The Ancient Trees Heritage of Borai ~ Arya Warsha


Trees are very important, that we all know. They are important because of many reasons, i.e. shade, fruits, feed for animals, fixing atmospheric carbon & producing oxygen, fixing land, purifying/halting winds, providing habitats to insects, birds, reptiles and other animals, scenic attraction, herbal value, building material and anymore.

Old Trees Heritage
Trees are very important from many angles. Fixing atmospheric carbon, producing oxygen, provision of shadow, producing fruits/fodders for human and animals both can be the few characteristics of the tree but there are many more apparent and hidden purposes of the trees.

Borai is an ancient traditional grazing and farming land, an offshoot of the historical Arya Warsha (the grazing lands). http://livestockscience.in/wp-content/uploads/2011/00_slutversion_after_revision_av_Raigi_camel_till_J_Livestock_science.pdf

The trees are a precious heritage and social treasures. We have great affection with the trees, especially the ancient trees. Our elders were used to sit under these trees making Jirga (Pashtun traditional jury) and other social event. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jirga

Trees are the fixed tents of the people to sit under and take refuge from scorching sunshine and rains. This tree is an old mulberry tree. Once, our village people were used to feed the mulberry leaves to the silkworms. I remember that golden time.

This is an ancient tree, Mulberry. The trees is almost 300 years. The elders people told that the tree is always harmed by thunder storms, which burns the trunk. The tree is hard and resilient.
An ancient mulberry tree (Thooth) in Borai. This tree is at the bank of Zingiwall Karez in Uryagi moza.

Go Home Message

Trees are the sign of life and health of mother earth. Unfortunately the human activities are adversely affecting the health of the mother earth. These trees are at the bank of the Karez (traditional water channel), which are drying because of the over exploitation/mining of the water and the overall climate change calamities. We need to save these trees. I met to the many owners/community of the trees to aware them about the importance and to think about the ways to conserve. They are earth loving people and they are ready to save each ancient tree.

Arya Warsha – The Cradle of Livestock Domestication


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The Bakhtria Kingdom of Ancient Time

Where is Arya Warsha?

Arya Warsha is the ancient habitat where many of the livestock’s ancestors are still found (Afghan ureal, Suleiman Markhur etc), a cradle of domestication (livestock and plants genetic resources), and centre of animal agriculture. Ancient Greeks referred to the land between Central Asia and Indus as Ariana, the land of the Arya (Afghan, Baloch, and Iranian people). As per narrated in the ancient Avesta, Ahura Mazda, or God, created the land of the Aryans surrounded by concentric rings of land and sea. Arya Warsha was actually an ancient part of the Bakhtria, situated in the northeast of the kingdom. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_history_of_Afghanistan

Warsha is ancient word, still in use among Pashtun Pastoralists for the grazing lands or pastures. The pastures of Arya are called as Warsha. The Warsha dominantly used for sheep grazing it is called MURGHA. We have many MURGHA in northern Balochistan (Pashtun dominant region known as Janobi Pashtunkhawa.

Livestock Breeds of Arya Warsha

Arya Warsha is predominately inhibited by sheep breeds, followed by goat (mostly in mountainous parts), cattle (rivers), Yaks (highlands), Camel (both Dromedary and Bactrian), horses, donkey, chicken, and Buffalo (rivers and mountains). Azakheli is the unique and only native buffalo breed. The famous Afghan shepherd dog is also found in the region, mainly with the Afghan kuchis. In the link provided, provides the details of the livestock breeds of the region. https://dry-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/091220_potential_of_livestock_breeds_of_Baluchistan_final_.pdf

The historical cradle of livestock domestication is under the severe climate change challenge

The atrocities of climate change are emerging with multi-dimensional outcomes in different parts of the world with different intensities and level of losses. The historical Arya region is one of the worst affected ecosystems. This region is the historical homeland of some very precious livestock species and cradle of domestication. The region is the birthplace of Bactrian camel, Yak, sheep, goat, and horses. The regions are well known for its sheep and cattle culture mainly depending on grasses. In the due course of speedy climate change, the rangelands of the region lost many grass varieties and quantity produced per unit of land. Low rain falls, erratic rains, and unseasonal rains are the main drivers of the climate change while hot spells are catalysts in killing grass varieties and eroding soil.

camel pic

The Sheep and Cattle Herbivores are Under Serious Threat

The sheep and cattle industry of the indigenous breeds is under threat. The drought cycles hit the region resulted in the loss of the sheep and cattle. Three species like Camel, goat and donkey are the most resilience to this climate change. Camel is unique because of the long walking ability and resistance to water & feed scarcity as their special traits.

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Camel can be a Silver Lining in the Cloud

A camel can be a good player if explored to ensure food security in such a climate change scenario because of special traits. Unfortunately, the policy makers of the region have never placed camel at its proper place while fabricating policy regarding agricultural development. Authors have striven for years to bring camel in the mainstream of the policy makers but yet need more to be done.

For further reading

Khurasani or Khorasani Goat Breed


Khurasani goat is one of the most important breeds of the historical land of Arya Warsha. This breed of goat is well adapted to the climatic conditions of the region and support the food security with its specialized milk and meat. The goat keepers make Kurath from the milk when it is abundantly available in favorable season.

Khorasani/Khurasani goat being reared by some families for milk. Photo credit: Ellen Geerlings

Habitat

The historic lands of Khurasan/Khorasan (now in Pak and Afghanistan), Toba Kakar range, Suleiman mountains region of Zhob and Sherani districts, Killa Saifullah, Loralai, Ziarat, Chaghai and Pishin districts are the main niche of the breed. This habitat is the famous and historical land of ARYA WARSHA. The breed is equally raised by nomadic, semi-nomadic, agro-pastoral tribes of Pashtoon people. The Baloch tribes of Chaghai-Kharan desert also raise this breed. The nomads with Khurasani breed move from Khurasan in autumn and may reach to Indus delta and some tribes reach to Chaghai-Kharan desert. The breed is trans-boundary. This breed is mainly a nomadic breed.

This photo was shot in Loralai, a goat grazer is milking Khurasani goat for making tea.

Phenotypic characteristics

The phenotypic characteristics of the Khurasani breed are black long hair coat, turned back horns and fine second hair coat in winter. The breed is predominantly black in color with a red face but some other color is also found occasionally. The males have beard also.

Vegetation of the Region

Acacia modesta, Caragana ambigua, Bararr, Gurgulla, Sarwane, Showan, Wanna, Barrai, Ghalmi, Shorai, Lani, Azghai, Sassi, Ghaz, Korai, Sperbutai, Oma, Murgha, Tarkha and Zizyphus.

Population of Khorasani Goat

The population of the goat is hard to predict, because of the widely scattered and mobile nature of the Khorasani goat as it is reared both by the transshipmentry and nomadic people. . It is estimated about 2.7 million. The trend is increasing.

The goat produce Pashmina in winter. Some NGOs are helping people to comb and harvest the pashmina. Photo credit: Ellen Geerlings

Special traits

  • The animal of this breed is highly intelligent, making it safe
  • The Khorasani goat is loving to her soul and take care of herself, can find vegetation and water
  • Always lead other livestock towards water and vegetation
  • Close to wild ancestors and highly resistant to diseases
  • Can travel long
They have great diversity among the breed. Khurasani breed of goat. Photo credit: Ellen Geerlings

Hope options

Goat is a more effective tool against drought as the breed can better thrive on the drought and climate resilient vegetation (bushes and shrubs) of the region.

Economic importance

The male animals are the major source of earning. The animal is smaller in size and cannot attain as higher prices as Kohe-Suleimani goat. Moreover, it is good in milk production, and milk is used for by-products like ghee and Kurath. The goat also produces pashmina, but the importance of pashmina is not yet being realized. The hair is used for making ropes and tents.