Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Ecological and Environmental Assessment of Nara Desert Wetland Complex (NDWC), Khairpur, Sindh-Pakistan

By Muhammad Saleem Chang

Submitted: November 8th 2017Reviewed: May 11th 2018Published: October 3rd 2018

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.78623

Downloaded: 258


The Nara Desert Wetland Complex (NDWC) includes sandy dunes, steep hills and occupies low lying flat zones associated with different natural wetlands formed from the seepage of Nara Canal. These different wetlands are the major perennial source of water to the agricultural lands, local communities, wildlife and for grazing livestock. The NDWC encompasses more than 225 seasonal and permanent small, medium and large sized lakes/wetlands. The total area of Nara Canal is distributed about (108,960 hectares) which starts from Sorah to Head Jamrao. The NDWC was declared in 1972 as a Game Reserve area for the protection of wild animals. The NDWC is also recognized an important potential Ramsar Site. The different floral habitation in the Nara Desert consists of mostly drought resistant vegetation of phytoplankton, reed vegetation, herbs, shrubs and trees. The area is ecologically rich with the faunal biodiversity that includes zooplankton, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and small and large mammals. The NDWC has received high values for its economic, social, floral and faunal habitat, aquatic biodiversity since the local communities are directly or indirectly dependent on these natural sustainable resources. During the sampling of environmental parameters, most of the wetlands were determined to be seasonal and permanent freshwater, brackish and hypersaline lakes.


  • Nara Desert wetland complex
  • Nara Canal
  • biodiversity
  • ecologically-sustainable resources
  • environmental parameters

1. Introduction

1.1. Nara Desert wetland complex (NDWC)

The Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary is located between 26°28° N and 68°70° N (Elevation 50–115 m) in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. The desert area is approximately 23,000 km2 semiarid, receiving most of its water 88–135 mm of annual rainfall sporadically during the season of monsoon. These wetlands have rich variety of floral and faunal life such, as various aquatic plant species and different animal species of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. However, the region is of diverse ecological value for the biodiversity of plant and animal species. These wetlands are distributed in different districts which usually start from Ghotki, Sukkur, Khairpur and ends in Sanghar District [1, 2, 3, 4]. In the Nara Canal region, the ground water level usually varies around 76 mm. The capacity of recharging these wetlands in the region is very low due to low rainfall. The level of water table varies between 2.5 and 5 m. In the nearest lands to the Nara Canal, the water level increases up to 10–18 m. Most of the wetlands were developed from sand dunes while a few were developed by deposition of silt [5]. Irrigation system on Nara Canal is contained from upper Nara between Sukkur Barrage to the south Jamrao Headwaters and includes major canals such as Jamarao, Mithrao, Khipro and Thar [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The area is geographically part of the Indus Basin and is composed of alluvial sediments which are deposited by previous and current different branches of the rivers. The sediments of the area are carried by Indus River which have tertiary shale and limestone basement. The sediments are composed of acolin sands that have previously been deposited during the Pleistocene Epoch. The composition of soil is from sandy to loamy and some part of soil is scarcely made up with the loamy sands. The color of soils is generally from brown to gray brown with the 5–15% mixture of CaCO3. The soil is usually composed of nan-saline, non-sodic mixed with poor organic materials having range of pH from 7.8 to 8.4. The developing hypersaline wetlands are common due to the overflow from Nara Canal [5]. The region is distributed with the sandy and steep hills which are locally famous as “patt”, “Tars” or “Tals”. The main source of water for the agriculture and other activities is Nara Canal which extends up to 4–5 km from both sides of canal [5] (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

Map of study area of Nara Desert wild life sanctuary.

The area has high wind velocity with the huge amounts of shifting of sand hills and have high temperature with higher soil radiation in the summer and observed very short rainfall and high evapo-transpiration. In the Nara Desert the average minimum temperature is 20°C and the maximum temperature is 45°C. In the summer, the hottest months are from May to July, when the temperature increases from 45 to 51°C. In the winter season, the lower temperature ranges from 20 to 28°C for the months of December to January. In the region, the annual rainfall from 88 to 135 mm occurs during the months from July to September [1, 2, 3, 4, 6]. The region of NDWC includes about more than 225 small to medium and some large sized-wetlands; some of these are seasonal and most are permanent. The Nara Canal is the largest canal of Sindh Province and covers more than 108 million hectares. On the both sides of Nara Canal the area is covered with woodland, riverine forest, scrub and desert scrubs. In the region, the source of water for wetlands is the seepage from the Nara Canal [1, 2, 3, 4, 7].

The climate of the area is mainly arid having high temperatures and late summer rains observed. The seasonal rainfall is varied and is less than 250–300 mm and rainy season usually starts from June to September. Before the monsoon season, the average temperature is exceeding 45°C in the desert region and in the plains of NDWS the average temperature between 30 and 40°C. The wetland complex is recognized of great hydrological values as 98% Nara Canal water is used for agriculture and only 2% water is used for domestic and drinking purposes. The wetland complex of Nara Canal is 361.6 km long and 90–135 m wide. The maximum water depth of wetland complex is 7.5 m. The highest water discharges of Nara Canal are reported in the months of May–July and the minimum water flow in the August [1, 2, 5].

1.2. Socio-economic status of area

According to the census survey report of 2016, the total population of Nara Taluka is counted 160,985. The target area of Nara Taluka the total population can be estimated to be more than 60,000. The major communities are living in the area study are Baradin, Baloch, Chang, Shard, Syed, Rapper, Dashi, Maleah, Khaskheli, Channa, Sahta, Gopang, Bhurgari, Rind, Nizamani, Mirbahar, Khoso, Wassan, Deewan, Ibupoto, Kakepoto, Rajar, Mirani, and Macchi. From these communities, a few numbers of people are engaged in artisan work, trade, business and job in government departments etc. The Livestock and agriculture are the major source of income of local communities. Cotton and wheat are the main crops cultivated in the Nara while sugarcane, barely, oil seed, pulses, vegetable and fodder are also cultivated. The peoples of the area are living in the worst condition and they have least health facilities, drinking water, education and they do not have available basic life facilities. In spite of low productivity of area, the desert area sustains relatively higher human (1.05 m) and livestock (1.25 m) populations was reported, respectively. The livestock is the major source of income, meat and wool in the area. The overexploitation of vegetation by the grazing animals and the cutting of trees and shrubs for fuel purposes have resulted in environmental degradation that threatens the natural resources in this area. There is no developed transportation system in the Nara Desert. Due to low literacy rate in the area, there is a lack of employment opportunities [5].

1.3. Floristical and faunilistical assessment of Nara Desert wetland complex

In the region of NDWC the richest biodiversity comprises a mosaic habitat of sandy hills, canals, forests, agriculture fields, freshwater and hypersaline wetlands. The area has the richest plant biodiversity consisting of 160 plant species belonging to 118 genera and 45 families were recorded [8, 9, 10]. The seasonal crops include sugarcane, cotton, wheat, barley and sunflower. The major vegetation in the sandy habitats are Prosopis cineraria, Acacia niloticus, Salvadora oleoides, Dalbergia sissoo, Tamarix aphylla, Melia azedarach, Populus spp. and Calotropis procera [5, 6, 11, 12, 13]. In the Nara Desert, the various drought-tolerant plant species, such as cactuses and succulents (Agaves spp.), Aerva javanica, Calligonum polygonoides, Crotalaria burhia, Capparis decidua, Dipterygium glaucum, Tephrosia villosa, Aristida adscensionis, Cassia, Tephrosia uniflora and Cassia italic were recorded [5]. In the zone of Nara Desert, a mixed vegetation of shrubs and plants, such as Typha spp., Hydrilla verticillata, Paspalum distichum, Polygonum hyaropier, Urticularia lotus, Nelumbium nuciferum, Desmostachya bininata, Phragmites karka, Saccharum bengalensis and Tamarix indica were also reported [5, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23].

The region has been received the high socio-economic values for the local community which is dependent on the agriculture, livestock, fish farms and freshwater wetlands. In this area, the small to medium villages are scattered and their major economies are agriculture and livestock [1, 2, 5, 17, 24]. In this zone, the variety of different wild mammalian species includes Hemiechnus auritus, Caracal caracal, Felis chaus, Felis margarita, Herpestes edwardsi, Herpestes javanicus, Canis lupus pallipes, Vulpes zerda, Hyaena hyaena, Mellivora capensis, Manis crassicaudata, Gazella bennettii, Hyelaphus porcinus, Sus scrofa cristatus, Lepus tibetanus, Funambulus pennantii, Hystrix indica, Lutrogale perspicilletta, Lutra lutra and Prionailurus viverrinus [5, 25, 26, 27]. The NDWC has the richest biodiversity of native and migratory avian fauna of which more than 78 avian species were recorded [5, 7, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30]. From this region, two threatened species of Indian-backed vulture and houbara bustard were recorded. The indigenous bird species of myna, crow, sparrow, red-wattled lapwing, white-tailed plover, and stilt were commonly observed. Two bird species of large-pied wagtail (Motacilla maderaspatensis) and rock bunting (Emberiza cia) were the first time reported in this region [5]. Some important bird species categorized by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUNCN) Red List as Least Concern species include the Indian darter, black or red-naped ibis, ruddy Shel duck; as Vulnerable, the marbled teal, and as Near Threatened, the ferruginous duck [5, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32].

2. Material and methods

For the collection of data the study was carried out in Nara Desert Wildlife Sanctuary which is located between 26°28° N and 68°70° N (Elevation 50–115 m) in the province of Sindh, Pakistan For the collection of flora species, the direct method/observation was applied during the diurnal period. To collect the faunal species, the direct and indirect methods were applied. For the collection of important ecological data of floristical and faunistical species, the field work for diurnal and nocturnal surveys were conducted randomly.

For the various physicochemical parameters, water from 10 randomly selected stations from a few selected lakes of NDWC were sampled monthly from January to December 2015. The samples were collected from two different sampling sites of upper surface and lower bottom layers and were kept in (Van Dorn Plastic Bottles 1.5 liter) during the collection period. After the samples were kept in 10% nitric acid for 24 hours and rinsed with the distilled water. Water samples were mixed in acid-washed container, rinsed with distilled water, and then stored at 4°C for further analysis. For quality assurance, the samples were analyzed in duplicate through careful standardization and samples examined. Physicochemical analysis was performed by the standardized methods [33]. Chemical properties of water samples including water temperature, depth, and transparency were measured with the Secchi Disk. The temperature was measured by a mercury thermometer immersed into a water depth of 15 cm for 2–5 mins. The pH was measured by of an Orion Model 420 pH meter. The EC, TDS, and Na parameters were measured by a WTW 320 conductivity meter. Alkalinity, hardness, Cl and phosphate were analyses conducted by the standardized methods as recognized by WHO [34]. Titration method (2310) was used to measure Ca, HCO3 and HCO. Mg and K were analyzed by spectrometry. For the analysis of BOD and DO, the Winkler method and a Jenway Model 9071 Oxygen Meter were used, respectively (Table 1).

TemperatureTemp°CMercury thermometer
pHpHpH UnitpH meter
Electrical conductivityECMu/ScmConductivity meter
Total dissolved solidsTDSmg L−1WTW 320
TurbidityTurbNTUNephlometric turbidity meter
CalciumCamg L−1Titration method (EDTA)
MagnesiumMgmg L−1Titration method (EDTA)
HardnessHardmg L−1Titration (silver nitrate)
CarbonateHCOppmTitration (2310)
Bi-carbonateHCO3ppmTitration (2310)
AlkalinityAlkalmg L−1Titration (silver nitrate)
ChloridesClmg L−1Titration (silver nitrate)
SodiumNamg L−1WTW (320)
PotassiumKmg L−1Titration method (EDTA)
SulphateSO4mg L−1Titration (2310)
Biological oxygen DemandBODmg L−1Winkler method
Dissolved oxygenDOmg L−1Winkler method

Table 1.

Analytical procedure for physicochemical parameters of NDWC during 2015.

3. Results

3.1. Ecological assessment: (Flora and Fauna)

Flora: In the region of Nara Desert a variety of different floral species of aquatic as well as terrestrial plants, herbs, shrubs and drought resistant plant species were recorded (Table 2).

S. No#Scientific NameCommon NameLocal Name
1.Acacia niloticaThorn mimosa, BubulBubar
2.Dalbergia sissoo roxbSisu, TaliTalehi
3.Alhagi maurorumCamel-thorn bushKandero
4.Albizia durrazSirisSareenhn
5.Mimosa pudica L.Chui-mui, LajwantiSharam Booti
6.Prosopis julifloraMosquiteDeevi
7.Prosopis cinreriaJamal gothaKandi
8.Tamarind indica linnImliGidaamri
9.Trigodela L.Proshan, kakpieHurbo
10.Ocimum L.BasilNazbu
11.Grevia L.PhalsaPharva
12.Azadirachia indicaNeemNim
13.Ficus benghalensis L.Banyan treeBarr
14.Ficus religiosa L.Sacred FigPipal
15.Morus alba L.White MulberryToot
16.Eucalyptus camaldulensisRed Gum, EucalyptusSafedo
17.Zizephus mauritiana LamBerryBaer
18.Salvadora persica L.PeeluKhabbar
19.Cordia gharafGondniGaiduri
20.Tamarix passerinoidesTamariskLayee
21.Pennisatum glaicum L.BajraBajhari
22.Zea mays L.CornMakai
23.Desmostachya bipinnataDub, Halfa grassDrubh
24.Calotropis proceraMilk WeedAkk
25.Eruka sativaSalad RocketJanmbho
26.Opentia ficus indica L.CactusThohar
27.Capparix decidusKapparisKirar
28.Suaeda fruiticosaShrubby SeablightLaani
29.Citrullus colocynchis L.Bitter AppleTooh
30.Calligonum polygonoidesPhogPhog
31.Aerva javanicaKopak BushBooh
31.Tamarix aphyllaTamariskLao
32.Salvadora oleoidesJaalJaar
33.Crotolaria burhiaBurhia RattlepodSoma
34.Dipterygium glaucumSafrawiPhair
35.Aristida adscensionisSixweeks ThreeawnLumb Gaah
36.Cassia italicCassia, Golden treeGhora wal
37.Tephrotia unifloraSenegalSiringh/Andhari
38.Teophrotia villosaCreeping ThistlePhoodno
39.Typha latifoliaCattailKanahn
40.Typha angustaCattailKaani
41.Paspalum distichumKnotgrassNaru Gaah
42.Hydrilla verticillataHydrillaHydrilla
43.Nyphaea lotusWhite LotusKanwal
44.Polygonum hyaropierBlake’s KnotweedAnjbar
45.Urticulara lotusWater LotusKanwal
46.Nelumbium nuciferumNelumbiumKanwal

Table 2.

Flora of NDWS.

Fauna: Amphibians: In the Nara Desert three amphibian species belonging from two families of Ranidae and Bufonidae were reported (Table 3).

S. No#Scientific NameCommon Name
1.Crocodylus palustrisMugger crocodile
2.Kuchuga tectaSaw-back turtle
3.Kuchuga smithiBrown turtle
4.Geoclemys hemiltoniiSpotted-pond turtle
5.Canis aureusAsiatic jackal
6.Fellis chausJungle cat
7.Prionailurus viverrinusFishing cat
8.Felis silvestrisDesert cat
9.Vulpes vulpesRed fox
10.Lutrogale perspicillataSmooth-coated otter
11.Herpestes javanicusSmall Indian mongoose
12.Herpestes edwardsiGray mongoose
13.Axis porcinusHog deer
14.Sus scrofaIndian wild boar
15.Funambulus pennantiPalm squirrel
16.Gerbilus nanusBalochistan gerbill
17.Hemiechinus collarisLong-eared hedgehog
18.Hystrix indicaIndian crested porcupine
19.Lepus nigricollisDesert hare
20.Meriones hurrianaeIndian desert jird
21.Mus musculusHouse mouse
22.Tatera indicaIndian gerbil
23.Aspiderestes gangeticusIndian soft shell turtle
24.Lissemys punctate punctataIndian flapshell turtle
25.Naja naja najaIndian cobra
26.Echis carinatusSaw-scaled viper
27.Eryx johniIndian sand boa
28.Lytorhynchus paradoxusSindh awlheaded sand snake
29.Platyceps rhodorchisCliff racer platyceps
30.Platyceps ventromaculatusGlossy-bellied racer
31.Xenochrophid piscatorCheckered keelback
31.Calotes versicolorTree lizard
32.Trapelus megalonyxAfghan ground agama
33.Hemidactylus brookiiYellow-bellied house gecko
34.Hemidactylus brookiSpotted Indian house gecko
35.Cyrtopodion scaberKeeled rock gecko
36.Ophoimorus raithmaiThree-fingered sand-fish
37.Ophoimorus tridactylusIndian sand swimmer
38.Eutrophis maculariaBronze grass skink
39.Varanus bengalensisBengal monitor
40.Varanus griseusDesert monitor
41.Acanthodactylus cantorisIndian fringetoed sandy lizard
42.Bufo stomaticusMarbled toad
43.Hoplobatrachus tigerinusBull frog
44.Rana cyanophlyctisSkittering frog
45.Tachybaptus ruficollisLittle grebe
46.Podiceps nigricollisBlack-necked grebe
47.Phalacrocorax nigerLittle cormorant
48.Phalacrocorax carboLarge cormorant
49.Phalacrocorax fuscicollisIndian darter
50.Ardea cinereaGray heron
51.Ardea purpureaPurple heron
52.Ardeola grayiiIndian pond heron
53.Bubulcus ibisCattle egret
54.Egretta albaLarge egret
55.Egretta intermediaIntermediate egret
56.Egretta garzettaLittle egret
57.Egretta gularisReef heron
58.Ixobrychus minutusLittle bittern
59.Ixobrychus sinensisYellow bittern
60.Tadorna ferrugineaRuddy shelduck
61.Marmaronetta angustirostrisMarbled teal
62.Anas creccaCommon teal
63.Anas platyrhynchosMallard
64.Anas streperaGadwall
65.Anas clypeataShoveller
66.Aythya ferinaCommon pochard
67.Aythya nyrocaFerruginous duck
68.Aythya fuligulaTufted duck
69.Aythya collarisRing-necked duck
70.Elanus caeruleusBlackwinged kite
71.Milvus migransCommon kite
72.Haliastur indusBrahminy kite
73.Accipiter badiusCentral Asian shikra
74.Butastur teesaWhite-eyed buzzard
75.Circus aeruginosusMarsh harrier
76.Falco tinnunculusCommon kestrel
77.Pandion haliaetusOsprey
78.Francolinus pondicerianusGray partridge
79.Francolinus francolinusBlack partridge
80.Amaurornis phoenicurusWhite-breasted waterhen
81.Gallinula chloropusIndian moorhen
82.Porphyrio porphyrioPurple moorhen
83.Fulica atraCommon coot
84.Charadrius leschenaultiaGreater sand plover
85.Vanellus indicusRedwattled lapwing
86.Vanellus leucurusWhite tailed plover
87.Charadrius dubiusLittle ringed plover
88.Charadrius alexadrinusKentish plover
89.Charadrius mongolusLesser sand plover
90.Numenius arquataCurlew
91.Numenius phaeopusWhimbler
92.Limosa lapponicaBartailed godwit
93.Tringa totanusCommon redshank
94.Tringa stagnatilisMarsh sandpiper
95.Tringa nebulariaGreen shank
96.Tringa glareolaWood sandpiper
97.Tringa hypoleucosCommon sandpiper
98.Gallinnago gallinagoCommon snipe
99.Calidris minutusLittle stint
100.Calidris alpineDunlin
101.Philomachus pugnaxRuff
102.Himantopus himantopusBlackwinged stilt
103.Larus heugliniHeuglin’s gull
104.Larus brunnicephalusBrown headed gull
105.Larus ridibundusBlack Headed gull
106.Larus geneiSlenderbilled gull
107.Gelochelidon nliticaGull-billed tern
108.Hydroprogne caspiaCaspian tern
109.Sterna aurantiaIndian River tern
110.Sterna acuticaudaBlackbellied tern
111.Sterna albifronsLittle tern
112.Sterna sendvicensisSandwitch tern
113.Columba liviaBlue rock pigeon
114.Streptopelia decaoctoRing dove
115.Sterptopelia senegalensisLittle brown dove
116.Centropus sinensisCrown pheasant
117.Ketupa zeylonensisBrown fish owl
118.Athene bramaSpotted owlet
119.Ceryle rudisPied kingfisher
120.Alcedo athisCommon kingfisher
121.Halcyon smyrnensisWhitebreasted kingfisher
122.Merops orientalisGreen-bee eater
123.Merops persicusBlue-cheeked bee eater
124.Corcias benghalensisIndian roller
125.Upupa epopsCommon hoopoe
126.Amomanes desertiDesert lark
127.Calendrella brachydactylaGreat short-toed lark
128.Galerida cristataCrested lark
129.Riparia dilutaPale sand martin
130.Hirundo fuligulaCrag/rock martin
131.Hirundo rusticaBarn or common swallow
132.Lanius isabellinusRufous tailed or Isabelline shrike
133.Lanus meridionalisSouthern gray shrike
134.Lanius vittatusBay backed shrike
135.Dicrurus adsimilisBlack drongo
136.Acridotheres adsimilisIndian myna
137.Sturnus vulgarisCommon
138.Phoenicurus ochrurosStarling
139.Oenanthe albonigraHume’s wheatear
140.Saxicoloides fulicataIndian robin
141.Saxicola caprataPied robin chat
142.Oenanthe isabellinaIsabelline wheatear
143.Oenanthe sdesertiDesert wheatear
144.Corvus splendensHouse crow
145.Dendrocitta vagabundaTree pie
146.Prinia flaviventrisYellow bellied prinia
147.Prinia burnesiiRufous vented prinia
148.Pycnonotus leucogenysWhite-cheeked bulbul
149.Pycnonotus caferRed-vented bulbul
150.Turdoides caudatusCommon babbler
151.Turdoides earlieStriated babbler
152.Turdoides striataJungle babbler
153.Rhipidura aureolaWhite browed fantail
154.Phylloscopus collybitaCommon chiffchaff
155.Acrocephalous stentoreusClamorous reed warbler
156.Sylvia currucaLesser whitethroat sylvia
157.Phylloscopus trochiloidesGreenish warbler
158.Motacilla albaWhite wagtail
159.Motacilla flavaYellow wagtail
160.Nectarinia asiaticaPurple sunbird
161.Passer domesticusHouse sparrow
162.Passer pyrrhonotusSindh jungle sparrow

Table 3.

Fauna of NDWS.

Reptiles: Region of Nara Desert is considered rich in herpeto-fauna with 24 reptilian species belonging to three orders and 12 families. Out of the 24-reptilian species, 2 were herbivores, 13 were carnivores and 9 were insectivores. A famous indigenous Vulnerable reptilian species of marsh crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) was also reported from the Nara Canal and its adjacent territories (Figure 2) (Table 3).

Figure 2.

A view of marsh crocodile.

Birds: In the region of NDWC, these wetlands are recognized as the major habitats for the variety of rare and endangered migratory birds. In NDWC, 118 bird species belonging to 13 orders and 35 families belonging were reported. Fifty-nine birds were native species while 53 birds were migratory species. The important migratory birds were the marbled teal, Anan angustirostris (Vulnerable-threatened) and the ferruginous duck, Aythya nyroca and the Indian darter, Anhyinga rufa (Near-threatened) (Table 3).

Small mammals: From the habitat of NDWC the small mammal populations belonging to 3 orders and 5 families were also reported. The small mammals included 5 granivores, 2 herbivores and 1 omnivore (Table 3).

Large Mammals: Large Mammals: Twenty-five species of large mammals were reported. From order Carnivora, 10 species included the jungle cat, jackal, small Indian mongoose, gray mongoose, wolf and red fox and from the Order Artiodactyla, the wild boar (Table 3) (Figure 36).

Figure 3.

A view of Lake in NDWC.

Figure 4.

A view of plantation in NDWC.

Figure 5.

A view of Desert dune in NDWC.

Figure 6.

A view of Typha in NDWC.

3.2. Analysis of physicochemical parameters

The highest air temperature of 45°C was measured in July and the lowest of 20°C was measured in January (Tables 4, 11). The highest and lowest water temperatures were 42 and 17°C, respectively (Table 4). The highest and lowest values (9.3 and 6.9) for pH were measured in November and December, respectively (Tables 11, 12). The highest and lowest values (9120 and 364 mu/Scm) for EC were measured in November and May, respectively (Tables 11, 13). The highest and lowest values (1042 and 214 mg/L) for TDS were measured in March and May, respectively (Tables 7, 13). The highest and lowest values (186 and 0.20 NTU) for turbidity were measured in the months of January – September, respectively (Tables 7, 9). The highest and lowest values (1214 and 6 mg/L) for Ca were measured in January and November, respectively (Tables 8, 10). The highest and lowest values (876 and 12 mg/L) for Mg were measured in March and May, respectively (Tables 8, 13). The highest and lowest values (5536 and 140 mg/L) for hardness were measured in March and May, respectively (Tables 7, 13). The highest and lowest values (71.6 and 2.0 mg/L) for alkalinity were measured in November and September, respectively (Tables 8, 11). The highest and lowest values (3418 and 22 mg/L) for Cl were measured in March and May, respectively (Tables 7, 13). The highest and lowest values (1231 and 21 mg/L) for Na were measured in November and May, respectively (Tables 10, 13). The highest and lowest values (182 and 3 m/L) for K were measured in January and July, respectively (Tables 7, 13). The highest and lowest values (2980 and 38 mg/L) for SO4 were measured in November and May, respectively (Tables 7, 13). The highest and lowest values (3580 and 0.5 mg/L) for HCO3 were measured in November and July (Tables 8, 11) while the value of 0 for HCO was measured in all the months of the study period (Tables 413). The highest and lowest values (4.6 and 2.7 mg/L) for BOD were measured in January and July, respectively (Tables 9, 10). The highest and lowest values (6.1 and 3.7 mg/L) for DO were measured in November and July, respectively (Tables 4, 10).

Temp: Air202528323843454232282320
Tem: Water172123282938333729242017

Table 4.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 1. Gunjo Bhanbharo Lake.

Temp: Air202526303237423832272320
Tem: Water162123262933383529242017

Table 5.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 2. Bachal Bhanbharo Lake.

Temp: Air212426303237433632272320
Tem: Water182023282934393229242017

Table 6.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 3. Skebi Lake.

Temp: Air212326313239444032262320
Tem: Water192023272936403629232017

Table 7.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 4. Tooti Lake.

Temp: Air212526333741423932262320
Tem: Water192223303338393629232017

Table 8.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 5. Dangewari Lake.

Temp: Air212426343843443832282320
Tem: Water192123303540413429242017

Table 9.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 6. Kharari Lake.

Temp: Air202426303741443832272320
Tem: Water182123273437403429242017

Table 10.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 7. Raja Pathan Lake.

Temp: Air212526343942454032262320
Tem: Water192223303639413629232017

Table 11.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 8. Old Nara Lake.

Temp: Air212326343841423732282320
Tem: Water192023303538393429252017

Table 12.

Physicochemical analysis of water sample of station 9. Saedo Pattan Lake.

Temp: Air212426333540433832272320
Tem: Water19213303136403429242017

Table 13.

Analysis of physicochemical parameters of water sample for station 10. Nara Canal Chundiko.

4. Discussion and conclusion

The Nara Desert Wetland Complex (NDWC) encompasses sandy dunes, steep hills and includes low lying flat zones associated with different natural wetlands formed from the seepage of Nara Canal. These different wetlands are the major perennial source of water for the agricultural lands, local communities, wildlife and grazing livestock. NDWC comprises more than 225 seasonal and permanent, small, medium and large-sized lakes/wetlands. The total area of Nara Canal is distributed from Sorah (Sukkur) to Head Jamrao about 108,960 hectares and Nara Canal was declared in 1972 as a Game Reserve area for the protection of wild animals. The NDWC is also recognized as an essential potential Ramsar Site [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The different floral habitation distributed in the Nara Desert includes phytoplankton, reed vegetation, herbs, shrubs and trees. The area is ecologically-rich with the faunal biodiversity which includes zooplankton, invertebrates, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, small and large mammals. The NDWC has received high economic, social, floral and faunal habitats, and aquatic biodiversity values because the local communities are directly or indirectly dependent on these natural sustainable resources [1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 29, 35] (Figure 7).

Figure 7.

A view of Nara Canal Khairpur.

In the area the water quality and recharged by the Nara Canal is mainly sweet and acceptable ranges of TDS between 500 and 800 ppm except hypersaline lakes. The hypersaline water of desert area is mainly observed brackish which have TDS between 10,000 and 28,000 pp. [5, 36].

The climate of the area is mainly arid having high temperatures and late summer rains observed. The seasonal rainfall is varied and is less than 250–300 mm and rainy season usually starts from June to September. Before the monsoon season, the average temperature is exceeding 45°C in the desert region and in the plains of NDWS the average temperature between 30 and 40°C. The wetland complex is recognized of great hydrological values as 98% Nara Canal water is used for agriculture and only 2% water is used for domestic and drinking purposes. The wetland complex of Nara Canal is 361.6 km long and 90–135 m wide. The maximum water depth of wetland complex is 7.5 m. The highest water discharges of Nara Canal are reported in the months of May–July and the minimum water flow in the August [1, 2, 3, 4, 7].

The assessment of physicochemical parameters such as pH and alkalinity revealed that the lake water has mostly remained alkaline during the whole study period except the Nara Canal station due to its input of rain water. The range of hardness was higher in most of the selected lakes of NDWC. The acceptable level of hardness in lake waters is recognized as 200 mg/L by the World Health Organization [34]. The physicochemical parameters of Na and Mg, as well as the EC, TDS concentrations were found to be higher than the WHO standard. The Na is the major solute that can also affect aquatic biodiversity [37]; Na concentrations during the study period were higher than WHO accepted standard in most of the wetlands in the NDWC. The WHO recommended that the tolerable level of Cl is 250 mg/L [34]. In this study, the various wetlands had higher Cl concentration than the acceptable WHO standard. However, the concentrations of Ca, K, SO4, HCO3, BOD and DO were higher than the acceptable WHO standard in the most of selected wetlands during the study period.

In the study area, quality of water is mainly sweet and acceptable for drinking purposes. The range of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) reported between 500 and 800 ppm. In the area, there are also few brackish wetlands reported and TDS varies between 10,000 and 28,000 due to recharge of insufficient amount of water. The quality of ground water is mainly dominated by sulfate, chloride, calcium and magnesium ions [16, 38, 39]. The conductivity (or TDS) is major parameter along with pH in recognizing the water quality. The values of both parameters is considered acceptable in freshwater lakes while it is otherwise considered the saline lakes. If the value of turbidity is higher than considering alkaline water while above the WHO standard level of 5 NTU. The value of higher turbidity may be due to discharge of waste materials and agriculture run off. The Nara Canal is originates from the Indus River. The water in the Indus River is generally contaminated carrying organic and inorganic polluted particles load from the upstream due to anthropogenic activities. The Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA 2002) recorded that the value of BOD in Indus River is exceeds more than 6.5 mg/L, which is also recognized by Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS) the water of Indus River is highly polluted. According to microbiological analysis of water by WWF-Pakistan (2007) confirmed that in the two sites the presence of fecal coliform. The availability of Fecal coliform in the water system is considering harmful for the human population consumption which may cause water borne disease. In freshwater bodies the availability of Fecal coliform is an indicator of contamination with the human and animal excreta [5, 7, 36, 38, 40, 41].

The parameters of water were only collected to examine the quality of water for the purpose of drinking. Although, it has also been reported that the more than 100,000 fisherman population who were directly associated with the fishery occupation have suffered a lot in the recent decades. In the wetland complexes the higher amount of inflow of saline effluent has causing in the devastation of the lake [7, 40].

5. Threats

Hunting: In the study area, the hunting for recreation is observed common and uncontrolled. However, the region is protected but there is no effective implementation of the wildlife laws for the wild animals. Due to hunting pressure, this is also leading to imbalance between the predator and prey species.

Foraging of Livestock: The large amount of grazing livestock in the area together with the recent climatic changes is degrading the food chain in the ecosystem dynamics.

Cutting trees: In the study area, the cutting of trees in the adjoining desert region for continuous practice of conversion of lands into agricultural fields which is affecting the wild population.

Developmental activities: In this modern era the human population is increasing in higher rate and habitation, the developmental activities in the region and conversion of land for the purpose of agriculture has been damaging the wild habitat and ultimately increasing stress on the existing wildlife.


Controlled hunting: To control the hunting the check posts should be established for keeping vigilance at important points on uncontrolled hunting. Due to shortage of infrastructure in Sindh Wildlife Department like as transport system and staff failed to stop hunting so that the officials must enhance staff and transport. The Wildlife authorities must consider strengthening of Sindh Wildlife Department in the region.

Ecotourism: The area of Nara Wetland Complex is a best site for promoting ecotourism. For sighting of wildlife and bird watching the watch towers at potential points and other facilities should be developed for promoting community based conservation tourism. The people of local community should be participated and benefited from all this tourism activates. From local community the youth should be trained as a volunteers and co-guides. These health activities will provide the incentives to the local community as a source of income generating activity and an alternative livelihood source.

Promote participatory wildlife management and conservation: For promoting participation in wildlife management and conservation the institutional capacity of community based organizations in the region should be developed.


This research study on “Ecology and Environmental Assessment of Nara Desert Wetland Complex, (NDWC) Khairpur, Sindh-Pakistan” was financially supported by University of Sindh Jamshoro, Sindh- Pakistan.

Conflict of interest

The research study of “Ecology and Environmental Assessment of Nara Desert Wetland Complex, (NDWC) Khairpur, Sindh-Pakistan”; has there is no conflict of interest.

Notes/Thanks/Other Declarations

I am very thankful to WWF-Pakistan and Sindh Wildlife Department for their support during the collection of data in the studied areas of NDWC.

Acronyms and Abbreviations

ECelectrical conductivity
TDStotal dissolved solids
BODbiological oxygen demand
DOdissolved oxygen
NDWCNara Desert wetland complex
WHOWorld Health Organization
WWFWorldwide Fund for Nature

© 2018 The Author(s). Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Muhammad Saleem Chang (October 3rd 2018). Ecological and Environmental Assessment of Nara Desert Wetland Complex (NDWC), Khairpur, Sindh-Pakistan, Community and Global Ecology of Deserts, Levente Hufnagel, IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.78623. Available from:

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