Environment and Biodiversity

Under the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act 1997, Section 2(x), the term “environment” is defined to mean air, water, land, and layers of the atmosphere; living organisms and inorganic matter; the ecosystem and ecological relationships; buildings, structures, roads, facilities, and works; all social and economic conditions affecting community life; and the interrelationship between any of these elements.

Wide variations in physical features and climate have produced diverse landscapes, ecosystems, and habitats that are important to the national and global heritage. There are at least 1,750 known plant species and a large variety of animals, a number of which are endemic to Balochistan.[1]

The ecosystems of Balochistan are an expression of the harsh and demanding climate of the province (refer to the ecological zones map below). They have evolved to meet these conditions and to persist during times of change. Overgrazing, drought, and human disturbances cause severe degradation of rangelands in Balochistan. The degradation processes of rangelands include changes in composition of desirable floral species, decrease in rangeland biodiversity and productivity, reduction of perennial plant cover, and soil erosion. Range and Forestry Research Programme of Arid Zone Research Center, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, is conducting research to better understand the vegetation dynamics and the improvement potential of arid and semi arid ranges of Balochistan. This Research Center has introduced new and exotic perennial drought and cold tolerant shrubs in the province. Some of these new shrubs are the self-regenerating type and hence, are helpful in stopping the process of degeneration.

Figure 1.23 Ecological Zones of Balochistan[2]

[1] Balochistan Conservation Strategy by IUCN

[2] Source, Balochistan Conservation Strategy by IUCN