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Agro-pastoral Systems in Cholistan

Farooq Ahmad

Department of Geography, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan


Cholistan is an extension of the Great Indian Desert and covers an area of 26,330 Km2. It lies within the southeast quadrant of Punjab province between 27o 42' and 29o 45' North latitude and 69o 52' and 73o 05' East longitude. The Cholistan desert has extreme summer temperatures (50oC plus) and prolonged droughts rearing is the only age-old profession of the nomad pastoralists of this desert. Pastoral system is characterized by mass migrations of animals and people throughout the year in search of water and forage. The onset of monsoon and the distribution of rainfall mainly dictate the pattern of movement of nomadic herders. Livestock are the main source of their survival and a number of cultural norms are linked with the animals. The major constrains to the nomadic system are very poor quality of drinking water and inadequate feed, both of which are acute during summer.