A. Physical environment
5. Species diversity
The diversity of mammal, bird, fish, reptile, amphibian, invertebrate and flora species in Pakistan, and especially in NWFP, is very rich. A brief description of some of those species is given below.
Roberts (1977) provided a detailed description of mammals in Pakistan, listing 158 species in 10 out of 18 known orders. They include the brown bear, stoat, greater white-grey long-earned bat and ibex, leopard cat, goral, snow leopard, Altai weasel and the long-tailed marmot found in far north Chitral of Kohistan. The Himalayan moist and semi-moist temperate forests of NWFP have perhaps the richest mammalian communities of all the ecosystems of Pakistan, including the Kashmir grey langur, rhesus macaque, gray wolf, Kashmir red fox, Himalayan black bear, stone marten, yellow-throated marten, leopard, leopard cat, musk deer, gray goral, Royle's pika, Indian giant flying squirrel, small Kashmir flying squirrel and Indian crested porcupine (Dijk and others, 1994).
Roberts (1991-1992) provided a detailed list of 666 bird species found in Pakistan. Birds like cranes, ducks, raptors and passerines are found in NWFP. Migratory birds such as the bustard, quail, falcon, waterfowl and dove visit the province from as far away as the Russian-Siberian plain. In winter, from September to November, they migrate towards the south through NWFP, retracing their route in March-April on their return (Environmental Profile of NWFP, 1994).
(a) Reptiles and amphibians
A total of 174 species of reptiles have been recorded in Pakistan. As with other groups, these species are a blend of Palaearctic and Indo-Malayan forms. Mallon (1991) does not list any reptile species endemic to NWFP but states that current research on the herpeto fauna of Pakistan could identify new endemic species. Of the seven internationally threatened reptiles found in Pakistan only one, the central Asian cobra, is native to in NWFP. But its status is poorly known. Information on the amphibians of NWFP is unavailable.
Fish are an important natural resource of NWFP. The main potential sources are rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, ponds and water-logged areas. Trout, a speciality of the province, are mostly available in the northern districts of NWFP, i.e., Kaghan, Kohistan, Swat, Dir and Chitral where the water temperature ranges from 1 to 4EC.
In Pakistan, 156 native freshwater species (plus several species introduced for sport fishing) are recorded by Mallon (1991). The fish fauna is predominantly South Asian with some West Asian and high Asian elements. Mainly Central and West Asian fish species are found in NWFP. The mountain ranges along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border form a contact zone between the two faunas. Fish diversity is high in the Himalayan foothills in Hazara, Malakand, Swat and Peshawar. The diversity is lowest in the mountain zone of the northern mountains.
Previously, only capture fisheries was practiced in NWFP. Recently, fish culture activities have been encouraged; as a result, fish farming has been established in Mardan, Charsadda, D.I. Khan and Swat. Development of the fisheries sector has made a significant socio-economic impact on the local population through increased job opportunities. According to the NWFP Planning, Environment and Development Department (1995/96) and the NWFP Bureau of Statistics (1995/96a) revenue earned from fisheries was rupees 2,746,000. Trout farming in Swat was initiated with assistance from the Asian Development Bank in 1980. To further promote fish farming, the Asian Development Bank project "Second Pak-Aquaculture Development in NWFP" allocated PRs 84 million. Under an extension services programme the Fisheries Department provides advisory services to fish farmers on all aspects of water analysis and seed transportation.
Mallon (1991) reviewed the invertebrate diversity of NWFP, and found that some of the butterfly species were endemic in the north-west Himalayan and Hindu Kush mountains. Several species occur in Chitral: Aporia nabellica hesba, Colias alpherakyi chitralica. Maniola davendrachitralica, Hipparchia boloricus chitralica, and Erebia kalinda chitralica. At least four species of Apollo butterfly occur in Chitral: Parnassius tianshanicabaroghila, P. actius sulla, P. delphius chitralica, and P. charltonius ducalis.