Land Degradation

Pakistan is predominantly an arid to semi-arid country with 68 m. ha of land lying in regions where the annual rainfall is less than 300 mm. One - fourth of the country?s land area, which is suitable for intensive agriculture, is threatened by wind and water erosion, salinity/sodicity, water-logging, flooding and loss of organic matter. The important driving forces of land degradation in Pakistan are intensive agriculture, unsustainable cropping pattern, unchecked use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, limited land resources and population increase, a consequence of which is poverty.

The key issues related to desertification in Pakistan include water erosion, wind erosion, depletion of soil fertility, deforestation, livestock grazing pressure, loss of biodiversity, water-logging and salinity, drought and flooding and socio-economic constraints. About 11 million hectares are affected by water erosion and 3-5 million hectares by wind erosion. The amount of soil removed by wind is about 28% of total soil loss. Due to deforestation, forest cover is shrinking by 3.1% and woody biomass by 5% annually (7000-9000 ha taken away annually). Free grazing of livestock, aridity and prolonged drought in arid lands have affected the biodiversity in various regions. About 15.5 million ha are affected by water-logging and 5.0 million ha by salinity/sodicity. Recent drought has affected 2.2 million people and 7.2 million livestock

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