Soil salinization is a global and climatic phenomenon that affects various spheres of life. The present rate of salinization is perilously fast because of global climate change and associated events leading to enhanced land degradation, loss of soil fertility and crop productivity. In this chapter, we tried to focus on the arid and semiarid regions of India along with our coastal zone which are economically fragile regions and need much closer attention. In future, India will face extreme pressure on its land resources in agriculture because of likely rapid degradation of these resources. Thus, salt affected soils must be brought under cultivation by adopting site specific strategies to ensure national food and nutritional security. In this regard, a comprehensive review of the major halophytes of these ecological zones, its mechanism of salt tolerance, ecological and economic potential is done. The potential applications of saline land vegetation including halophytes in climate change mitigation, phytoremediation, desalination, food, secondary metabolite and nutraceutical production, medicine, and saline agriculture have been discussed. Further, we tried to focus on popular farmer adopted halophytic species including edible ones, their uses, products of economic significance etc. which is highly imperative for effective utilization of these saline soils leading to improved livelihood and sustenance of resource poor farmers along with improved ecological balance.
Part of the book: Abiotic Stress in Plants