Rangeland Research Institute (RRI)

The entire range ecosystem in the country, regardless of ecological zone, is undergoing drastic impoverishment as a consequence of inappropriate human actions. High priorities for mono-cultural agro-ecosystem have altered the natural ecosystem and decreased biological diversity. Deforestation is taking away 43000 ha of land annually. Consequently, our biggest natural resource is deteriorating at an alarming pace. Recognizing the importance of this wild land resource and its scientific management, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) desired to include Forage Research Program amongst the first priority programs for the year 1974-75. A national project entitled “Strengthening of Agriculture Research Capabilities in Pakistan” was approved by ECNEC, which attached high priority to forages and fodder second only to wheat. A five-year “National Forage and Fodder Research Program” was thus launched during July 1975 with an estimated cost of PRs. 24.94 million including foreign exchange component of PRs. 6.95 million. After completion of the first five years, the project was extended from year to year basis. Later, realizing the importance of rangelands in national economy, PARC established Rangeland Research Institute on March 7, 1991 by merging 7 projects related to Range Management and Forestry at NARC.

Rangelands are the natural ecosystems that have enormous cultural ecological and economic importance. Nation derives a number of products out of this natural resource through negligible input. The most immediate, obvious and principal product of rangelands is the livestock that meets the major share of protein requirements of the population of the country. Livestock sector largely depend on range areas to meet its feed requirements since these provide 60 percent of feed for sheep and goats, about 40 percent for horses, donkeys and camels and only 5 percent for the cattle and buffaloes. About 11 percent of the total foreign exchange earning of the country comes from livestock products like wool, carpets, leather, hides and skins. Farmers have more than 70 percent-primarily produced livestock in the country. Livestock having a share of 60.07 percent in agriculture and 11.53 percent in GDP, achieved a growth of 3.06 percent. Rangelands occupy more than 50% area of the country has been categorized as Rangeland.  Almost 48 m. ha of these rangelands are located in arid and semi-aid areas of the country. Rangelands yield not only forages for livestock but also produce substantial fuel wood, building material, medicinal and food plants requirements of the country.

In addition, Rangelands in the mountains and plateaus of the western and northwestern parts of the country are important watersheds for a number of big dams and reservoirs in the Indus basin. The total land area of Pakistan is 87.98 m ha and area covered by forests is nearly 4.4 m ha (4.96%) compared to required level of 25%, considered crucial for sustainable economic development of any country. While forestry sector having share of 2.10 percent in agriculture and 0.40 percent in GDP, grew by 1.42 percent.  Deforestation and forest degradation contributes in increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. Forest vegetation and soil are the important sink for carbon and play a key part in mitigation of Climate change by its proper management.