegal activities. Human settlements, mining and stone crushing, forest fires, tree harvesting, hunting, grazing, commercial activities and roads, and pollution are the factors deteriorating ecosystem health and landscape beauty of the area. Recognizing the context and issues of local and global significance in the management of biodiversity, HWF is working to achieve the following visions and goals:
- MHNP as Model Protected Area: Developing the MHNP into a model protected area that can demonstrate the application of principles of sustainable natural resource management and healthy recreational activities to the policy makers and the public in the country.
- Management of Ecological Balance and Sustainable Use of Resources: Transforming the behavior and attitudes and management systems towards achieving harmony and compatibility between commercial activities, livelihood of local communities and wildlife.
- Institutional and Financial Sustainability: Developing frameworks for institutional and financial management for sustainable development of the park.
- Capacity Building: Developing capacities in the CDA and across the country in the assessment of sensitive areas and development of management strategies and plans for protected areas.
- Dissemination: Sharing the results with the public representatives, government, and the civil society to support the development of effective policies and national strategies and laws for the management of ecosystems.