Printer Friendly

Desertification in Sindh is rising due to low rains, population growth.

KARACHI -- Desertification in Sindh is rising due to low rains, population growth and overgrazing of livestock. The land is turning dry while grass is ending with each passing day. The plants, which grow on rainfalls, are grazed by livestock in short span of time, while scattered small trees are being cut for fuel wood.

'Sixty percent area of Sindh is rangelands. There is pressure on rangelands due to livestock grazing. Sixty percent of milk to Karachi goes from these arid lands," said Mohammad Saleem Shaikh, Deputy Director at Ministry of Climate Change.

Rangelands are grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, wetlands, and deserts that are grazed by domestic livestock or wild animals. Types of rangelands include tallgrass and shortgrass prairies, desert grasslands and shrublands, woodlands, savannas, chaparrals, steppes, and tundras. Rangelands do not include forests lacking grazable understory vegetation, barren desert, farmland, or land covered by solid rock, concrete and/or glaciers.

'We cut small trees in Kohistan, make coal, sell it in the market, and earn livelihood,' Mohammad Akram Jokhio, a resident of village Haji Shafi Mohammad Jokhio in taluka Sakro of Thatta district told.

Kohistan stretches from Karachi to Thatta, Jamshoro, Dadu, and Larkana districts. He said that they grow cows through grass of rangelands. 'The cattle is major livelihood source for our children,' he said. The people mostly grow cows here to earn their livelihood. They get milk from them and sell it in the market. They also sell cows in the towns and get clothes and other essential goods. Sometimes our cows die due to contaminated water, he said.

The people in Kohistan are also cutting small trees and are making coal from it. They sell this coal in cities and towns for the livelihood of children. As the population in rangelands has risen the small trees scattered at a large distances are also depleting. The government needs to plant trees and manage them in rangelands.

According to the report of Agricultural Statistics of Pakistan, the population of sheep and goats has increased substantially over the last 30 years. The population of sheep has risen from 24.744 million in 2003-04 to 28.086 million in 2010-11, showing an average annual growth rate of 2% (approximately). Whereas the population of goats increased from 54.679 million in 2003-04 to 61.480 million in 2010-11 which an average annual growth rate of 1.25%. This increase has put more pressure on rangelands.

On the other hand, rangelands are shrinking due to growth in human population with a need to allocate more area for crop production, house building and industrial development. Since the animal production systems in rangelands operate on low input basis, therefore, the problem of increase in grazing pressure will become worse over the period of time. The decline in vegetation cover due to grazing pressure will accelerate erosion and desertification of rangelands.

A Sindh Forest department report said The arid lands in Sindh cover 60% of total land area of Province. These rangelands also support millions of people and their livestock as a source of fodder, forage, food and fuelwood etc. In the absence of canal irrigation, seasonal rainfall during Monsoon is only source of water in these areas. Keeping in view the importance of this natural resource, these lands have been recognized within fourteen priority areas of environmental concern in Pakistan as identified under National Conservation Strategy (NCS).

Registan lies in the districts of Thar, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar Khairpur and Sukkur covering the eastern flank of the province, which provides habitat for important fauna such as Partridges, Pea fowl, Sandgrouse, Birds of prey, rare Species of Chinkara, Desert cat, Indian wild Ass, endangered Houbara Bustard etc. This region encompasses 45,000 Sq. Kms with population of 0.76 million. It is characterized by large alluvial sand dunes. Approximately 10% of the total area is under cultivation. The south eastern portion of the region (Nagarparkar) does not exhibit extensive dune development. It is dominated by the Karunjhar Range which reaches an altitude of 300 meters. The range is surrounded by alluvial plains.

The Arid lands of Kohistan lies in the west of the river Indus, in Districts of Karachi, Dadu, Thatta and Larkana , wherein, the first National Park of Pakistan has been established for the protection of endangered Sindh Ibex (Capara hircus).It has extensive mountainous area, particularly in the south. There are several major drainage systems which discharge in the Indus during the infrequent period of heavy rains. Slightly less than 10% of the region is cultivated. The region supports estimated population of 0.302 million in an area of 43000 Sq. Kms.

These range lands support millions of local population and their livestock in terms of being a source of fuelwood, food, fodder/forage etc. The limited irrigation water resources and extreme environmental conditions limit to bring these areas under irrigated agriculture. Contrary to being potential resources these lands are legally categorized as 'Wastelands' because of apparently smaller economic output as compared to the irrigated lands along the Indus valley.

Rangelands are defined by the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Programme (EMAP) of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as terrestrial systems characterized by a climate regime where the potential evapotranspiration exceeds precipitation, annual precipitation ranges from less than 50 to 600 millimetres, and air temperatures range from -40 to 50 degrees centigrade. The vegetation is dominated by woody shrubs, grasses, cacti and leaf succulents, and drought resistant trees. According to the World Resources Institute (1986) rangelands cover 51% of the total land area of the world.
COPYRIGHT 2017 Asianet-Pakistan
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:The Messenger (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 23, 2017
Previous Article:Anti-dengue measures in Peshawar paying off.
Next Article:After Karachi, knife report reported in Punjab.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters