Cholistan desert, being a very unique eco-zone of Pakistan, enjoys a very special status of its own kind. Its biological resources are confronted with multiple stresses of long droughts, increased salinity, high temperature, a very low rainfalls ratio and enhanced grazing pressure. Therefore, the plant species have developed very typical xeric genetic adaptation to cope with these highly stressed environmental conditions. After sufficient rains, this desert flourishes into a good grazing ground and becomes an incredibly good supply line of animals and their by-products reaching to all major cities of the country, as well as neighboring states.
To alleviate the sufferings of poor inhabitants of Cholistan desert, the Islamia University of Bahawalpur has established the Cholistan Institute of Desert Studies (CIDS) in 1982-83. The major object of this institute is to undertake useful scientific planning and research, to restore and rehabilitate the dwindling biological resources and minimize the sufferings of the peoples of desert area. The institute comprises of a Biological Division, Physical Sciences Division and Socio-economic Division.
The Institute initiated a number of useful projects pertaining to the exploration and utilization of desert's inherent genetic resources as no credible benchmark of this type was already available.
Currently, the floral wealth is being given the highest priority along with multi-disciplinary research activities.