Rangeland degradation and management approaches in Balochistan, Pakistan

Ahmad, S., et al., 2012. Pakistan Journal of Botany

Original research (primary data)
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Rangeland ecosystems have vital role in Balochistan due to many direct services to the society like food, forage, medicines, fuel, building materials, industrial products, and indirect services of maintaining the composition of the environment, mitigating climate and moderating weather, fertilizing and stabilizing soils, disposing of wastes, cycling nutrients, storing and purifying water. Rangelands degradation in Balochistan is a major issue and affecting not only the direct users of pastoral communities but many others benefiting from the environmental services. Some of the indicators of rangelands degradation include reduction in vegetation cover, above ground plant productivity, soil erosion, elimination of soil seed bank, and shift in species composition. Rangeland degradation is site specific due to spatial, temporal variation of vegetation and utilization practices. Studies on recovery of natural vegetation, re-generation of native species, seasonal biomass variations, evaluation of fodder shrubs and community based efforts are being carried out by the Arid Zone Research Centre (AZRC), Quetta in various districts of Balochistan. Above ground dry biomass production varies from 40 to 200 kg/ha in open areas as compared to 200 to 865 kg/ha in protected areas. Heavily grazed grasslands have good recovery potential under favourable climatic conditions. Re-generation potential of native range species is limited due to weak persistent soil seed bank and insufficient rainfall distribution during germination and establishment of seedlings. Biomass availability gradually declines and winter months are critical for grazing. Fodder shrubs like Atriplex canescens and Salsola vermiculata have potential for establishment of forage reserve blocks with micro-catchment water harvesting techniques. Communities degraded rangelands can be rehabilitated either by grazing management or plantation of drought tolerant fodder shrubs on appropriate sites. A viable and sound rangeland policy and implementation strategies are mandatory for conservation and utilization of the rangeland resources on sustainable basis.

Case studies

Basic information

  • Case ID: INT-151-1
  • Intervention type: Combination
  • Intervention description:

    Protected exclosures from livestock grazing in the context of rangeland management to reverse land degradation. "Studies were carried out to determine the potential of biological recovery of heavy grazed grasslands and shrub land by protecting the area from grazing. "

  • Landscape/sea scape ecosystem management: Yes
  • Climate change impacts Effect of Nbs on CCI Effect measures
    Loss of food production  Positive Dry matter forage production (kg/ha)
  • Approach implemented in the field: Yes
  • Specific location:

    Different districts in the Balochistan Province - Tomagh (Ziarat), Kovak (Kalat), Mangochar (Kalat), Mastung

  • Country: Pakistan
  • Habitat/Biome type: Montane/Alpine |
  • Issue specific term: Community-based (general)


  • Notes on intervention effectivness: Effectiveness determined by comparing to open unprotected grassland Ecosystem "...with better biodiversity of range species" Social "The community also collected some native medicinal plants like Achillea santolina, Matricaria lasiocarpa, Ziziphora clinopodiodes from the protected site."
  • Is the assessment original?: Yes
  • Broadtype of intervention considered: Not applicable
  • Compare effectivness?: No
  • Compared to the non-NBS approach: Not applicable
  • Report greenhouse gas mitigation?: No
  • Impacts on GHG: Not applicable
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on natural ecosystems: Yes
  • Impacts for the ecosystem: Positive
  • Ecosystem measures: Anecdotal reference to increased range species biodiversity
  • Assess outcomes of the intervention on people: Yes
  • Impacts for people: Positive
  • People measures: anecdotal reference to presence of medicinal plants on protected sites, and the fact that the local community specifically, collected them. "The community also collected some native medicinal plants like Achillea santolina, Matricaria lasiocarpa, Ziziphora clinopodiodes from the protected site"
  • Considers economic costs: No
  • Economic appraisal conducted: No
  • Economic appraisal described:
  • Economic costs of alternative considered: No
  • Compared to an alternative: Not reported

Evaluation methodology

  • Type of data: Quantitative
  • Is it experimental: Yes
  • Experimental evalution done: In-situ/field
  • Non-experimental evalution done: Not applicable
  • Study is systematic: