Assessment and impacts of mangroves based camel grazing in coastal Balochistan

 
IMG 0211

Assessment of Camel Grazing, Balochistan Coast © MFF/LUAWMS

Objectives

The main objective of this project is Mangrove based camel grazing assessed in at least three locations in coastal areas of Balochistan and endorsed by forestry department for adoption in forest management. 

Background

The livelihood of coastal community of Makran coast depends upon fisheries, animal husbandry and traditional agriculture. The camel husbandry is a century old tradition which is still in practice. The newly constructed road allowed the camel herders to get access to local and international markets, and received the high prices for their flocks. The utilization of mangroves as camel fodder is not a novel phenomenon in this region; however, the easy access to market and high price for their camel flocks and camel related products which allowed the camel herders to raise more animals, and also create an environment of understanding the importance of mangroves for their livelihood as well as for their future generations to come. There has been no assessment on dependence and impact of camel grazing on mangroves and vice-versa along the Balochistan coast. Such an assessment is needed to formulate rational grazing plans and regulate unsustainable grazing practices. At the same time opportunities to explore market potential of camel milk have not been explored which could help in livelihood betterment of the dependent camel herders.

The loss of mangroves due to camel grazing represents a grave loss of biodiversity and source of income for thousands of coastal fishing communities which traditionally use mangroves as a source of timber and other products on a sustainable basis. The lack of involvement of local communities in land-use planning, issues related to resource ownership and land-tenure rights, the open-access nature of coastal resources, and limited awareness of the benefits and functions of mangroves have all contributed to this problem. The long-term environmental and socio-economic impacts of the widespread mangrove degradation are now gradually emerging, and the urgent need for rehabilitation of the degraded forests and proper management of the mangrove forests. For instance the areas in question previously were listed as a natural disaster free zone but during last decade it was hit by several unexpected cyclones. Therefore the local folks are realizing the importance of these delicate ecosystems, but the stubborn nature of camel herders needed to be addressed rationally through regulation of mangrove based camel grazing practices in order to manage and sustain this vital ecosystem.  

Target beneficiaries

The main expected benefits from this project will be the development of an understanding about the importance of mangrove forests among the camel-herders communities of coastal Balochistan. Therefore, the project will benefit camel herders by increasing their awareness, attitude and realization about the importance of mangrove forests and using them in a sustainable way for their livelihoods. The marketing linkage for camel milk will create potential opportunities for camel owners to earn better livelihoods. The knowledge generated under the project will help the Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department and non-governmental organisations in formulation of participatory grazing plans and regulations for managing impacts of camel grazing on mangroves. The students from Lasbella University will benefit from their improved skills in socio-environmental research.

Outputs

  • Field survey conducted to undertake situation analysis of mangrove based camel grazing in Sonmiani-Dam, Kalmat and Jiwani areas.
  • Establish an effective linkages with camel herders and camel-milk sellers at Karachi.

Accomplishments and challenges

  • An assessment report on impacts of mangroves based camel grazing along Balochistan coast has been documented and shared with Balochistan Forests & Wildlife Department.
  • Based on the assessment report a paper title, ‘The Curious Case of Mangroves Forest at the Sonmiani bay Area, Lasbela District, Pakistan: A review was published in Lasbela. Uni. J. Sci. Tech. 2014, vol.3, pp. 61-74.
  • An awareness raising seminar about importance of mangroves and impacts of irrational camel grazing on coastal ecosystem was organised at the Lasbella University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences.
  • The complicated fund releasing system of the university were hurdles to draw these funds in time which eventually resulted in delayed project implementation.

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

The project will focus on mangrove camel-grazing of Sonmiani-Dam, Kalmat and Jiwani areas with special reference to economic status of camel-herders and impacts of camel grazing on mangroves. Similarly the status of female folks of camel herders will also be highlighted from social status and the role they can play in the upbringing their community. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to address the camel grazing of mangrove forest and educating the camel herders about the negative impact of over grazing on their local environment. Sustainable grazing of mangroves will contribute to health of mangrove ecosystem and will sustain their role in Carbon sequestration.

The social structure of camel herders is unique in its structure, because it is bases on equal participation of male and female members of a family. The male member of camel herder’s are involved in grazing practices on the other hand the women folks are carried out the milking of she-camels and also taking care of new borne baby-camels. Therefore, the question of gender inequality which is prevailing in different parts of Pakistan is less obvious in the coastal Balochistan. Even the female folks of fishermen are also equally participating in their daily life. It is because the Baloch societies of coastal areas are comparatively liberal in their attitude compared with their mainland cousins. Because of attitude of acceptance and liberal from core, the grantee and his team has a firm believe that it is easy to communicate with the camel folks of the areas in question through meetings, awareness raising session. The project will use media and publications to disseminated project findings to relevant stakeholders.

Lessons Learned

  • The enormousness of project area (more than 600 km) and fragile law and order situation demanded extraordinary preparedness and prior permissions from different governmental institutions that resulted into inevitable delays in project implementation.
  • There is no previous tradition of selling camel milk by camel herders, hence mobilising them to adopt the new practices may be challenging. The milk production is low and consumed at household level.
  • The tough schedule of academic and research activities at university were the main constraints to finish the project in time.

Project Facts

Country

Location

Coastal areas of Balochistan, Pakistan

Topic

Duration

25th Dec 2014 to 25th Dec 2015

MFF Grant Amount

PKR 999,500

Co-financing Partner

Forest Department, Government of Balochistan

Implementing Partner

Dr. Abdul Hameed Baloch

Assistant Professor (TTS),

Lasbela University of Agriculture, Water and Marine Sciences

Uthal, Lasbela, Balochistan, 90150 Pakistan

Tel.: 0333-221-8439

Share This