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«DIPLOMA THESIS Linking Climate Change with Food Security in the highlands of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Northwest Pakistan Presented by: Martin Kienzler ...»

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before the onset of winter rains and is the driest month of the year in the monsoon influenced areas. Here monthly precipitation amounts reach up to 350 mm during the summer months (figure 3.3). In the regions which are not reached by summer monsoon rains July is the hottest month and summers mark the dry season with less than 30 mm per month. (Xue & Yanai, 2005; Sarfaraz, 2007; Syed, 2011; Pant & Rupa Kumar, 1997) The strength of summer monsoon and with it the amount of summer precipitation varies on an annual scale. Strong relations exist with El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the behavior of Walker and Hadley cells. During a warm ENSO event (El Niño) the region of warmer sea surface temperatures of the Tropical Pacific and hence high precipitation amounts shifts eastwards. As a consequence of this South Asia ly in the subsiding branch of the Walker circulation, which shifts eastward, too. The result is reduced rainfall in summer. On the other hand La Niña leads to an intensification of the Indian monsoon, so monsoon rains reach Pakistan before they could have been weakened. Increased precipitation is the result, often causing floods. For example La Niña was made responsible for the extreme floods in Pakistan in summer 2010 and 2011.

But anyway ENSO is not the only determining factor of the Indian summer monsoon and its influence is supposed to have weakened in recent decades (Rashid, 2004; Syed, 2011; Dobler & Ahrens, 2011).

As the Indian summer monsoon is the biggest contributor to annual rainfall over South Asia, it is one of the most important factors regarding agriculture and food security. So “the year-to-year variations of the long-term monsoon precipitation over the Indian region are strongly correlated with food production over the region” Syed (2011). The reason for this is that “agricultural production is highly sensitive to rainfall variations, both the amount and its distribution over space and time” (Pant & Rupa Kumar, 1997).

Regional climate differentiation Generally Pakistan is part of the subtropics. But the climate of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa varies strongly between the different parts of the region on a small scale, which is mainly due to its topography. According to the agro-climatic classification drawn by Chaudhry & Rasul (2004) there is a regular pattern of climatic zones, ranging from “arid” in the farthest South over “dry semi-arid” and “wet semi-arid” to a longitudinal monsoon belt in central KP, which shows a “sub-humid” and in some places even “humid” climate. Going further north the climatic regime is receding again continuously to “semi-arid” and “arid” climates.

The northwestern part is located outside the influence of Indian summer monsoon and receives most of its moderate precipitation from frontal cloud bands during the winter months. The character of climate is almost mediterranean, with precipitation being variable in summer and at a maximum during winter and spring. Thereby precipitation amounts vary from 200 mm in the North up to 600 mm in the South. Climate is typically continental with high temperature variations. Mean annual temperatures in the valleys are around 16◦ C (Chitral 15,9◦ C). According to the Koeppen-Geiger climate classification the climate could be classified as Csa (“Warm Mediterranean”) in the valleys and as Dsc

Chapter 3. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - Study Area

(“Cool Continental”) in the high mountain ranges (Peel et al., 2007).

The climate of the central part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Dir, Swat and Hazara Division) is subhumid to humid and more typical of the Indian subcontinent. It is both influenced by a short but strong summer monsoon and by winter cloud bands, the combination of both providing a bimodal precipitation regime resulting in high annual precipitation amounts (e.g. Dir 1469 mm, Balakot 1607 mm, Murree 1789 mm), thereby rainfall increasing from west to east. These regions represent the wettest places in Pakistan. The driest months are October and November. Mean annual temperatures are slightly warmer than in the northern part with hot and humid summers and mild winters (Balakot 18,5◦ C). The lower parts of this region could be classified as Cfa (“Humid Subtropical”) climate while the higher areas rather have Cwb (“Highland Subtropical”) climates.

The southern part is a lot drier and dominated by a continental semi-arid climate. The precipitation regime is bimodal, too, but annual amounts vary from only around 250 mm in the South (D.I.Khan 254 mm) to around 400 mm in the Peshawar basin (Peshawar 407 mm) and 800 mm in the mountain ranges along the Afghan border (Parachinar 782 mm). Temperatures are remarkable higher (Peshawar 22,6◦ C, D.I.Khan 24,4◦ C), not only due to lower elevation (PMD, 2011; Govt. of KP, 2011). Climates vary between Cfa (surroundings of Parachinar) and Bsh (“Warm Semi-arid”) in the South.

Figure 3.4 – Mean annual temperatures (left) and precipitation (right) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA.

Source: modified from PMD (2011)

3.2 Demographics According to the last census (PCO, 1998) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has a population of 17.7 million with an annual growth rate of 2.8 %. The estimated population for 2008 is 20.2 million, not including about 1.5 million Afghan refugees. The Federally Administered

Chapter 3. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - Study Area





Tribal Areas (FATA) have a population of 3.2 million, of which only 3.1% resides in established townships. In KP the proportion of rural population is 83.1%, while in FATA it makes up almost 97%. The districts are the most rural administrative units in Pakistan.

However the population concentrates around the provincial capital Peshawar as well as in the districts of central KP. Population density reaches values of 600 to 1,000 persons per square kilometer (Peshawar: 1,600 persons/km2 ), while in the mountainous areas of Chitral district and some parts of FATA population density is below 50 persons per km2. (PCO, 1998)

3.3 Agricultural situation The agricultural system of the mountainous areas within Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is mainly based on subsistence farming. Therefore land holdings are comparable small and people usually benefit from crop-livestock interactions. Nowadays around 94% of the farms have an area of less than 12.5 acres, which is the limit for subsistence farming. All in all the cultivable area of KP counts to 2.75 million hectares, whereof only 1.8 million hectares actually are cultivated. In contrast to most parts of Pakistan, where agriculture almost exclusively is based on irrigation, around 49% of the cultivated area is rainfed. (Govt.

of KP, 2011) Because of the extremely high variability of climatic conditions and soils there is a high diversity of crops. Generally two cropping seasons are possible: The main crop of rabi (winter) season, lasting from mid October to April, is wheat besides barley, gram, pulses and linseeds. During kharif (summer) season mainly maize and rice are cultivated between mid April and October. Secondary “monsoon crops”, as kharif crops are also called are millets (bajra, jowar), cotton, soyabean, sugarcane, pulses (moong), groundnuts, vegetables and fruits. However the main crops maize, rice, sugarcane and wheat together take more than 90 % of the cultivated area (table 3.1). (Shahbaz et al., 2010; Hussain & Mudasser, 2007) Agriculture in remote mountain areas is characterized by inaccessibility, rough terrain and harsh climate. Due to population growth and lack of land holdings at the valley bottom intensive cropping is practiced and even steep slopes are cultivated. Therefore huge areas had to be deforestated. As a consequence increasing pressure leads to erosion of topsoil, surface run-offs and finally landslides.

In the valleys of Northwestern Pakistan it has to be distinguished between two different farming systems: The system of the extremely remote steep mountain slopes and the hilltop areas on the one hand and the system of the higher populated fertile valley floors on the other hand (Hussain, 2003). The “hill systems” are exclusively subsistence oriented and are mostly rainfed. Usually double-cropping of wheat and maize as main crops in winter and summer, respectively, is only possible up to 1,500 masl. If wheat is grown in higher altitudes it only can be used as fodder, because it does not reach maturity (Hussain & Mudasser, 2007). Above 1,500 masl altitude only maize and

–  –  –

Table 3.1 – Area and production of the main crops of KP, 2007/08.

Source: Bureau of Statistics, Govt. of NWFP, Peshawar potatoes are grown in summers because of snow cover in winters. An important part of people’s livelihoods is livestock (cows, sheep, goats). Livestock breeding is furthermore still practised by the nomadic tribe of the gujars. The increasing demand of fuel and fodder leads to intensive deforestation of the slopes. The “valley bottom systems” on the contrary is, dependent on the accessibility of the particular valley, more market orientated and agriculture thus serves as an income resource, too. Mostly farming is possible only with the help of irrigation but double cropping is common and a big variety of crops is grown (see above) in summers as well as in winters. Because of the lack of grazing land livestock breeding concentrates on stall-fed animals (buffaloes). (Hussain, 2003)

Chapter 3. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - Study Area

3.4 Case studies Because climate itself as well as climatic changes differ a lot on a small scale in the mountain regions of northern Pakistan two case studies shall help to detect these differences.

They are chosen so that the places of these case studies each represent a distinct climate regime. While the valley of Kaghan lies within the area of influence of Indian summer monsoon, the surroundings of Chitral are isolated by high mountain ranges and therefore hardly receive any precipitation in summers. Both places will be described briefly in this section.

3.4.1 Kaghan valley The Kaghan valley is part of Mansehra district (4,579 km2 ) and lies in the easternmost part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bordering Azad Kashmir and Glilgit-Baltistan. It is situated between 34◦ 33 and 35◦ 11 North and between 73◦ 17 and 74◦ 09 East. During the first half of the 20th century Kaghan valley became important as it was the only north-south connection to the Northern Areas besides the Srinagar-Astore route through Kashmir. After the completion of the Indus Valley Road in 1965 and the Karakoram Highway through the Indus valley in 1978 the valley lost its importance for traffic and now rather is characterized as a peripheral area. (Schickhoff, 1995) The valley, which basically covers the catchment area of the Kunhar river, is characterized by a pronounced high mountain relief and spreads southwestern-northeastern.

The elevation range of this 160 km long valley is 650 to 4,170 masl (Babusar pass), while Malika Parbat (5,290 m) and Siran (5,031 m) are the highest peaks of the adjoining mountains. Kaghan valley is situated on the southern diclivity of the Himalaya. Directly northeast of Babusar top but already inside the Northern Areas is Nanga Parbat (8,125 m), the 9th highest mountain of the world and 2nd highest peak of Pakistan. South of Muzaffarabad the main river (Kunhar river) joins the Jhelum river, one of the main tributaries of Indus river. According to Schickhoff (1993) the lower part of the valley belongs to the outer Himalaya, or “Punjab-Himalaya”, while the upper part already could be assigned to the inner or “Indus-Himalaya”.

Like other valleys of the West Himalaya Kaghan valley is characterized by a distinct change of geographical patterns like climate and vegetation along its longitudinal profile, which will be discussed in the following.

Climate Kaghan valley is part of a transitional area where extratropical cyclonic circulation as well as tropical monsoon circulation play an important role for the precipitation distribution.

According to Troll & Paffen (1964) the area is inside a transition zone between two climates of the warm temperate suptropics which adjoin in the Western Himalaya: the climate of mediterranean type with humid winters and dry summers on the one hand and the steppe climate of the Himalayan foothills, which is characterized through short humid summers and dry winters, on the other hand. The main range of the Himalaya forms

Chapter 3. The province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa - Study Area

the border to the cool temperate climate zone with steppe climates in the North. But anyway a distinct classification is difficult because of the overlapping of climate zones,

the complex relief and the influence of summer monsoon. Therefore Ahmad (1951) in:

Schickhoff (1993) relates the region to a humid outer Himalaya inside the subtropical continental mountain climate and describes it as the region with the highest precipitation amounts and the lowest variability of annual precipitation within Pakistan. Following the agro-climatic classification of Chaudhry & Rasul (2004), Kaghan valley lies within the in Pakistan comparatively small area of a sub-humid to humid climate regime.

The surroundings of lower Kaghan are humid year-round and are among the wettest

places of Pakistan, annual precipitation amounts reaching more than 1600 mm (Balakot:

1607mm). The reason for this is the bimodal precipitation regime: Rainfall is received due to western disturbances during winter as well as because of the summer monsoon, which contributes 56% of annual rainfall. The monthly precipitation amount is thereby a lot higher in summer months (250 mm) than during winter (100-150 mm), where rainfall contributes only around 25% to annual amounts. The driest months are October and November with less than 50 mm in each case. Mean annual temperatures around Balakot (980 masl) reach around 19◦ C. The hottest month is June with mean maximum temperatures of 35◦ C because the extraordinary high precipitation values and hence cloud cover in July and August compensate further heating. Average January minimum temperatures do not exceed 2◦ C (PMD, 2011).



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