Departemnt of Botany , University of Rajasthan, Jaipur. 302004.
Email. Msku31@yahoo.com Fax. 00 91 141 565905 Phone 00 91 141 651627.
Indian arid zone covers an area of about 0.3 million sq.km.
The state of Rajasthan has total land area of about 3,42,274 Km2 out of which about 96,100 km2 is arid and rest semi arid.
90 million ha of area in India is wasteland out of which 10 million ha is saline alkaline wastelands. Around 60 percent of it lies in semi arid region.
National remote sensing agency (NRSA) has revealed that during the period 1972-1975 and 1980-82 there has been a loss of 9 million ha of tree cover i.e. an average of 1.3 million ha per year.
Out of total forest cover of 64.2 million ha only 36.14 million ha is adequately covered. Thus the effective forest cover is limited to 10.88 percent of geographical area of the country (3,27 million ha).
According to National Firewood study committee (1982) the total requirement of fuel wood is around 133 millino tonnes where as annual availability is only about 49 million tonnes per year.
Plantation in 15-20 million ha is required to meet this shortage.
Total non forest land in India is about 93.69 million ha most of it is uncultivable.
Raising energy plantations in the wastelands can provide non-exhaustible non polluting and renewable source of Bio-energy. Biomass energy crops for wastelands were screened and improved.
A 50 ha Energy Plantation Demostration project center has been developed and Department of Biotechnology has funded project on the area 1982-1999 and currently also. A model system has been developed for the semi arid and arid regions which can be used globally specially in developing countries.
Salinity in semi-arid and arid regions and bio-remediation:
With the increase in population there is increased demand for the land area under agriculture cover in India.
Decreasing water table and increased use of deep wells following electrificaiton in villages ( due to aid from FAO) have reulted in increased levels of irrigation water salinity and increased soil salanization.