The Range Management Branch was started in the Pakistan Forest Institute in 1965. Research for improving rangeland in the country is being conducted in it since its inception. The main areas of research are development of scientific range management techniques in different ecological zones. It is also responsible for teaching range management to M.Sc. and B.Sc. classes. Presently it consists of a Range Management Officer, an Assistant Silviculturist, two Forest Rangers and three Foresters.
A number of range surveys and research studies of applied nature on different aspects of rangeland management have been conducted by the Branch. The salient results are given below:
Range surveys: The area, classification status and improvement potential of all the rangelands in the country were determined. The contribution of rangelands toward GNP was estimated at 9 percent. Appropriate rangeland management activities were recommended for different rangelands based on detailed and scientific studies of clipping intensities, grazing management, range vegetation analysis and carrying capacity. These studies have suggested that forage production in Thal and elsewhere could be enhanced 6 times the present level of production by applying the appropriate range management techniques.
Range improvement: Detailed evaluation of different improvement activities in various localities has been carried out to assess their effects on quality and quantity of forages. These activities among others, include, seeding/reseeding, enclosure, fertilization and introduction of high yielding nutritious forage species. The seeding studies indicated that flats area in Thal were suitable for sowing Cenchrus ciliaris. Similarly, sand dunes in Thal could be successfully planted with Cenchrus ciliaris, Elionurus hirsustus and Zizyphus mauritiana. Enclosure studies indicated that forage production could be enhanced 3.7 times in alpine area and by 7 times in sub-tropical humid zone. The studies on application of chemical fertilization show that forage production can be enhanced two times in sub-tropical humid zone and 1.6 times in sub-alpine and temperate zones.
Selection of forage and fodder species: Based on their performance, a number of high yielding and nutritious forage species have been recommended for seeding and interseeding in different localities.
Range nutrition: A number of local and exotic forage species have been chemically analysed to assess their nutritive values.
Silvo-pastoral system: Intercropping of Cenchrus ciliaris and Eucalyptus camaldulensis was successfully carried out in degraded range type of Jamrud area. It was found to be both feasible and economical for the farmers.
Germplasm multiplication: About 125 indigenous and exotic forage and fodder species and ecotypes are being grown in a 12 ha nursery at Pakistan Forest Institute, Peshawar About 150 kg seed is produced every year and supplied to the different agencies for further testing and multiplication.