The Central Arid Zone Research Institute was established by the Government of India in 1952 in Jodhpur, a city in the state of Rajasthan. It was previously known as Desert Afforestation Research Station until it was renamed in 1959.
The arid zone of India covers about 12% of the country's geographical area and occupies over 31.7 m ha of hot desert and about 7 m ha is under cold desert. The production and life support systems in the hot regions are constrained by low and erratic precipitation (100-420 mm/year), high evapotranspiration (1500-2000 mm/year), and poor soil physical and fertility conditions. The local inhabitants have evolved suitable landuse and management systems of farming, pastoralism and animal husbandry; of late, these local survival systems have become inadequate to fulfill the ever increasing needs. This has resulted in over-exploitation of the resources causing rapid and widespread land degradation and decline in productivity.
The objectives of the Institute are to find ways to stabilising shifting sand dunes, establishing silipastoral and firewood plantations, planting windbreaks to reduce wind speed and subsequent erosion, rehabilitating degraded forests and starting afforestation of barren hill slopes.
It has a small pictorial museum with a photographic exhibition illustrating the institute's work.