An ecological survey of land use and soil erosion in the West Pakistan and Azad Kashmir catchment of the river Jhelum.
Information is given on climate, soil types, vegetation, rural sociology, agriculture and land capability in the above survey area. The subtropical sclerophyll woodland zone at 300-750 m alt. contained much grassland, the best-developed of which was on gravel uplands and consisted of scattered tussock grasses with a maximum ground cover of 50%. Chrysopogon montanus was dominant, 7 other grasses and 9 legumes were also present. Poorer grassland with 7 grasses and 11 listed weed species was present on bare and eroding sandstone and shale. Well-established grass swards with 7 grasses and 4 legumes occurred on shallow sandy soils. At 750-1500 m a belt of grassland extended from Muzzaffarabad into the Neelum valley, containing in addition to Aristidacyanantha the species Apluda aristata, Themeda anathera and Heteropogon contortus which are cut for hay on terraced fields elsewhere in this zone. At 1650-3600 m shortgrass turf protected the soil more effectively from erosion than at lower altitudes, though overgrazing was a problem; swards were of temperate type with Agrostis and white clover. Crops grown for fodder in the survey area included sorghum, barley, Brassica campestris and Eruca sativa. Bare fallow was a frequent practice but led to much soil erosion, and its replacement by ley farming was recommended.-R.B.