lands and brackish water for growing plants of economic
importance to reduce pressure on fertile lands and sweet
halophytes to serve as a source of fodder, forage, biofuel,
oil seeds, medicinal plants and other possible usages.
Rationale behind establishing
Planet earth is a
very salty place to live - almost 3/4th is covered with
water most of which is in saline seas and salt lakes
etc., while estimates show a sizeable area of land affected
by salinity and more being lost to secondary salinization.
The subsoil water
in areas not recharged with fresh water is also generally
of poor quality and inimical for most plants of
Opening new lands
for cultivation is not without dire ecological consequences
while finding additional fresh water resources is a
search for suitable alternatives to meet the demands
of burgeoning population and directs attention
to the natural vegetation of those habitats which
have been degraded by salinity.
The concept of establishing
an elaborate facility for research on the hitherto under
explored potential of halophytes was hence developed
and the Institute of Sustainable Halophyte Utilization
came into being with support from the University of
Karachi and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.
Research at the Institute
will explore the potential of halophytes for the benefit of
mankind and focus on a comprehensive approach to understanding
the mechanisms of salt tolerance in these plants
through eco-physiological studies supported by biochemical,
genetical and molecular arguments governing various responses.