Soil erosion in the arid zone of Dadu- Adversity of climate Change

Over the years the people of Dadu one of the disaster-prone regions of Sindh have been facing climate change hardships both in the shape of drought and flesh flood devastation.

The arid zone of district Dadu adjacent to Taluka Johi famously known as Kachho (place in the armpit of mountains) holds more than 50% population of Taluka.

Rain agriculture supports as foremost livelihood source of the arid zone along with livestock rearing, rope making, small enterprises, and skilled and non-skilled labor, around 60% of agricultural land nurtures by the rainwater and torrential rivers.

The soil of Kachho is very fertile producing varied yields without using fertilizer, arid agricultural outputs consider the key sources of household income, and advancing agro-based trade activities across the district also contribute to local employment.

Thousands of cusec water drains out from the range of Kheerthar Mountains spread over to the Baluchistan catchment area by the different torrential rivers.

River Naien Gaaj is a major and famous torrential river having the capacity to discharge thousands of cusec water exceeded in monsoon. The torrential water cultivates hardly 30-40% cropland due to non-existence of water storage points and ineffective traditional irrigation system, resultantly wild torrent water speedily moves to last destiny Manchar with damaging cropland, community infrastructure and cut-off villages from Taluka headquarter leaving behind many socio-economic challenges for the poor communities.

Extensive dry spells and flash floods created adverse effects on the socio-economic and environmental lives of the local community and ecosystem. The speedy wild torrent water has continuously affected the soil surface, according to local experts around 30-35 thousand Acers cropland of arid zone completely turned into infertile due to soil erosion and it continues

In drought phases, unawareness and financial pressures compelled local residents to auction precious trees against small bucks to meet survival needs, later on wood-cutting become organized heinous trade in the arid zone under the blessings of government administration producing unrepeatable loss to the local environment.

The nonstop deforestation also heightened problems of soil erosion and environmental vulnerability. Massive resources and technical proficiency require rehabilitating affected soil that is unaffordable for financially down smallholders of the arid zone.

Thousands of vulnerable families of arid zone Kachho bear the socio-economic and environmental costs of soil erosion by declined indigenous livelihood sources, migration to other areas, unemployment, changing forefather’s occupation, and decreasing cropland productivity.

This situation further increased inequality and vulnerability of most weakened segments of society especially women, children, people with disability, and old people. Soil erosion has also created adverse environmental impacts by soil aridity, downing water reservoirs, and decreasing wildlife shelter, and fodder.

Insufficient Knowledge and awareness made related stakeholders unconcerned about the many-sided negative impacts of soil erosion.

From the public and private sector, neither any doable and cost-effective soil erosion eradication initiative has been piloted nor a comprehensive study conducted that may provide logically proven solutions for soil erosion reduction from an environmental protection perspective.

The disaster-troubled people of Kachho are not fully aware of the correlation between climate change and adverse impacts of soil erosion on agro-based livelihood and ecosystem.

It seems problems that failed to get placed on the high priority agenda of public-private sectors may lead to providing environmental justice to the disaster-affected people.

If any concrete initiative takes place, that would be the first-ever endeavor to logically address soil erosion issue on a larger scale by policy-level advocacy campaign based on the study findings to address soil erosion and strengthen rain- agriculture for sustaining the livelihood of a vulnerable community.

Concerned provincial agriculture department and CSOs working on climate change must be come-up with an integrated strategy aimed to a logical understanding of growing soil erosion issues, crop patterns in the context of environmental changes, and modernizing torrential water irrigation system in relation to restoring livelihood activities