Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) in 1980 based upon a survey and, review of the available literature on physiographic, climate, soil, and other factors affecting agriculture, divided Pakistan in 10 agro-ecological regions and are described briefly as follows:
Agro-Ecological Region – I (Indus Delta) comprises of areas from the districts of Thatta, Badin and Hyderabad. Soils of this region are clayey and silty. The climate is arid tropical marine with moderately hot summer and mild winter. The clayey soils are under irrigated cultivation to grow rice, sugarcane, pulses, banana and some other fruits plants. During winter, Trifloium, Lens culinaris and Lathyrus sativa are cultivated.
Agro-Ecological Region – II (Southern Irrigated Plain) comprises of areas from the districts of Hyderabad, Badin, Tharparker, Sangher, Dadu, Khairpur, Larkana, Nawabshah, Jacobabad, Sukkar, Rahim Yar Khan, Sibi and Shikarpur. The main soils are calcareous, silt loam and silty clays with weak structure and good porosity. The climate is arid subtropical continental with hot summer and mild winters. Canal irrigated agriculture is the predominant land use of the region. Cotton, wheat, mustard, sugarcane and clover are the main crops in the left bank of the Indus. Rice, wheat, chickpea and clover are grown on the right bank. In areas with little water, sorghum is grown.
Agro-Ecological Region – III (A) Sandy Desertsregion includes the areas from Tharparker, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Sanghar, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and BahawalNagar, Thar and Cholistan desert is a part of the great Indus Desert. The climate is arid (desert) sub-tropical with very hot summer and mild winter. Main land use of the region is grazing but guar, millet and castor are grown. In south-eastern part of the region, where rainfall is about 300mm, wheat is also an important crop on loamy soils and castor on sandy loam soils.
Agro-Ecological Region – III (B) Sandy Deserts comprises the sandy deserts from the districts of Muzaffarabad, Mianwali and Sargodha. The climate is arid to semi-arid subtropical continental. The northern part of the region, with a rainfall of 300 to 350 mm is mainly used for chickpea cultivation. Some area is under canal irrigation to grow cotton, sugarcane, guar, millet and wheat.
Agro-Ecological Region – IV (A) Northern Irrigated Plain most of the area in the province of Punjab is located in this region. The districts of Peshawar and Mardan in theNorth West Frontier Province (NWFP) are also included. This region has semi-aridsubtropical continental type of climate. This is the major agricultural production area with anumber of crops like wheat, maize, rice, sugarcane, barley, cotton and many minor crops. The orchards of citrus and mango are important while in NWFP areas, pear, plums, tobaccoand groundnut are also grown.
Agro-Ecological Region – IV (B): The half saucer shaped alluvial valley of Peshawar is drained by Kabul, Swat and Kalapani rivers. This area has semi-arid (Steppe) sub-tropical continental type of climate, with little rain both in winter and summer. The main crops are sugarcane, maize, tobacco, wheat and clover. Sugar beet is recent introduction in the area. Considerable area is under fruit orchards of pears and plums. Some areas in the northern part are dry where wheat, millet, chickpea and groundnut are grown.
Agro-Ecological Region – V (Barani Areas):This region comprises of areas from the districts of D.I. Khan, Bannu, Mianwali, Attock, Abbottabad, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujrat, Gujranwala and Sialkot. The region comprises of salt range, Pothwar Plateau and the Himalayan Piedmont plains. A small narrow belt lying along the foot of the mountains is nearly humid, with hot summer and cold winters while the southern part of the zone is semi-arid and hot. A large proportion of the area comprises gullied land. The main crops of the region are wheat, rice, maize, millet, sorghum, oilseeds pulses and fodder.
Agro-Ecological Region – VI (Wet Mountains): This region comprises of areas from Rawalpindi, Murree, Hazara and Mansehra. The region comprises high maintains and plateaus and therefore, the climate is undifferentiated. Approximately 25% of the area is under rainfed cultivation, the main crops being maize, wheat and rice. Fruit orchards of apple, plum, peach, apricots are abundant in this area.
Agro-Ecological Region – VII (Northern Dry Mountains): The region comprises of
Gilgit, Baltistan, Chitral, Dir and areas of Swat valley, Karakorum Mountains and spurs of
Hindukush border the syntaxical bend. Enclosed by high mountains, the valleys are characterized by extreme aridity. The summer is mild and winter is cold. Maize, wheat, rice, finger millet, barley, buckwheat, and a number of temperate fruits and nuts are characteristic of this area. This area is rich in crop, fruit and nut genetic resources.
Agro-Ecological Region – VIII (Western dry Mountains): This area lies to the south of SafedKoh and to the west of Indus including districts of Kohat, Bannu, Tribal Areas, Zhob, Loralai, Kalat, Sibi, Quetta and Kacchi. The greater part of the area can be described as semi-arid, high land, with mild summer and cold winter. Wheat, maize, alfalfa and temperate fruits are the major agricultural crops.
Agro-Ecological Region – IX (Dry Western Plateau): The region comprises mountainous areas with inter-mountain basins and plateau from the districts of Karachi, Dadu, Makran, Kharan, Chagai and Lasbella. The region has arid (desert) tropical type of climate with constantly dry season. The soils of the plain areas are deep, strongly calcareous silt loams.
The lower parts of the hills and higher parts of the plains have gravelly soils. Fruits, vegetables and wheat are grown wherever water is available from springs or kareezs. The other crops are sorghum, millet, castor bean, etc.
Agro-Ecological Region – X (Sulaiman Piedmont): It comprises the piedmont plains of the Sulaiman Range, sloping towards the Indus River. The climate of the region is arid, hot and subtropical continent. Torrent – watered cultivation is the main land use, under which wheat, sorghum, millets and chickpeas are grown. Rice is grown in a narrow strip forming the junction of piedmont and river plains.