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The Cholistan Desert, located in southern Punjab Province (Pakistan), occupies between latitudes 27o 42’ and 29 o 45’ north and longitudes 69o 52 and 75o 24’ east having diverse land forms. This sandy desert, spreading over an area of 26000 km2 support a population of 110000 nomads, which exclusively depend upon livestock rearing for their livelihood. Each of the landforms in this desert supports distinctive plant species. The flora so far has been identified includes 128 plant species belonging to 34 families. There are about 64 plant species which are medicinally important and are extensively being used by the local people to cure their infectious and non-infectious diseases. The documented fauna of the area includes 21 mammals, 128 birds and 40 amphibian/reptiles. The varied climate and topography of Cholistan Desert in combination with heavy grazing pressure, vegetation cutting for fuel wood, fencing and other domestic uses have all contributed a decrease in its biodiversity.

                                The biodiversity in the Cholistan Desert is intimately associated with the diversity of habitats. Each landform in the Cholistan Desert support distinctive plants and animals with their respective niches, which are endemic to this region. Due to deforestation, habitat change/fragmentation, over-exploitation and other human impacts, the Cholistan desert is experiencing the most rapid extinction rate of different floral and faunal species. Biodiversity of the Cholistan desert has immense potential value to human being. Some species might be used as our future food supplies or medicines. With the destruction of natural ecosystems we may lose forever the valuable species. Therefore, it is the necessity of the time to establish a Biodiversity Park in the Cholistan desert that will help in:

  1. To protect and enhance the natural heritage and ecological integrity of the Cholistan desert – targeting priority species and biodiversity generally
  2. Conservation/multiplication of rare, threatened and endangered species of the area under ex-situ conditions
  3. To create environmental awareness and natural education to students tourists and biodiversity lovers.
  4. To provide natural environment for practical research to biodiversity research scholars/interested public.

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