Drylands in southern Pakistan are home to communities living in poverty and depending on livestock rearing for their livelihood. The subsistence agriculture is losing its importance under the effects of climate change i.e. uncertain rainfall and very low productivity. Due to increasing population of livestock, the pressure on silvo-pastures is increasing resulting in degradation of natural resources and loss of soil fertility, a fact that adversely affects the livelihood of communities. The Farm Forestry Support Project (FFSP) of the Intercooperation (IC) and Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation (SDC), initiated rehabilitation work in 2010 in extreme dry region of Karak using the silvo-pastoral system with hillside ditches and sand dune stabilization techniques. The objective was harvest, conserve and use rain water for recovering vegetation and increase productivity of the area with minimum cost and hence support livelihoods. The activity was carried out with participation of civil society organizations and farmers’ associations.
The results recorded in 2016 showed a profuse plant growth in terms of trees, shrubs and grasses with a potential to provide timber, fuel wood and fodder for livestock. Maximum harvesting of rainwater and conservation of moisture also resulted in growth of natural grasses and shrubs. Within a short period of 5 years, plant growth in height and diameter of 6 meters and 20 centimeters respectively was recorded. The average vegetation cover of 45% and increase in soil organic mater and nitrogen content was also recorded. All this happened with a minimum cost of US$ 82 per hectare. The rejuvenation of wells in few cases was an additional positive affect of the activity. On the other hand, an annual income of US$ 735 per hectare from Saccharum spontaneum planted in sand dunes was a real benefit to farmers against the other land-uses in dry sand dunes.