Agriculture is the major sector of Pakistan’s economy. It contributes 25% of GDP. About 70% of population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. Pakistan has 22.6 m ha of cultivated land which is about 25% of the total land area of the country. Per capita arable land in 1981 was 0.23 ha which declined to 0.16 ha. This is much below the estimated average of 0.6 ha per capita from which dietary requirement can be met with traditional agriculture. Therefore, there is no alternate but to increase the out put of existing arable land through technological innovation.
The soil is a nonrenewable natural resource and both soil and water are showing signs of degradation. Decline in productivity is corollary to this degradation. Various ailments causing soil degradation in the country include water and wind erosion, salinity, sodicity, water logging, nutrient depletion, compaction, crusting and lowering of water table under the prevailing management and ecological conditions. Soil is also an ultimate sink for various agrochemicals and industrial/urban contaminants. The concern regarding the deterioration of safe environment is growing with the passage of time and measures must be taken to safeguard the environment against the pollution. There is a dire need to safeguard the precious, nonrenewable natural resource, i.e. the soil, against degradation, enhance its productivity potential on sustainable basis while protecting the environment through development of suitable technologies and management practices.
Since, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad is a primary seat for training human resource base and research; therefore, it was imperative to strengthen various disciplines/sections in the Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, pertaining to soil productivity enhancement, conservation of soil and water resources from natural and human induced degradation.