BIODIVERSITY OF PAKISTAN
Pakistan has 225 Protected Areas (PAs) 14 national parks, 99 wildlife sanctuaries, and 96 game reserves. It is a world of rapidly shrinking wetlands, some of them of international significance, of wondrous juniper forests, minute life forms which buzz their way to a magical existence, of stunning mountains, and much more.
Pakistan covers a number of the world’s ecoregions, ranging from the mangrove forests stretching from the Arabian Sea to the towering mountains of the western Himalayas, Hindukush and Karakoram.
Biography:The country lies at the western end of the South Asian subcontinent, and its flora and fauna are composed of a blend of Palearctic and Indomalayan elements, with some groups also containing forms from the Ethiopian region.
Ecological zonesPakistan is divided into 9 major ecological zones.
Critical EcosystemsUnder the Global 200, ecosystems have been ranked to carry out conservation through comparative analysis. It covers all habitats on the land masses and in the ocean. The Earth has been divided into 238 ecoregions, by the United Nation, the National Geographic Society with WWF. Out of them 5 are in Pakistan. The Global ecoregions of Pakistan are:
About 5,500 – 6,000 ( Nasir and Ali 1970) species of vascular plants have been recorded in Pakistan including both native and introduced species. The flora included elements of the 6 phytogeographic regions. 4 monotypic genera of flowering plants and around 400 (7.8%) species are endemic to Pakistan.
Almost 80% of the endemics are found in the northern and western mountains (Ali and Qaiser,1986). The Kashmir Himalayas are identified as a global centre of plant diversity and endemism. Families with more than 20 recorded endemics are Papilionaceae(57 species), Compositae (49), Umbelliferae (34), Poaceae (32) and Brassicaceae (20).
MammalsAround 174 mammal species have been reported in Pakistan. Out of these, there are atleast 3 endemic species and a number of endemic and near endemic sub-species (Biodiversity Action Plan for Pakistan, WWF – P, IUCN – P and GoP).
Birds668 bird species have been recorded in Pakistan. Out of them, 375 were recorded as breeding ( Roberts, Z.B.Mirza). Breeding birds are a mixture of Palearctic and Indomalayan forms ( 1/3rd) and the occurrence of many species at one or the other geographical limits of their range shows the diverse origins of the avifauna.
The Sulaiman Range, the HinduKush, and the Himalayas in the NWFP and Azad Kashmir comprise part of the Western Himalayan Endemic Bird Area; this is the global centre of bird endemism. The Indus Valley wetlands are the second area of endemism.
Reptiles/ AmphibiansAround 177 species, being a blend of Palearctic and Indomalayan forms. Out of the total 14 species of turtles, 90 of lizards and 65 of snakes have been reported. While 13 species are believed to be endemic.
Fish/ InvertebratesPakistan has 198 native and introduced freshwater fish species. The fish fauna is predominately south Asian and with some west Asian and high asian elements. Fish species diversity is highest in the Indus river plains and in adjacent hill ranges (Kirthar Range), and in the Himalayan foothills in Hazara, Malakand, Swat and Peshawar. Diversity is lowest in the mountain zone of the northern mountains and arid parts of north-west Baluchistan.There are 29 endemic species.
Threats to Biodiversity:Deforestation:
Soil Erosion & Desertification: