Life is precious, Don't let it be deserted

people bring suffering to the land and the land returns its suffering to the people

Water is a blessing of Allah, advocate rainwater harvesting

Desertification is both the cause and consequence of poverty

Land degradation is a serious threat to local livelihood and it forces people to migrate

Fight against desertification is a fight against poverty

Each drop of water counts! Preserve this precious resource

Desertification turns our productive land in to non-productive

Save this land which feeds us

Just a single inch of soil can take centuries to build

Desertification is one of the major cause of poverty

Sustainable Land Management Programme

Pakistan occupies a land area of 888,000 km2. Eighty percent of its land is arid and semi-arid, 12% is sub-humid, and 8% is humid. Forest covers only around 5% of its territory. The country has a fast growing human population, currently around 180 million people; over 60% of them depend on agriculture to support their livelihoods. Over 50% of the country is under some type of agricultural land use. Around 300,000 km2 are used as rangelands and 200,000 km2 are croplands of which only 160,000 km2 are irrigated. Most of Pakistanís rural population survives on fragile rain-fed lands prone to land degradation, desertification, drought, floods, and severe climate change impacts.


Rural landscapes across the country are experiencing moderate to severe soil erosion, deforestation, overgrazing, depleted ground water reserves, reduced surface water quantity and quality, salinity, reduced soil fertility, and the loss of biodiversity. All of these causes are linked to unsustainable land use practices. Many endemic plant and animal species of global significance are threatened due to unsustainable and competing natural resource uses. Land degradation is undermining ecosystem functions and services and reducing the household income of rural people in many parts of the country. Nearly 40% of people inhabiting dryland areas now live below the poverty line. Land degradation and desertification are upsetting traditional land management practices with forced migrations resulting in conflicts between nomadic and sedentary populations competing for limited water resources and grazing lands. In addition, climate change and population growth have emerged as the major drivers of large-scale land degradation, posing great threats to food and economic security in the country.


Pakistan is faced with daunting challenges of combating desertification. The drylands of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Punjab are facing increased land degradation and desertification, being severely affected by climate change impacts and improper land use practices. Poverty, illiteracy, water scarcity, moving sand dunes, hill torrents, flash floods, subsistence rain-fed agriculture and livestock-based economy are distinctive features of dryland ecosystems in Pakistan. Underground water resources in the western dry mountains of Sindh and Balochistan are shrinking due to over-exploitation of aquifers. Irrigated areas are plagued with water logging, salinity and sodicity, reducing the productive capacity of soils and consequently leading to loss of soil fertility, crop yields, and agro-biodiversity.


In order to address the challenges of land degradation and desertification, the Government of Pakistan has launched a SML MAPSustainable Land Management Programme (SLMP) with the financial support of Federal, and provincial governments of Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Global Environment Facility (GEF) to achieve the long-term goal of combating land degradation and desertification in Pakistan. The primary objective of the SLMP is "to promote sustainable management of land and natural resources in the arid and semi-arid regions of Pakistan in order to restore degraded ecosystems and their essential services, reduce poverty, and increase resilience to climate change".


The Programme focuses on demonstrating SLM practices in 14 dryland districts of four provinces (Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh) of Pakistan considered most vulnerable to land degradation and desertification. The SLM Programme districts are shown on the map.