The arid zone of India covers about 12% of the country's geographical area and occupies over 31.7 m ha of hot desert and about 7 m ha is under cold desert. The production and life support systems in the hot regions are constrained by low and erratic precipitation (100-420 mm/year), high evapotranspiration (1500-2000 mm/year), and poor soil physical and fertility conditions. The local inhabitants have evolved suitable landuse and management systems of farming, pastoralism and animal husbandry; of late, these local survival systems have become inadequate to fulfill the ever increasing needs. This has resulted in over-exploitation of the resources causing rapid and widespread land degradation and decline in productivity. To arrest this degradation process and for scientific and sustainable management of the resources, Desert Afforestation Station was established in 1952 at Jodhpur. This was later expanded into Desert Afforestation and Soil Conservation Station in 1957, and finally upgraded to Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) in 1959 under Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi. The CAZRI operates through Six Divisions, located at the headquarters in Jodhpur. There are five Regional Research Stations located in different agro-climatic zones to work on location-specific problems.
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