Ecological zones of Balochistan province of Pakistan
The ecological zones already presented in the literature are based on the agronomic prcatices, temperature, rainfall etc. In the present study the ecological zones were sketched on the basis of the local penology, type and production systems of livestock, temperature, rainfall etc. It was revealed that there are six ecological zones for livestock rather than four revealed by literature (Source: National Master Agricultural Research Plan, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council).
The following ecological zones were revealed in the province.
1. Suleiman Mountainous Region (SMR)
This region includes Dera Bugti, Kohlu, Barkhan, part of Loralai and Zhob, Musakhail and Sherani districts of the province. The Suleiman mountain series is located south to north and bordering between Punjab and Balochistan province. The region has rich culture and is the historic homeland of Pashtoon. The climate of the region is mild in summer because of the high altitude and rains in monsoon time. The temperature reaches to 32 C° in summer and drops below zero in winter. Some parts, especially the peaks of the mountains are very cold in winter. The annual precipitation ranges from 300-600 mm per year and the main source of rain is monsoon (GOB, 1999). Some areas receive snow and rains in winter also.
The SMR is the home tract of a wide plant biodiversity and the the vegetation of the region comprises trees like Zizyphus nummolaria (Karkana), Ziz. mauritiana (ber), Z. sativa (Helani), Oleao ferruginea (Showan), Oleao officinalus (showan), pistacia cabulica (wanna), tamarix indica (Ghaz), Prunus eburnean (Zarga, zangli badam) and salvadora oleoides (pilu or perpegh). Bushes of the regions are as fallowing. Haloxylon recurvum (Ghelmi), nannorhops ritchieana (Mazari or Pish), Caragana ambigua (makhie), alhagi camelorum, (Aghzai or Tindan) and periploca aphylla (Barar). The grasses include stipa capillata (Saba), cocculus leæba (Parwatgi), sorghum halepense (Barawa), allium sphærocephalum (khokhae) and Atriplex canescens (sargarae). Livestock agriculture is the centuries old occupation of the inhabitants. The region has wide biodiversity of livestock species and breeds. The major livestock breeds are as following.
Camel; Kohi, cattle; Kohi-Suleiman or Lohani, donkey; Shinghari and Sperki or Pidie, horse; Balochi, sheep; Kakari, Musakhaili, Kajjale and Bybrik and goat; Kohi Suleimani. The tribes of the region are Kakar, Sherani, Mandokhail, Babar, Harifal, Musakhail, Zamari, Marghzani, Essot, Jaffar, Buzdar, Syed, Kethran, Hasni, Mari, Zarkoon and Bugti.
2. Northern highlands (NHL)
This region includes hitoric Kakar Khurasan, Loralai, Zirat, Zhob, Pishin, Qillaabdullah and Quetta vallies. The region falls in the north of the province bordering Afghanistan. The area has very cold winter usually dry. The summers had been mild but some herders beleive that the temperature has been increased during the last few years. This region is severely affected and the rangelands are degraded due to many reasons, i.e. influx of Afghan Migrants, over population, deforestation and the long prevailed drought (1994-2004). The climate of the region is mild in summer because of the high altitude and some eastern part of the region receives rains in monsoon time. The temperature reaches to 30 C° in summer and drops below zero in winter. The region is the coldest region of the province. The annual precipitation ranges from 250-600 mm per anum and mostly receives in winter in form of snow (GOB, 1999).
the major vegetation of the region comprises trees like Zizyphus nummolaria, Oleao ferruginea, Oleao officinalus, pistacia cabulica, Prunus eburnean, Tamarax aphylla, Juniporis excels and Pinus Geranandiana. The bushes are the major feed of camel and comprises of Haloxylon recurvum, nannorhops ritchieana, Caragana ambigua, alhagi camelorum, and periploca aphylla. The grasses include stipa capillata, cocculus leæba, sorghum halepense, allium sphærocephalum, and Atriplex canescens. The region has wide livestock biodiversity of livestock species and breeds. The major livestock breeds are, camel; Raigi, cattle; Kohi Suleimani, donkey; Shinghari and Sperki or Pidie, sheep; Kakari, Dumeri or Hernai, Gosalli or Kajalle, and goat; Khurasani and Kohi Suleimani. The tribes of the region are Kakar, Pani, Achakzai, Tareen, Syed, Ghilzai, and Barraich.
3. Central Brahvi Highlands (CBH)
This region comprises Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar, mountainous part of Dhadar and Awaran districts of Balochistan province. The region is characterized by high and arid mountains with very hot summers and very cold winters. The temperature may reach to 49 C° in summer and fall below zero in winter. The rainfall of the region is low and erratic (100-200 mm per year) (GOB, 1999). The vegetation of the region consists of Tamarix, Halloxylon grifithii, Alhaji camelorum, Sacharum revanae, Chrysopogon aucheri, C. mantanus, C. schoenanthus, Cenchrus ciliaris and Pannisetum orientale. The livestock breeds of the region are Brahvi camel, Mangeli sheep and Lehri goat. The tribes of the region are Maingul, Samalani, Zehri, Raesani, Bangulzai, Lehri, Rakhshani, Bezenjo, Bajoi, Lango, Muhammad Shahi, Dehwar, Kurd, shahwani, Gichki, Mirwani, Muhammad Hasani and Gurgnari.
4. Kachhi Basin Region
This region comprises of Sibi, part of Dhadar, Jaffarabad, Naseerababd, Lehri and Jhal Magsi locale of the province. The region is plain area, formed of alluvial soil and slopes from north to south with an elevation of about 50 to 100 meters above sea level. The climate of the region is hot and becomes extremely hot and humid in summer. The harshness of summer is prolonged over the months of May, June, July, August, September, and October. It is mildly hot in April. Summer begins from mid March and lasts to the end of October. In winters the weather is pleasant all over the district. It lasts from December to January. The months of April, November and February are pleasant. The humidity is highest in summer, particularly in the area adjacent to the Pat feeder canal, where rice cultivation takes place. The type of vegetation in the region includes Spicigra (Kandi), Capparis Aphylla (Kirar), Salvadora Olevides (Khabbar), Sisyphus jujuba (Bari) and Calotropis Gi Gantea (Ak). The breeds of livestock are the famous Bhagnari cattle, Berberi goat, Balochi sheep and Aseel chicken. The tribes of the region, in the north there are Pani and Kakar Pashtoon tribes and in the south is Rind, Lehri, Somro, Bugti, Mari, Khoso, Jamali, Jatoi and Resai.
5. Chaghai Kharan Desert (CKD)
Chaghai Kharan is one of the famous ecological zones of the country and comprises of the districts Chaghai, Kharan, Noshki, Washuk and part of Makran. The region is unique of its kind and mostly comprised of disserted plains, steppe and mountainous desert. The region is located in the extreme west of Pakistan bound on the north by the desert region (Raig) of Afghanistan. The region is hyper dry and receives very less precipitation in winter and spring from the Mediterranean winds and very rare rains in the summer. The temperature of the region crosses the digit of 40 in the months of June, July and August. The summers are very hotter with minimum rainfall, which worsen the situation more. The region is home tract of many herbal plants and bushes which are being use for grazing of livestock especially camel and goat since unknown times. The speedy deforestation of those bushes, long drought and over grazing had adverse the condition of the region and its ecological landscape diversity is under threat.
The major vegetation includes tree species like Khanjak, (Pistecia Khanjak), Ghaz (Tamarix Articula), shrub like Taghaz (Haloxylon Amodendron), bushes like Hashwarg (Rhozya Stricta), Pog (Calegnum Polygonaides) Cotor (Stockcia Brohinca), Lara (Salsola Kali), Kandar (Alhogi Camelarum), Barshonk, Karwankush, Narronk (Salsola Arbuscula), Tusso (Gaillaina Aucheri) and grasses like Mughair (Atriplex Dimprphostegium), Kash (Sacchorum Siliare), Righith (Suoeda Monica) Shanaluk (Allium Rubellum). The breeds of the region are Kharani camel, Khurasani and Morak goat and Rakhshani sheep. The tribes of the region are Badeni, Muhammad Hasani, Maingul, Jamaldini, Sasoli, Sanjrai, Nothezi, Nausherwani, Malangzai, Siafad, Faqirzai and Hajizai.
6. Balochistan Coastal Region (BCR)
The region is comprised of Lasbella and Makran locale of the region. The climate of the region is hot and humid. The temperature reaches to 40 °C in summer and reaches to 6 °C in winter. The annual rainfall is very low and precipitates about 125 mm per year.
The extensive plains have vast area of sparse vegetation which includes plants species like Salsola sp., Panicum antidotale, Alerupus repens, A. macrstachyus, Cnechrus ciliaris, C. pennisetiformis, C. religerus, C. biflrus besides there are Prosopis cineraria, Salvadora oleoides, Capparis aphylla, Zizyphus sp and Prosopis juliflora. The breeds of the region are Lassi camel and Balochi sheep. The tribes of the region are Lassi, Bizenjo, Jam, Somro, Khoso and Jamali.