Grasslands in India: Problems and perspectives for sustaining livestock and rural livelihoods

Ajoy K. Roy, Jai P. Singh


In India, grazing-based livestock husbandry plays an important role in the rural economy as around 50% of animals depend on grazing. Pasturelands over an area of 12 Mha constitute the main grazing resources that are available. Temperate/alpine pastures are spread across elevations higher than 2000 m in the Eastern and Western Himalayas including the Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim states. Nearly 30 pastoral communities in hilly or arid/semi-arid regions in northern and western parts of India, as well as 20 in temperate/hilly regions, depend on grazing-based livestock production. Due to overgrazing coupled with poor management and care, these grazing lands have deteriorated to a large extent and need amelioration or rehabilitation. Appropriate technologies have been developed, refined and tested in various research and academic institutions. These technologies need to be implemented on a large scale in different parts of the country for augmenting forage resources, enhancing livestock production and sustaining livelihood options in an eco-friendly manner.

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