Overview for Thar Desert in Retrospect and Prospect
Thar Desert in India is one of the most well-investigated and densely populated regions amongst the world arid zones. A blend of crop and animal husbandries, conservative land use practices, coping mechanisms to minimize adverse effect of drought and a frugal lifestyle have been the characteristic features of its dwellers. Recent increase in biotic pressure has interacted with the fragile environment to create fearsome environmental problems. Governmental responses were prompt in form creating a strong research infrastructure for multi-disciplinary and multi-location research and demonstration on the one hand and in huge investment in irrigation from internally and externally sourced water, desertification control program and an accelerated socio-economic and infrastructure development, softening content of drought and strengthening of livelihoods on the other. Unlike several publications on the Thar, the current effort attempts a comprehensive, pragmatic and off-beat analysis of various developments and goes further to show how the situation today is a blend of both resource degradation and economic development. Recent studies have helped rebuild the past climate history that shows that the climate has been fluctuating during the geological history but reports suggest also that current anthropogenic global warming makes the desert more vulnerable in near future. An attempt has been made also to peep into the future of the Thar.
Contents: 1. Introduction. 2. Paleoclimate History and Antiquity. 3. History of Human Settlement and Population Growth. 4. Natural Endowments and Their Assessment — Climate. 5. Land Use in Thar and Recent Period Heightened Emphasis on Cropping. 6. Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Traditional Resource Management Practices — • Agriculture. 7. Irrigation : A Striking Development . 8. Desertification Problem and Control Effort. 9 Scientific Research, Technology Development and Adoption — • Research and Technologies. 10. Socio-economic and other contextual Development. 11 Thar Desert in Retrospect and Prospect . Subject Index.