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The Thar Desert also known as the Great Indian Desert or Marusthali
(Land of the dead), is a large, arid region in the northwestern part of
the Indian subcontinent that forms a natural boundary between India
and Pakistan. It is the world's 9th largest subtropical desert. This
desert spreads over about 2,340,000 km2 (900,000 sq mi), with 85% in
India and the remaining part in Pakistan. It covers more than
2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi) in Rajasthan and extends into Gujarat,
Punjab, and Haryana. Geography.
The Thar Desert extends between the Aravalli Hills in the
north-east, the Great Rann of Kutch along the coast and the
alluvial plains of the Indus River in the west and north-west.
Most of the desert is covered by huge shifting sand dunes
that receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast.
The sand is highly mobile due to strong winds occurring
before the onset of the monsoon. The Luni River is the only
river integrated into the desert. Rainfall is limited to 100–
500 mm (3.9–19.7 in) per year, mostly falling from July to
September.
Salt water lakes in the Thar Desert include the Sambhar,
Kuchaman, Didwana in Rajasthan and Kharaghoda in Gujarat.
These lakes receive rain water during monsoon and evaporate
during the dry season. The salt is derived by the weathering
of rocks in the region.
Desertification control
The soil of the Thar Desert remains dry for much of the year and is prone
to wind erosion. High velocity winds blow soil from the desert, depositing
some on neighboring fertile lands, and causing shifting sand dunes within
the desert. Sand dunes are stabilised by erecting micro-windbreak barriers
with scrub material and subsequent afforestation of the treated dunes with
seedlings of shrubs such asp hog, senna, castor oil plant and trees such
as gum acacia, Prosopis juliflora and lebbek tree. The 649 km (403 mi)
long Indira Gandhi Canal brings fresh water to the Thar Desert.It was
conceived to halt spreading of the desert to fertile areas.
There are few local tree species suitable for planting in the desert, which
are slow growing. Therefore, exotic tree species were introduced
for plantation. Many species of Eucalyptus, Acacia, Cassia and other genera
from Israel, Australia, US, Russia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Peru and Sudan have
been tried in Thar Desert. Acacia tortilis has proved to be the most
promising species for desert afforestation and the jojoba is another
promising species of economic value found suitable for planting in these
areas.
The soil of the Thar Desert remains dry for much of the year and is
prone to wind erosion. High velocity winds blow soil from the desert,
depositing some on neighboring fertile lands, and causing shifting sand
dunes within the desert. Sand dunes are stabilised by erecting micro-
windbreak barriers with scrub material and subsequent afforestation of
the treated dunes with seedlings of shrubs such as phog, senna, castor
oil plant and trees such as gum acacia, Prosopis juliflora and lebbek tree.
The 649 km (403 mi) long Indira Gandhi Canal brings fresh water to the
Thar Desert.[2] It was conceived to halt spreading of the desert to fertile
areas.
There are few local tree species suitable for planting in the desert,
which are slow growing. Therefore, exotic tree species were introduced
for plantation. Many species of Eucalyptus, Acacia, Cassia and other
genera from Israel, Australia, US, Russia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Peru and
Sudan have been tried in Thar Desert. Acacia tortilis has proved to be
the most promising species for desert afforestation and the jojoba is
another promising species of economic value found suitable for planting
in these areas.
Biodiversity
Fauna
Stretches of sand in the desert are interspersed by hillocks and sandy and
gravel plains. Due to the diversified habitat and ecosystem, the vegetation,
human culture and animal life in this arid region is very rich in contrast to
the other deserts of the world. About 23 species of lizard and 25 species of
snakes are found here and several of them are endemic to the region.
Some wildlife species, which are fast vanishing in other parts of India, are
found in the desert in large numbers such as the blackbuck (Antilope
cervicapra), chinkara (Gazella bennettii) and Indian wild ass (Equus
hemionus khur) in the Rann of Kutch. They have evolved excellent survival
strategies, their size is smaller than other similar animals living in different
conditions, and they are mainly nocturnal. There are certain other factors
responsible for the survival of these animals in the desert. Due to the lack
of water in this region, transformation of the grasslands into cropland has
been very slow. The protection provided to them by a local community, the
Bishnois, is also a factor. Other mammals of the Thar Desert include a
subspecies of red fox (Vulpes pusilla) and the caracal.
Vegetation
The natural vegetation of this dry area is classed
as Northwestern thorn scrub forestoccurring in
small clumps scattered more or less
openly. Density and size of patches increase
from west to east following the increase in
rainfall. The natural vegetation of the Thar
Desert is composed of the following
tree, shrub and herb species
Peacock on Khejri tree
The Thar Desert is the most densely populated desert in the world, with
a population density of 83 people per km2.In India, the inhabitants
comprise Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In Pakistan, inhabitants include
Sindhis and Kolhis.
About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar Desert.
The main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal husbandry.
A colorful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The people
have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry.
Jodhpur, the largest city in the region, lies in the scrub forest zone.
Bikaner and Jaywalker are located in the desert proper. A large irrigation
and power project has reclaimed areas of the northern and western
desert for agriculture. The small population is mostly pastoral, and hide
and wool industries are prominent.
The desert's part in Pakistan also has a rich multifaceted culture,
heritage, traditions, folk tales, dances and music due to its inhabitants
who belong to different religions, sects and castes.
Life in the Thar Desert
Of all the places a development organization can work, the Thar desert is one of the most
difficult. The needs of the people here are great. Health, education, and even basic resources,
like water and food, remain out of reach for many.
Scorching summers, chilly winters, dry monsoon seasons, and regular dust storms are
characteristic of the region. The arid Thar gets less than 200 millimeters of rain in a year,
declining to as little as 100 millimeters in some parts. This meager rainfall makes aquifers hard
to replenish, which means that groundwater cannot serve as a long-term source of water for
drinking and irrigation.
The desert is able to support perennial vegetation due to the soil's ability to conserve moisture,
even against most powerful heat and wind. The most prominent desert plant, the Khejri tree,
provides pods to eat and wood for fuel. The Thar Desert is also home to some 700 species of
grasses, herbs, shrubs, and trees. The over-exploitation of these plants due to the growing
population of humans and livestock is a major concern. The region also has a variety of wildlife,
including over 300 species of birds. In terms of its human inhabitants, the Thar Desert is the
most densely populated desert ecosystem in the world, with a population greater than 23
million.
The diversity of plants and animals makes the Thar a sight to see. However, the presence of so
much life in does not mean that survival is guaranteed in the future. Increasing desertification
and natural degradation as well as persistent droughts have worsened the living conditions
drastically in recent years. The Thar is subject to the same sort of uneven growth seen all over
India, and it deserves the attention of government and the development sector before its story
gets buried under the sand.
People
The Thar Desert is the most densely populated desert in the world, with
a population density of 83 people per km2.[7] In India, the inhabitants
comprise Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In Pakistan, inhabitants
include Sind his and Kohl's.
About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar
Desert.[12] The main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal
husbandry A colorful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The
people have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry.
Jodhpur the largest city in the region, lies in the scrub forest
zone. Bikaner and Jaisalmer are located in the desert proper. A large
irrigation and power project has reclaimed areas of the northern and
western desert for agriculture. The small population is mostly pastoral,
and hide and wool industries are prominent.
The desert's part in Pakistan also has a rich multifaceted culture,
heritage, traditions, folk tales, dances and music due to its inhabitants
who belong to different religions, sects and castes.
People
The Thar Desert is the most densely populated desert in the world, with
a population density of 83 people per km2.[7] In India, the inhabitants
comprise Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In Pakistan, inhabitants
include Sind his and Kohl's.
About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar
Desert.[12] The main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal
husbandry A colorful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The
people have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry.
Jodhpur the largest city in the region, lies in the scrub forest
zone. Bikaner and Jaisalmer are located in the desert proper. A large
irrigation and power project has reclaimed areas of the northern and
western desert for agriculture. The small population is mostly pastoral,
and hide and wool industries are prominent.
The desert's part in Pakistan also has a rich multifaceted culture,
heritage, traditions, folk tales, dances and music due to its inhabitants
who belong to different religions, sects and castes.
The great Derawar Fort located
within Bahawalpur, Pakistan
Thar in ancient literature
The Indian epics describe this region as Lavanasagara (Salt-ocean).
The Ramayana mentions Lavanasagara (the Salt-ocean) when Rama goes to
attack Lanka with the army of vanaras. Rama uses his agneyashtra-amogha to
dry up the sea nameddrumakulya situated on north of Lavanasagara. A fresh
water source named Pushkar surrounded by Marukantara was created.
According to Jain cosmology, Jambūdvīpa is at the centre of Madhyaloka, or the
middle part of the universe, where the humans reside. Jambūdvīpaprajñapti or
the treatise on the island of rose apple tree contains a description of
Jambūdvīpa and life biographies of Ṛṣabha and King Bharata. Jambūdvīpa
continent is surrounded by ocean Lavender (Salt-ocean).
Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert
The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rig-Veda rivers mentioned in
ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rig-Veda (10.75) mentions the
Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later
Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanism as well as
the Mahabharata mention that the Sarasvati dried up in a desert.
Most scholars agree that at least some of the references to the Sarasvati in the
Rig-Veda refer to the Ghaggar-Hakra River, while the Helmand River is often
quoted as the locus of the early Rigvedic river. Whether such a transfer of the
name has taken place, either from the Helmand to the Ghaggar-Hakra, or
conversely from the Ghaggar-Hakra to the Helmand, is a matter of dispute.
Due to severe weather conditions, there are few highways in the Thar desert. Shown
here is a road in Tharparkar District of Sindh, Pakistan.
Bajra is the main kharif crop in Thar
Livestock
In the last 15–20 years, the Rajasthan desert has seen many changes, including a manifold increase of both
the human and animal population. Animal husbandry has become popular due to the difficult farming
conditions. At present, there are ten times more animals per person in Rajasthan than the national average,
and overgrazing is also a factor affecting climatic and drought conditions.
A large number of farmers in Thar desert depend on animal husbandry for their
livelihood. Cows, buffalos, sheep, goats, camels, and oxen consists of major cattle population. Barmer
district has the highest cattle population out of which sheep and goats are in majority. Some of the best
breeds of bullocks such as Kankrej (Sanchori) and Nagauri are from desert region.
Thar region of Rajasthan is the biggest wool-producing area in India. Chokla, Marwari, Jaisalmeri, Magra,
Malpuri, Sonadi, Nali and Pungal breeds of sheep are found in the region. Of the total wool production in
India, 40-50% comes from Rajasthan. The sheep-wool from Rajasthan is considered best for carpet making
industry in the world. The wool of Chokla breed of sheep is considered of superior quality. The breeding
centres have been developed for Karakul and Merino sheep at Suratgarh, Jaitsar and Bikaner. Some
important mills for making Woolen thread established in desert area are: Jodhpur Woolen Mill, Jodhpur;
Rajasthan Woolen Mill, Bikaner and India Woolen Mill, Bikaner. Bikaner is the biggest mandi (market place)
of wool in Asia.[19]
The live stock depends for grazing on common lands in villages. During famine years in the desert the
nomadic rebari people move with large herds of sheep and camel to the forested areas of south Rajasthan
or nearby states like Madhya Pradesh for grazing the cattle.
The importance of animal husbandry can be understood from the organization of large number of cattle fairs
in the region. Cattle fairs are normally named after the folk-deities. Some of major cattle fairs held
are Ramdevji cattle fair at Manasar in Nagaur district, Tejaji cattle fair at Parbatsar in Nagaur district, Baldeo
cattle fair at Merta city in Nagaur district, Mallinathcattle fair at Tilwara in barmer district. Live stock is very
important to the Thar desert people.
Lopping of Khejri tree for fodder and fuel in Harsawa village
Thar desert

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Thar desert

  • 1.
  • 2. The Thar Desert also known as the Great Indian Desert or Marusthali (Land of the dead), is a large, arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. It is the world's 9th largest subtropical desert. This desert spreads over about 2,340,000 km2 (900,000 sq mi), with 85% in India and the remaining part in Pakistan. It covers more than 2,000,000 km2 (770,000 sq mi) in Rajasthan and extends into Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana. Geography.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5. The Thar Desert extends between the Aravalli Hills in the north-east, the Great Rann of Kutch along the coast and the alluvial plains of the Indus River in the west and north-west. Most of the desert is covered by huge shifting sand dunes that receive sediments from the alluvial plains and the coast. The sand is highly mobile due to strong winds occurring before the onset of the monsoon. The Luni River is the only river integrated into the desert. Rainfall is limited to 100– 500 mm (3.9–19.7 in) per year, mostly falling from July to September. Salt water lakes in the Thar Desert include the Sambhar, Kuchaman, Didwana in Rajasthan and Kharaghoda in Gujarat. These lakes receive rain water during monsoon and evaporate during the dry season. The salt is derived by the weathering of rocks in the region.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8. Desertification control The soil of the Thar Desert remains dry for much of the year and is prone to wind erosion. High velocity winds blow soil from the desert, depositing some on neighboring fertile lands, and causing shifting sand dunes within the desert. Sand dunes are stabilised by erecting micro-windbreak barriers with scrub material and subsequent afforestation of the treated dunes with seedlings of shrubs such asp hog, senna, castor oil plant and trees such as gum acacia, Prosopis juliflora and lebbek tree. The 649 km (403 mi) long Indira Gandhi Canal brings fresh water to the Thar Desert.It was conceived to halt spreading of the desert to fertile areas. There are few local tree species suitable for planting in the desert, which are slow growing. Therefore, exotic tree species were introduced for plantation. Many species of Eucalyptus, Acacia, Cassia and other genera from Israel, Australia, US, Russia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Peru and Sudan have been tried in Thar Desert. Acacia tortilis has proved to be the most promising species for desert afforestation and the jojoba is another promising species of economic value found suitable for planting in these areas.
  • 9.
  • 10. The soil of the Thar Desert remains dry for much of the year and is prone to wind erosion. High velocity winds blow soil from the desert, depositing some on neighboring fertile lands, and causing shifting sand dunes within the desert. Sand dunes are stabilised by erecting micro- windbreak barriers with scrub material and subsequent afforestation of the treated dunes with seedlings of shrubs such as phog, senna, castor oil plant and trees such as gum acacia, Prosopis juliflora and lebbek tree. The 649 km (403 mi) long Indira Gandhi Canal brings fresh water to the Thar Desert.[2] It was conceived to halt spreading of the desert to fertile areas. There are few local tree species suitable for planting in the desert, which are slow growing. Therefore, exotic tree species were introduced for plantation. Many species of Eucalyptus, Acacia, Cassia and other genera from Israel, Australia, US, Russia, Zimbabwe, Chile, Peru and Sudan have been tried in Thar Desert. Acacia tortilis has proved to be the most promising species for desert afforestation and the jojoba is another promising species of economic value found suitable for planting in these areas.
  • 12. Fauna Stretches of sand in the desert are interspersed by hillocks and sandy and gravel plains. Due to the diversified habitat and ecosystem, the vegetation, human culture and animal life in this arid region is very rich in contrast to the other deserts of the world. About 23 species of lizard and 25 species of snakes are found here and several of them are endemic to the region. Some wildlife species, which are fast vanishing in other parts of India, are found in the desert in large numbers such as the blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra), chinkara (Gazella bennettii) and Indian wild ass (Equus hemionus khur) in the Rann of Kutch. They have evolved excellent survival strategies, their size is smaller than other similar animals living in different conditions, and they are mainly nocturnal. There are certain other factors responsible for the survival of these animals in the desert. Due to the lack of water in this region, transformation of the grasslands into cropland has been very slow. The protection provided to them by a local community, the Bishnois, is also a factor. Other mammals of the Thar Desert include a subspecies of red fox (Vulpes pusilla) and the caracal.
  • 13.
  • 14. Vegetation The natural vegetation of this dry area is classed as Northwestern thorn scrub forestoccurring in small clumps scattered more or less openly. Density and size of patches increase from west to east following the increase in rainfall. The natural vegetation of the Thar Desert is composed of the following tree, shrub and herb species
  • 16. The Thar Desert is the most densely populated desert in the world, with a population density of 83 people per km2.In India, the inhabitants comprise Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In Pakistan, inhabitants include Sindhis and Kolhis. About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar Desert. The main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal husbandry. A colorful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The people have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry. Jodhpur, the largest city in the region, lies in the scrub forest zone. Bikaner and Jaywalker are located in the desert proper. A large irrigation and power project has reclaimed areas of the northern and western desert for agriculture. The small population is mostly pastoral, and hide and wool industries are prominent. The desert's part in Pakistan also has a rich multifaceted culture, heritage, traditions, folk tales, dances and music due to its inhabitants who belong to different religions, sects and castes.
  • 17. Life in the Thar Desert Of all the places a development organization can work, the Thar desert is one of the most difficult. The needs of the people here are great. Health, education, and even basic resources, like water and food, remain out of reach for many. Scorching summers, chilly winters, dry monsoon seasons, and regular dust storms are characteristic of the region. The arid Thar gets less than 200 millimeters of rain in a year, declining to as little as 100 millimeters in some parts. This meager rainfall makes aquifers hard to replenish, which means that groundwater cannot serve as a long-term source of water for drinking and irrigation. The desert is able to support perennial vegetation due to the soil's ability to conserve moisture, even against most powerful heat and wind. The most prominent desert plant, the Khejri tree, provides pods to eat and wood for fuel. The Thar Desert is also home to some 700 species of grasses, herbs, shrubs, and trees. The over-exploitation of these plants due to the growing population of humans and livestock is a major concern. The region also has a variety of wildlife, including over 300 species of birds. In terms of its human inhabitants, the Thar Desert is the most densely populated desert ecosystem in the world, with a population greater than 23 million. The diversity of plants and animals makes the Thar a sight to see. However, the presence of so much life in does not mean that survival is guaranteed in the future. Increasing desertification and natural degradation as well as persistent droughts have worsened the living conditions drastically in recent years. The Thar is subject to the same sort of uneven growth seen all over India, and it deserves the attention of government and the development sector before its story gets buried under the sand.
  • 18.
  • 19. People The Thar Desert is the most densely populated desert in the world, with a population density of 83 people per km2.[7] In India, the inhabitants comprise Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In Pakistan, inhabitants include Sind his and Kohl's. About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar Desert.[12] The main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal husbandry A colorful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The people have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry. Jodhpur the largest city in the region, lies in the scrub forest zone. Bikaner and Jaisalmer are located in the desert proper. A large irrigation and power project has reclaimed areas of the northern and western desert for agriculture. The small population is mostly pastoral, and hide and wool industries are prominent. The desert's part in Pakistan also has a rich multifaceted culture, heritage, traditions, folk tales, dances and music due to its inhabitants who belong to different religions, sects and castes.
  • 20. People The Thar Desert is the most densely populated desert in the world, with a population density of 83 people per km2.[7] In India, the inhabitants comprise Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs. In Pakistan, inhabitants include Sind his and Kohl's. About 40% of the total population of Rajasthan live in the Thar Desert.[12] The main occupation of the people is agriculture and animal husbandry A colorful culture rich in tradition prevails in this desert. The people have a great passion for folk music and folk poetry. Jodhpur the largest city in the region, lies in the scrub forest zone. Bikaner and Jaisalmer are located in the desert proper. A large irrigation and power project has reclaimed areas of the northern and western desert for agriculture. The small population is mostly pastoral, and hide and wool industries are prominent. The desert's part in Pakistan also has a rich multifaceted culture, heritage, traditions, folk tales, dances and music due to its inhabitants who belong to different religions, sects and castes.
  • 21.
  • 22. The great Derawar Fort located within Bahawalpur, Pakistan
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25. Thar in ancient literature The Indian epics describe this region as Lavanasagara (Salt-ocean). The Ramayana mentions Lavanasagara (the Salt-ocean) when Rama goes to attack Lanka with the army of vanaras. Rama uses his agneyashtra-amogha to dry up the sea nameddrumakulya situated on north of Lavanasagara. A fresh water source named Pushkar surrounded by Marukantara was created. According to Jain cosmology, Jambūdvīpa is at the centre of Madhyaloka, or the middle part of the universe, where the humans reside. Jambūdvīpaprajñapti or the treatise on the island of rose apple tree contains a description of Jambūdvīpa and life biographies of Ṛṣabha and King Bharata. Jambūdvīpa continent is surrounded by ocean Lavender (Salt-ocean). Course of Sarasvati river through Thar desert The Sarasvati River is one of the chief Rig-Veda rivers mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. The Nadistuti hymn in the Rig-Veda (10.75) mentions the Sarasvati between the Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west, and later Vedic texts like Tandya and Jaiminiya Brahmanism as well as the Mahabharata mention that the Sarasvati dried up in a desert. Most scholars agree that at least some of the references to the Sarasvati in the Rig-Veda refer to the Ghaggar-Hakra River, while the Helmand River is often quoted as the locus of the early Rigvedic river. Whether such a transfer of the name has taken place, either from the Helmand to the Ghaggar-Hakra, or conversely from the Ghaggar-Hakra to the Helmand, is a matter of dispute.
  • 26. Due to severe weather conditions, there are few highways in the Thar desert. Shown here is a road in Tharparkar District of Sindh, Pakistan.
  • 27. Bajra is the main kharif crop in Thar
  • 28. Livestock In the last 15–20 years, the Rajasthan desert has seen many changes, including a manifold increase of both the human and animal population. Animal husbandry has become popular due to the difficult farming conditions. At present, there are ten times more animals per person in Rajasthan than the national average, and overgrazing is also a factor affecting climatic and drought conditions. A large number of farmers in Thar desert depend on animal husbandry for their livelihood. Cows, buffalos, sheep, goats, camels, and oxen consists of major cattle population. Barmer district has the highest cattle population out of which sheep and goats are in majority. Some of the best breeds of bullocks such as Kankrej (Sanchori) and Nagauri are from desert region. Thar region of Rajasthan is the biggest wool-producing area in India. Chokla, Marwari, Jaisalmeri, Magra, Malpuri, Sonadi, Nali and Pungal breeds of sheep are found in the region. Of the total wool production in India, 40-50% comes from Rajasthan. The sheep-wool from Rajasthan is considered best for carpet making industry in the world. The wool of Chokla breed of sheep is considered of superior quality. The breeding centres have been developed for Karakul and Merino sheep at Suratgarh, Jaitsar and Bikaner. Some important mills for making Woolen thread established in desert area are: Jodhpur Woolen Mill, Jodhpur; Rajasthan Woolen Mill, Bikaner and India Woolen Mill, Bikaner. Bikaner is the biggest mandi (market place) of wool in Asia.[19] The live stock depends for grazing on common lands in villages. During famine years in the desert the nomadic rebari people move with large herds of sheep and camel to the forested areas of south Rajasthan or nearby states like Madhya Pradesh for grazing the cattle. The importance of animal husbandry can be understood from the organization of large number of cattle fairs in the region. Cattle fairs are normally named after the folk-deities. Some of major cattle fairs held are Ramdevji cattle fair at Manasar in Nagaur district, Tejaji cattle fair at Parbatsar in Nagaur district, Baldeo cattle fair at Merta city in Nagaur district, Mallinathcattle fair at Tilwara in barmer district. Live stock is very important to the Thar desert people.
  • 29. Lopping of Khejri tree for fodder and fuel in Harsawa village