Published On: Tue, Sep 29th, 2015

How climate change has endangered Thar Desert’s agriculture

Ghulam Murtaza Lashari

MITHI, THARPARKAR:

Tharparkar district has been witnessing a drought-like situation since years but in 2015, despite rains, miseries of its inhabitants could not be minimised.

For Hajran, a 62-year-old widow, who is a resident of Seengario village of district Tharparkar, droughts are not new. She has been facing them for years. However, this monsoon she was surprised that in spite of rains, agriculture could not flourish in the region.

“Even after rain there are no grass, fodder as well as crops,” she says. “Continuous winds proved to be disastrous for us.”

The situation has led many villagers leave the rural community and temporarily migrate towards barrage areas, as there is no possibility of shower this monsoon again.

“Look, the entire village is empty, but hope is still alive,”she says.

Since water is scarce, Hajran, like many other women, has to travel three to four kilometres to another village to get water from the well.

“In extreme dry weather we have to go even farther to fetch water,”she says, adding due to deforestation, there is no shade where one can be safe from the scorching sun.”

Cartoon

Tharis eat locally-grown vegetables throughout the year but inadequate rainfall does not help the residents much to boost their production. This has led to malnutrition among both children and mothers.

Nadeem Mirbahar, member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature says climate change is increasing the precedence of droughts in Pakistan, causing regional tree die-off events and contributing to the global reduction of the carbon sink efficiency of forests.

"Climate change is increasing the precedence of droughts in Pakistan, causing regional tree die-off events and contributing to the global reduction of the carbon sink efficiency of forests"- Nadeem Mirbahar of IUCN

“Climate change is increasing the precedence of droughts in Pakistan, causing regional tree die-off events and contributing to the global reduction of the carbon sink efficiency of forests”- Nadeem Mirbahar of IUCN

Forest tree species have consistently altered their crown leaf structures, with increased percentages of defoliation in the drier parts of their distributions in response to increased water shortage.

“We found defoliation trends are paralleled by significant increases in tree mortality rates in drier areas,” he says. “It seems that severe drought impacts are associated with sudden changes in insect and fungal defoliation dynamics, creating long-term disruptive effects of drought on food.”

Drought has always been a normal recurrent event in arid and semi-arid lands but now situation is being witnessed on a regular basis.

Drought has always been a normal recurrent event in arid and semi-arid lands but now situation is being witnessed on a regular basis.

Drought has always been a normal recurrent event in arid and semi-arid lands but now situation is being witnessed on a regular basis.

“Shortage of rainfall — a serious climate change indicator – has caused malnutrition and other health disparities in Tharparkar,” says Bharoo Mal, a local environmentalist.

Recently, the International Energy Agency warned about global trends in the climate change, urging world leaders to ameliorate their pledges on reducing emissions.

Climate change if not controlled adequately in time would lead to serious catastrophe, a thing Thar has been experiencing for years.

This article has been published in arrangement with NCEJ as part of its training in Tharpakar on “Reporting impacts of climate change on communities”

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  1. Very nice and informative.. Thanks to G.M. Lashari for sharing this with us. We do pray for the people of Tharparkar.

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