This post will concentrate on the geography and rainfall in Agro ecological zones of Pakistan. Basically, Pakistan has been divided into ten agro ecological zones based on climate, water availability, land use and physiography.
Major Agro Ecological zones of Pakistan
The major Agro Ecological zones of Pakistan alongwith their locality features, rainfall pattern and geography is given as under.
This zone extends from little south of Hyderabad to Arabian sea. It also includes Badin and Thatta. Most of the soils are saline silty loams. Climate is arid, tropical and marine type with high humidity. Major crops are Rice, Sugarcane, Pulses, Banana. The mean monthly summer rainfall is 75 mm and winter rainfall less than 5 mm. Mangroves are common in this agro ecological zones of Pakistan.
Southern Irrigated Plain
This represents lower indus plain in Sindh extending from Jacobabad to Dadu. Climate is arid and sub tropical. Major crops are Rice, Wheat and Gram. The mean monthly summer rainfall is 18 mm in the north and 45 to 55 mm in the south.
Sandy Desert (a)
This zone includes vast sandy area of Thar-Cholistan. The maximum rainfall is 300 mm. Deserts are major agro ecological zones of Pakistan.
Sandy Desert (b)
This zone includes areas of Thal-Mianwali. The rainfall is between 300 and 350 mm. Gram is the major crop in both deserts with shrubs and grasses used for grazing.
Northern Irrigated Plain (a)
The area between two major rivers (doabs) of the Punjab (Jhelum and Sutlej) come under this zone.The mean annual rainfall is 300 to 500 mm in the east. It is 200 to 300 mm in the southwest. Climate is Sub tropical to sub humid. Major crops are wheat, rice, sugarcane and pulses as well as mangoes and citrus grown here.
Northern Irrigated Plain (b)
This zones includes alluvial valleys of Peshawar and Mardan. Climate is Sub tropical and sub humid. Main crops are sugarcane, wheat, maize and tobacco. The mean monthly rainfall is 20 to 30 mm.
It covers the salt range of Pothowar plateau and the himalayan piedmont plains. Areas include Attock, Rawalpindi, Bannu and Karak. In the North the mean monthly rainfall is 200 mm in summer and 35 to 50 mm in winter.The mean monthly rainfall is 85 mm in summer and 30 to 45 mm in winter. Soils are mostly silt loam and calcareous. Major crops of this tract are groundnut, gram, wheat and millet. Barani lands are very important among the Agro Ecological zones of Pakistan.
This region contains high mountains as found in upper Hazara and Swat. The mean monthly rainfall is 235 mm in summer and 116 mm in winter. Eastern part is humid with mild summer and western part humid with dry summer. Wheat, maize and fruits usually grown.
Northern dry mountains
It includes Gilgit, Baltistan ,Chitral and Dir valleys.The mean monthly rainfall is 25 to 75 mm in winter and 10 to 20 mm in summer. Soils in the valleys are clayey and deep. Sub humid climate, high mountains covered with snow for most part of the year. Wheat, maize and fruits.
Western dry mountains
This mountainous track extends from Bannu (NWFP) To Zhob, Pashin, Quetta and Kalat in Balochistan. Tribal area of Kurram and Waziristan area also fall in this zone.The mean monthly rainfall is 95 mm in summer and 63 to 95 mm in winter. Semi arid climate with mild summer and harsh winter. Wheat, maize and fruits.
Dry Western Plateau
It extends from Chagai to the coastal area of Mekran. The mean monthly rainfall is 37 mm. Climate is arid and tropical. Land mainly used for grazing purposes. Sorghum and melons.
It extends from D.I Khan in NWFP to Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab and Dera Bugti, Kachhi and Nasirabad in Balochistan.The mean monthly rainfall is less than 15 mm. Arid and sub tropical climate characterized by hot summer, mild winter and low humidity. Wheat, millets, gram and rice.
This was the short review of Agro ecological zones of Pakistan. For climatic regions of Pakistan visit this post.