Islamic Republic of Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran, with a total land area of 1,648,195 square
kilometres, lies between 25º 00´ and 39º 47´ N and 44º 02´ and 63º 20´
E. Thus the southern half of the country is in the subtropical zone and
the northern half of the country in the temperate zone with a desert zone
in the middle of the country around 30º N. The country has on the north
east side, the desert and steppe of
Figure 1 Map of
The mean altitude is over 1,200 metres above sea level. The lowest inland point is in Chale Lut, 56 metres below sea level and the highest point is Damavand Mount, 5,610 metres. The coast of the Caspian Sea is 28 metres below mean sea level.
The mean annual rainfall is about 246 mm. The total annual volume of
precipitation equals 413 billion cubic metres of which 44.5 billion could
be controlled and managed for utilization. Presently, 36.5 billion cubic
metres of underground water (total of 81 billion cubic metres) are utilized;
this could be developed to 116 billion before 2021.
Of the total land area, some 90 million hectares or 54.6% are rangeland; 12.4 million hectares or 7.5% are forests; 34 million hectares equal to 20.6% are deserts. Settlements, infrastructures and water bodies occupy some 10.1 million ha. Approximately 33 million hectares of the land area have average to good capacity for cultivation but just 18.5 million hectares are cultivated of which 8.5 million are irrigated (irrigated farming 5.2 million ha and irrigated gardens 1.1 million hectares and irrigated fallows 2.2 million hectares) and 10 million hectares are rain-fed.
In 2000 about 10.27 million hectares were under annual crops, 7.011 million hectares equal to 68.27% was under cereals, some 53.97% irrigated and 46.03% rain-fed. Cereal production reached 12.86 million tons equal to 28.76% of annual crops; wheat , barley and rice are the commonest, respectively producing 62.87%,15.32% and 13.11% of the cereals; wheat is grown on 72.75% of cereal farms. Table 3. shows the production of some of the major crops in 1999 (a drought year).
The average area of farms in 1992, shown in Table 4, indicates 60% are smaller than four hectares.
All agricultural lands are owned by the people, except a very small portion which belongs to government bodies i.e. banks, the agricultural complexes of the Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture. Natural resources, i.e. forests, rangelands and deserts belong to the government but are exploited by people through a contract. For grazing lands, the Technical Bureau of Rangelands, through its district staff, identifies lawful livestock holders and then issues a grazing permit to the stock owner for a set period which should be extended each year. In order to have better management of rangelands, a range development plan would be formulated and based on that plan, a contract would be signed by the stock owners and the government Forest, Rangeland and Watershed management Organisation Ministry of Jihad e Agriculture (FRWO) provincial head in order to ensure the stock owner invests in development and improvement of rangeland instead of just exploitation.
Sheep and goat are the commonest livestock; cattle, buffalo, camels, asses and mules are also kept. The number of Animal Units (AU: a sheep of 45 kg which requires 276.5 kg TDN per year) in the country is some eighty three million. Range can meet the requirements of only 37 million animal units for a period of 7 months, so there are some 46 million Animal Units excess on rangelands. Based on a study conducted by the Natural Resources Faculty University of Tehran, an economic size of rangeland exploitation is some 536 ha with 230 AU. It suggests that the range can meet the requirements of only 180,000 households whereas there are 916,000 households at present.
Although, many measures have been taken to develop the standard of living of livestock raisers, there is still lots of work to do. The standard of living of most rural people is, of course, acceptable because they live in population centres and thus they enjoy the facilities provided by the government much better than do mobile pastoralists who are far from cities and villages, so access to facilities is difficult.
A major problem that pastoralists, both sedentary and mobile, face is the lack of a marketing system, thus they have problems in meeting their needs by trading their products. In some places cooperatives and companies go to the pastoralists to collect their surplus production. Sedentary pastoralists have fewer problems in selling their products and buying their requirements where mobile pastoralists often have to go to towns to buy their needs during their seasonal migration.
Although Table 5 suggests that
Figure 2. Altitude classes in Iran
Topography generally affects climate and soils and plays a considerable role in the differentiation and distribution of climates and vegetation zones. For example, the Caspian zone is humid, due to the high Alborz mountain range. In the Sefid-Rud valley as a result of the low altitude, dry winds from the interior move towards Guilan, creating an area of low rainfall which extends up to some 40 kilometres from Rasht (Capital of Guilan Province). The great chain of Albors and Zagros forms a “V shaped” natural barrier which inhibits the humid winds of the southwest and prevents the majority of clouds from reaching the centre of the country, so steppes and deserts are created.
Because of their height, parts of
Due to the great variations in altitude in mountainous regions, quite different types of vegetation are found over relatively short distances from one another, a factor which encourages the seasonal flock movement. The most outstanding feature in the topography of the Central Plateau is its microrelief which is the outcome of a series of geomorphologic processes, such as erosion, drainage, and peneplanization, which are still in full action. This has led to differentiation of the plateau into a series of habitats that differ from each other in the physical and chemical properties of their soils including salt-moisture relations. This series starts from the foot of each mountain ridge or block and ends in the deepest depressions of the alluvial basins. The rocky slopes of the ridges are often bare or very poorly vegetated. At the base of the hills the talus (the accumulated boulders and coarse stones) is a most promising habitat for more shrubby elements of the steppe, such as the Artemisia - Pteropyrum community which often grows here, and some shrubby elements including Astragalus, Amygdalus, Lyciu and Ficus carica var. rupestris.
North-facing slopes are moister than those facing south and their vegetation
is generally denser. This is particularly evident in the high mountains
because snow lies longer on north-facing slopes .
Many plants and among them good forage or woody species, prefer
warmth and sun. On the hills of southern
The steepest slopes will also usually be the poorest in vegetation because of more intense water run-off and erosion. Overgrazing is, however, more intense on gently sloping land and in almost any place where dry farming is possible the land has been worked as high as the slopes permit. Topography and even micro-topography play an important role in the conservation of the best species. It is often on the slopes, sometimes quite steep and much eroded, that the good forage plants and the last forest remnants of a region are present. The surviving good plants of a large flat region can often be found on one small bank. The now uncultivated flat lands are so compacted by the herds that infiltration and aeration are insufficient to allow the development of normal vegetation. This explanation is not, by itself, sufficient and vestigial perennial grasses of a region can often be found on slight slopes, often facing south, which – apart from the topography - do not differ from the surrounding flat land. The most typical case can be observed 90 kilometres west of Kerman city where the only vestigial Aristida plumosa are found on a very gentle slope (hardly 10%) covering a few square metres, without any particular pedological differentiation.
In dry or arid regions of the Middle East, the search for native plants is in general more fruitful on slopes than on flat land. Numerous species that could well grow on flat land are now found almost exclusively on the more or less eroded slopes. The micro-relief - i.e. difference in level of a few centimetres only - appears to have an influence which is progressively stronger as the micro-climates become more arid; the presence of a few small pebbles is often sufficient to prevent the destruction of seedlings.
Most of the soils of the area are lithosols due to heavy erosion which does not allow profile development. Other soils are alluvial-colluvial with steady rejuvenation of the profile and which occur in a variety of forms not always well differentiated by the pedologist, but readily distinguished from one another by vegetation.
Climatically, the soils of
a) Brown Forest Soil. This is the soil of deciduous forest of the most mesic type both in the Caspian and reportedly also in the Zagros mountains. It is sometimes mixed with podzolic soils from which it is not easily distinguished. It is confined to areas with high precipitation, part of which falls in summer. Generally, it has a well developed profile with a humiferous A- horizon, moderately acid to alkaline. Beech and Oak forests are the characteristic climax vegetation of the soil. At present, the typical brown forest soil is less extensive than its more ruined or skeletal derivative (lithosol facies), or its alluvial variety deposited in the intermountain valleys. Here it occurs as fine textured soil which is largely under cultivation.
b) Chestnut soil. It develops under humid climatic conditions
from various parent materials such as limestone and igneous rocks. It
is characterized by the dark brown or dark greyish-brown surface horizon.
The lower subsoil is strongly calcareous. The chestnut soils, as the other
soils, occur in
c) Rendzinas. True rendzinas developing from soft marly
limestones are confined to humid or semi humid areas. They are generally
characterized by their dark-coloured usually calcareous surface horizon
which sharply contrasts with the marly or chalky white parent rock. In
These are the soils that fill the great plains and valleys. They are partly formed in situ, but largely transported from the mountains and redeposited, and thereby physically changed. There is no mature profile in these soils because of the steady rejuvenation of the upper horizons. Alluvial soils in this sense, do not include hydromorphic deposits, they are ecologically zonal soils, because they are apt to harbour plant communities of the same regional vegetation complex as the adjacent mountains that supply the soil material. Examples are alluvial soils of the intermountain valleys of the Zagros and Alborz mountains, which support the same forest type that grows in similar altitudes of adjacent mountains. Actually no natural vegetation has been left in most of these alluvial plains. In this variety, one should include the terraces of the mountain slopes which have been under cultivation since time immemorial and are inhabited by a particular weed flora. The alluvial soils in the above sense are not typological units in themselves. They are a derived form of the oropedic group just as the lithosols are another derivative of this or another regional soil group.
The bulk of
Figure 3. Calcareous Lithosol soils in desert and sierozems soils
a- Sierozems are typical steppe soils. They are mostly
oropedic, shallow, with an A - C profile, almost devoid of a humiferous
layer, and grey in colour. They are mostly highly calcareous, free or
almost free from injurious salts. They develop under arid conditions with
rainfall not exceeding 250 mm, with cool to cold winters and hot and dry
summers. Sierozems may occur in a variety of forms caused by topography
and nature of the parent rock. In
b- Brown soils. Brown soils are formed under more favourable
climatic conditions than sierozems, but are still marginal for arboreal
c-Loess and loess-like Soils. A type of soil reminiscent of loess has been observed in several localities, south of Alborz mountains and in the adjacent valleys. This aeolic soil has a yellowish-brown colour and is deposited mainly as desert dust in valleys on the outer fringe of the desert. It is no doubt confused with brown soils and sierozems. Loess is a fine-grained soil with a medium clay / silt ratio and a high proportion of fine sand. The profile shows almost no differentiation into horizons.
d-Hammadas. Most of the hammadas are confined to the intermountain valleys and drier parts of the Central Plateau. They are greyish-brown, calcareous soils with a fairly high content of silt and clay mixed with and covered by pebbles of various rock materials (desert pavement). Hammadas are generally poorly vegetated because of the low rainfall. This soil could be looked upon as an alluvial phase of the sierozem, formed through the perpetual process of erosion. Hammadas are generally exposed to deflation by wind so that the soil particles are blown away and deposited elsewhere, where the plant cover is more able to protect the soil. The subsoil may sometimes differ from the surface layer. It may be loessy or marly or it may be provided with a gypsic crust. Because of the low rainfall, soil moisture decreases with depth. Hammadas are typically desert or steppe soils. Vegetation where existent is made up of dwarf shrubs mainly of the Artemisia class. Density of vegetation varies with moisture. In extreme cases, such as in Dasht-e-Lut, there are immense stretches of altogether bare hammadas.
a) Hydromorphic soils. This type includes the soils
of fresh water swamps and river banks. These soils are largely hydromorphous
not only by the way of their transportation and deposition but also by
their pedogenesis and physical properties. Their inclusion within the
group of interregional soils is due to the fact that the high moisture
content in its various manifestations affects plant life in the same way
under various climatic conditions so that vegetation in such soils is
largely uniform over wide areas and in several regions. In
b) Halomorphic soils. This type comprises saline soils,
both solonchaks and solonetzs. The largest part of saline soils in
According to their hydromorphous relations these salines may be subdivided
into automorphous and hydromorphous varieties. The former are those in
which salinity stems from the local parental rock or other saline deposits
that had not been leached out. In hydromorphous salines, soil formation
is strongly affected by the presence and movements of water, such as surface
deposition of salts through capillary rise in high ground-water salines
or through seasonal flooding or disappearance of ephemeral water bodies
by evaporation. All these kinds of salines are richly represented in
The halophytic vegetation of
Solonetz soil (black alkali) are characterized
by high pH values (up to 9 and 9.5); they contain exchangeable sodium
in the absorption complex in an amount sufficient to interfere with plant
growth. The clay in such soils is easily dispersed, and hence their puddled
and sticky appearance, their low permeability, and their low air content.
When dry, the soils show a prismatic, columnar structure. So far, insufficient
data exists as to the distribution of this type of saline in
c) Dunes and sandy soils.
Since Iran is in the arid zone, some 65% of its territory is arid or hyper arid, and approximately 85% has an arid, semi-arid or hyper arid environment (Figure 4), the specific features and location of Iran causes it to receive less than a third of the world average precipitation. Only the Caspian Plain in the north receives more than 1,000 mm of rain annually. Two major mountain ranges affect the climate: the Zagros chain in the west and the Alborz in the north. Most humid clouds enter the country from the west but the mountains prevent them from reaching the centre, east and south. Therefore, the central and southern lowlands and the east of the country receive very little precipitation. Due to shortage of precipitation and its uneven distribution in these areas, most rivers are seasonal and their flows depend heavily on the amount of rainfall: if rainfall is above average, flash floods are common.
Based on the data published by the Water Resource Management Organization,
the mean annual rainfall of the country over a 35 year period is 249 mm,
but as shown in Figure 5 the variation of rainfall is very high between
years; thus the country sometimes experiences drought, which is when the
rainfall is below 75% of the long term mean. Rainfall varies both temporally
and spatially, i.e. some places at the Caspian sea
coast receive over 1,000 mm, while some have below 50 mm in central
The main factors determining the broad climatic zones are:
Figure 4. Distribution
of arid and hyper arid areas of
Figure 5. Mean Annual Rainfall of the country
Between these regions, so radically different, the great mass of
Map of rainfall classes of
The main climatic zones are considered to be:
i) Caspian Zone (Caucasian and mid-European affinities, slightly Mediterranean on the coast). Annual precipitation between 600 and 2,000 mm with a minimum in June but no real drought, maximum in autumn. Relative humidity generally above 80%. Mild or cold winters. Mean temperature in January below 8 ºC. Mean temperature in July below 26 ºC; annual temperature range (continental) between 16 and 19 ºC. Towards the east (Gorgan) the climate is drier and a little more continental (transitional towards the Irano-Turanian climate).
ii) Baluchi Zone (Saharo-Sindian and subtropical affinities).
Annual precipitation below 300 mm (generally less than 200 mm) almost entirely in winter (six to eight months without precipitation), but high relative humidity (60% to 80%). Fairly warm winters; mean temperature for January above 15 ºC; average for July less than 34 ºC; annual temperature range (continental) between 10 and 18 ºC. This zone is typically east of Lengeh port - Khuzistan coast is not part of it, as Boushehr port is the western limit of the zone; in the east it forms a much larger strip.
iii) Irano-Turanian Zone (slight Mediterranean affinities).
Extremely variable precipitation, generally between 100 and 500 mm; maximum in winter or spring. At least three summer months of total drought extending up to nine months in the most arid regions (Figure 6). Relative humidity in winter between 80% and 55% (central desert) falling in summer to below 40% and down to 20%. Very variable temperatures, depending on the region, but winters generally cold or very cold except in Khuzistan and in the north Baluchi zone (mild winters). Summers extremely hot in the Khuzistan plain (average in July above 36 ºC), very hot in the central depression (more than 30 ºC), hot or quite hot (24 to 29 ºC) everywhere else, except above 2,000 to 2,500 metres altitude. The average annual range of temperatures (continental) varies from 21 to 28 ºC, but is generally more than 24 ºC. Diurnal variations in temperature are also very large. There is a large variability in the precipitation and even winter temperatures from one year to the next.
This vast Irano-Turanian zone, which is shown in Figure 7, covers approximately
a) Subdesertic zone: The most arid part of the central Iranian plateau, with annual precipitation below 100 mm. Average temperature in January between 4 ºC (north) and 10 ºC (south) and the average temperature in July being between 29 and 34 ºC. The towns of Yazd, Bam and Zabol are in this zone.
b) Steppic zone: Surrounding the subdesertic zone and
reaching into the east and south of Khorasan,
into the southwest half of Khuzistan and the north of the Baluchi zone;
covers two-fifths of
c) Substeppic zone: This forms a continuous strip, sometimes very narrow, around the Zagros mountains to the southeast of the Alborz range and extends widely onto the Plateaux of Azerbaijan as well as to the east of Kurdistan; it also extends onto certain mountains of the east and southeast. The towns of Qazvin, Zanjan, Tabriz, Khoy, Urumieh, Hamedan, Arak, Boroujerd, Golpayegan, Shahr-e-kurd, Shiraz, Mashhad, Torbat e Heydariyeh, Bojnourd, Kazeroun, Behbahan and Dezful are in this zone. Annual precipitation between 200 - 230 and - 450 mm, depending on the region. Very variable temperatures especially in winter, depending on altitude and latitude. Here also, it is necessary to distinguish between a “warm sub-steppic zone” (north and east Khuzistan, Kazeroun); a “mild substeppic zone” (Shiraz, Ghasr e shirin, north and east of Gorgan); and a “cold substeppic zone” - by far the largest.
Figure 7. Climatic zones of the country
Figure 8. Bio climatic zones of
d) Xerophilous forest zone: This stretches along the Zagros chain, from Fars to Kurdistan, over mountains in Azerbaijan, forming a narrow strip on the slopes of Alborz and extends to the east of the chain from roughly 800 to 2,600 metres in regions with annual precipitation above 400 mm. Temperatures vary much from north to south, especially according to altitude. Winters are mild on the south-western border of the Zagros and cold or very cold elsewhere.
iv) High mountain zone:
It is very difficult to give details of the climates of high mountains,
as these climates are probably very different according to their northern,
eastern or western aspect. However, it may be assumed that the temperature
drop is about one degree Celsius for each 200 metres and that daily and
yearly variation normally diminishes with increase in altitude. Finally,
the precipitation must decrease above a certain altitude, which we may
very roughly estimate at 2,000 metres, but evaporation also diminishes
with altitude. These climates are therefore progressively colder and drier
with increasing height. Above 3,000 metres in the north of
The classification given above only partially corresponds to those used
by the climatologists; it gives, however, a reasonably clear description
of the great climatic divisions of the country. It has the additional
advantage of corresponding reasonably well to the different types of flora
and natural vegetation found in
Some remarks on the Iranian climate:
Over most of
The efficiency of rain on plants depends not only on its abundance and regularity, but also on mean daily temperatures. Below about 7 ºC the photosynthesis of most species is practically nil. It is only above 10 ºC that active growth can be expected, which becomes progressively more rapid with the increase in temperature. In the south and especially southeast regions with a warm winter, vegetation benefits from the entire period of humidity and annuals are very abundant, whereas in northern regions growth only starts towards the end of the humid period and annuals are generally scarcer. An annual average rainfall of 150 mm in the Baluchi zone can give a rich and fairly dense vegetation, but the same rainfall gives only a poor vegetation to the south near Tehran. Finally, in regions where the spring rains are plentiful, growth is more favoured than where the main precipitation is in winter, especially in the case of annuals and seedlings of perennials.
In regions with long, cold winters and on mountains, accumulation of snow favours perennials as they are thus protected against excessively low temperatures; in addition when slopes are gentle water from melting snow infiltrates almost completely, thus producing a good reserve of water in the subsoil which is tapped by deep-rooted plants in the dry season.
Rainfall is the major determining factor in defining agricultural zones and rainfall in its turn is dependant on physiographic features of the country. As mentioned earlier, there are two major mountain chains, Alborz and Zagros. Alborz stretches west to east in the north near the Caspian Sea, creating a very rainy zone where many kinds of crops, fruits and forests are produced and since crops are common extensive livestock husbandry is only practiced in the uplands where there is little or no cultivation, due to cold weather and unsuitable soils.
The Zagros mountain chain prevents rain clouds entering the country from the west, thus creating a rainy zone and many farms, orchards and forests are there. Crop production is common along with livestock - the summer grazing rangelands are in the high mountainous areas of Zagros and the lowland ranges are usually exploited in winter.
The central part of the country receives very little rainfall, thus the
crop production is limited to places with adequate water from rain or
groundwater. Unsuitable soil is another deterrent to agriculture; there
are many areas of mobile sand dunes across central
The main bioclimatic zones are shown in Figure 8.
(a) Lowest forest belt (reaching approximately 800
to 1,000 metres)
(b) Medium forest belt (approximately 800 to 2,000
(c) Upper forest belt – or the “sub-alpine belt” (approximately
2,000 to 2,700 metres)
The herbaceous vegetation is very rich throughout but varies greatly with the degree of soil humidity and exposure. The dominant perennial grasses are Bromus persicus, Dactylis glomerata, Trisetum sp., Poa spp., Agropyron spp., Festuca spp.. The forage legumes are more or less the same as those of the medium forest belt, but Astragalus are more numerous. In the drier or eroded areas the “tragacanth” vegetation of the high Irano-Turanian mountains appears (Onobrychis cornuta, Astragalus spp.). In fact, this is a much more pastoral rather than forest belt, especially in its upper regions. The rangelands above 2,700 metres are of the “substeppic-alpine” type and more related to the Irano-Turanian zone.
Many tree-like and bushy species are found in this area, almost all of
which are part of the “sahara-sindian” flora, which extends from the Sahara
through Arabia to the south of
Certain families, such as Asclepiadaceae, Verbenaceae, Acanthaceae,
Mimosaceae, Cesalpiniaceae, Capparidaceae, Tiliaceae, are much better
represented than in the other parts of
Perennial grasses are almost all species of warm regions, in particular the Paniceae and Andropogoneae, such as Panicum antidotale, Panicum turgidum, Pennisetum dichotomum, Cenchrus ciliaris, Tricholaena teneriffae, Imperata cylindrica, Saccharum benghalense, Tetrapogon villosus, Eragrostis piercii, Cymbopogon laniger, Aristida pogonoptila, etc. Aristida plumosa is not rare and Aeluropus repens is frequent on saline soils, but these two grasses are mainly common in the Irano-Turanian zone. On the other hand, Bromus, Agropyron, Stipa, Poa, Festuca, are absent from the Baluchi zone.
Perennial legumes are quite common and principally represented by mostly subtropical genera: Taverniera, Indigofera, Tephrosia. There are a few species of Astragalus: Astragalus fasciculifolius, Astragalus squarrosus, etc. Many of these legumes are woody or shrub-like . In some arid sites it is possible to find in one place as many as seven or eight species of perennial grasses and four or five perennial legumes – without mentioning numerous other perennial or annual plants. It is only in the Alborz mountains that it is possible to find a vegetation as rich in grasses.
In the northern regions and in the mountains of the Baluchi zone, the climate becomes drier and more continental, making a transition to the warmest parts of the Irano-Turanian zone. Typical Baluchi plants become rare or disappear; they are replaced by Amygdalus scoparia, Zygophyllum eurypterum, Populus euphratica, etc.. The perennial grasses are mostly Aristida plumosa, Cymbopogon laniger, but Stipa seem to be absent. The Astragalus become numerous and a species of Artemisia can be abundant, as well as other woody Compositae and many spiny Convolvulus.
The arborescent vegetation includes a good number of Amygdalus, Prunus, Crataegus, Rhamnus, Pyrus, Celtis. The most important native trees are Quercus persica, Pistacia atlantica, Juniperus excelsa, various Tamarix and Salix, Populus euphratica and in the warmest regions Ziziphus spina-christi.
In almost all the Irano-Turanian zone the depletion of rangelands has favoured the extension of Poa bulbosa (and related species) and more recently Carex stenophylla (and related species). In occasionally-cultivated lands certain perennial weeds have extended considerably, such as: Hulthemia persica, Alhagi camelorum, Prosopis stephaniana, Glycyrrhizia glandulifera, G. glabra, Goebelia alopecuroides, Eremurus spp., Phlomis persica, Euphorbia spp., Peganum harmala, Cynodon dactylon, numerous Compositae, etc..
(a) Subdesertic flora. In the central “deserts” of
(b) Steppic flora. In the very large area where precipitation varies between 100 and 230 mm, the vegetation types are very diverse, the determining factor being primarily winter temperatures, which depend on the altitude and even longitude (at equal latitudes and altitudes the eastern areas are noticeably warmer). The flora is generally richer in the southern and eastern regions due to a greater abundance of annuals.
Artemisia herba-alba still characterizes this flora well, but
it has disappeared over wide areas as a result of uprooting, particularly
in much cultivated regions such as Khuzistan. It grows at Tehran, Khorasan,
Kerman and even as far south as
Aristida plumosa is normally the dominant grass in this steppic zone, irrespective of winter temperatures, but it is never found on heavy or saline soils. In certain favoured localities (far from watering places) it is still possible to find almost pure populations of this good forage. The perennial Stipa (especially Stipa barbata), thought to be very abundant formerly, have too often disappeared from wide areas. In the south and east Cymbopogon laniger is not rare, nor is Pennisetum orientale on rocky slopes. In the warmer regions, it is still possible to find here and there Cenchrus ciliaris and Hyparrhenia hirta. In saline areas, whatever the climate, it is always possible to find Aeluropus repens or Aeluropus littoralis, which often provide good pastures. Finally, on sands which are more or less moving, in addition to Aristida plumosa there is generally Pennisetum dichotomum (south and southeast), Aristida pennata (east) and Cyperus conglomeratus.
Perennial forage legumes are infrequent and only some species of herbaceous Astragalus (Cerciothrix group) are sometimes abundant. The Onobrychis are rather rare. On non-eroded and fairly compact soils Poa bulbosa (or related varieties) often covers very large areas, but it is greatly rivalled and often replaced by Carex stenophylla. In the steppic zone severe depletion of the rangelands tends to cause the disappearance of most perennials which are replaced by vast populations of Peganum harmala, or vegetation consisting essentially of the less palatable annuals, such as Schismus arabicus and especially Stipa capensis.
Areas formerly cultivated are generally infested with Alhagi camelorum, Alhagi maurorum, Peganum harmala, Prosopis stephaniana, Hulthemia persica, Goebelia pachycarpa, and numerous annuals.
(c) Substeppic flora. The substeppic flora is very rich in species but is probably the most difficult to define being botanically very varied and in a zone where human influences have been the strongest. As dry farming has been possible almost everywhere where the soils have not been eroded, the greatest part of the natural vegetation has been destroyed or deeply modified and replaced by weeds. Numerous species originating in the steppic zone have penetrated into this substeppic zone, frequently giving the impression that the rainfall is lower than it in fact is. The herbaceous flora is much richer than in the steppic zone. The following families are particularly well represented: Compositae, Labiatae, Umbelliferae, Leguminosae, Caryophyllaceae, Crucifereae, Boraginaceae, Poaceae. The Artemisia (especially A. maritima or related species) are often very abundant, and above 2,000 m there are sometimes populations of Artemisia aucheri. However, Artemisia herba-alba is clearly steppic and does not penetrate, except accidentally, into this zone. Spiny species: Noaea mucronata, Lactuca orientalis, Astragalus, Cousinia, Acantholimon, Acanthphyllum, Echinops, Eryngium, Gundelia are quite frequent.
The Chenopodiaceae are especially abundant on saline or alkaline soils and comprise many perennials belonging to the genera: Salsola, Kochia, Atriplex, Camphorosma, Halocnemum, etc. The Labiatae are almost always abundant, particularly the genera: Teucrium, Phlomis, Salvia, Stachys, Nepeta, Marrubium, Ajuga, Ziziphora. Among the other families should be mentioned the genera: Centaurea, Achillea, Euphorbia, Hypericum, Silene, Erodium, Onosma, Helichrysum, Alyssum, etc.
The perennial grasses of the substeppic zone are most frequently Stipa
(S. barbata and related species, Stipa lagascae, etc),
and above 1,000 m (north) and 1,500 (southwest), Bromus tomentellus.
On light soils there is sometimes Aristida plumosa, a steppic
species. In the south Cymbopogon laniger and Hyparrhenia
hirta reach this zone. The saline plains are often populated with
Aeluropus and less frequently (higher altitudes) with Puccinellia.
A particularly drought resistant variety of Andropogon ischaemum
is quite frequent in
(d) Xerophilous forest flora. Relatively dense forests, consisting essentially of oaks, certainly existed in ancient times, wherever the annual precipitation was above approximately 400 mm, but the majority of these forests have been destroyed and it is only in the Zagros range that significant remnants can be found. This zone could well be divided into various geographical provinces and into vegetation belts corresponding to altitudes. In the Zagros range the oak forest begins towards 800 metres and sometimes reaches as much as 2,600 metres, which corresponds distinctly to three altitude belts of vegetation. Due to deforestation, overgrazing, the extension of farming, erosion and the profound modification of the microclimates a good part the subdesertic flora has heavily invaded this zone to such a point that in a good number of regions only some less xerophilous species, or even only the rainfall data, indicate a climate no more subdesertic.
The forests of Zagros consist mainly of: Quercus persica, Quercus infectoria, Quercus libani. Other trees or bushes are: Pistacia atlantica, Pyrus syriaca, Celtis spp., Fraxinus syriaca, Prunus mahaleb, Amygdalus spp., Daphne angustifolia, Lonicera nummulariaefolia, Cotoneaster nummularia, Colutea persica, Berberis integerrima, Juglans regia, Juniperus excelsa and tall spiny Astragalus.
The herbaceous flora is less rich at lower altitudes (south of the Zagros) where it consists essentially of annuals (abundance of Aegilops). Hordeum bulbosum and Poa bulbosa are the only really common perennial grasses. Here and there are some Stipa or Agropyron, with very few forage legumes. The general aspect of the flora tends towards the subdesertic.
Above approximately 1,500 metres in the Zagros range and in the north of the country, perennials are very numerous and form the basis of the vegetation. Where the rangelands have not been destroyed the fundamental grass is Bromus tomentellus, often associated with Festuca valesiaca (or other varieties of F. ovina group) or with various Stipa (especially S. barbata varieties) and sometimes Bromus cappadocicus. Other perennial grasses of this area are: Dactylis glomerata, Oryzopsis holciformis, Hordeum bulbosum, Hordeum fragile, Secale montanum, Melica spp., Hordeum violaceum, Poa spp., and on very stony slopes Agropyron tauri (and related species), Bromus persicus and Festuca sclerophylla (the latter two only in the Alborz region). Agropyron aucheri (or related varieties) is very widespread in the areas most affected by human influence.
The best perennial forage legumes are Onobrychis, some Astragalus of the Cercidothrix group, Trigonella elliptica (rather rare) and Medicago sativa (uncommon as a native plant).
The Labiatae and Compositae often form the greatest part of the vegetation. Many species of these families are particular to this climatic zone, notably some Thymus. Too often overgrazing has resulted in considerable extension of unpalatable or spiny species: tall Umbelliferae, Noae mucronata, Lactuca orientalis, Phlomis, Euphorbia, Eryngium, Cousinia, Astragalus, Acantholimon, Acanthophyllum. The latter three are remarkable for their hemispherical or cushion-like thorny aspect (“tragacanth” vegetation) often making up a portion of the vegetation of the high semi-arid mountains. It is interesting to note that the flora and herbaceous vegetation are generally much richer in deforested regions than in the areas which still support an open forest cover.
(e) High mountains flora. Above 2,600 metres the only tree capable of surviving is Juniperus excelsa; it can be found as high as approximately 3,200 m, but it seems incapable of forming woods above 3,000 metres . Some bushes of Amygdalus, Daphne, Lonicera, and Rosa can ascend towards the 3,000 metres mark. The upper limit of herbaceous vegetation is around 4,300 metres. These altitude marks are valid for the Zagros and Alboz mountains, which are the only high mountains, but in the high mountains of the south and southeast the altitude limits should be much higher as a result of the warmer climate. The vegetation of these high regions where the growth period of plants is limited to some few months - not more than three towards the 3,500 metres mark - consists essentially of perennials. It is characterized by an abundance of the spiny cushion-like “tragacanth” vegetation such as Astragalus spp., Acantholimon spp., Onobrychis cornuta, as well as some species with a strong woody base.
Perennial grasses comprise Bromus (especially B. tomentellus), Agropyron, Poa, Festuca (especially F. ovina group), Stipa, Melica spp. and Sesleria phleoides. Oryzopsis molinioides appears to be a truly characteristic species of the dry high mountains (Alborz, Lorestan, Fars, Kerman). The high mountains have very few forage legumes: some Trifolium and Lotus corniculatus which are restricted to relatively humid places. Among the other families should be mentioned the genera: Thymus, Pyrethrum, Nepeta, Helichrysum, Erysimum, Euphorbia, Scutellaria, Silene, Dianthus, Alyssum, Phlomis, Achillea, Scrophularia, Ephedra, Ziziphora, Eryngium, Cousinia, etc.
|4. RUMINANT LIVESTOCK
There are two main groups in this sector, namely: Industrial and Extensive livestock rearing; Figure 9 shows their relative contribution to meat and milk production. Livestock numbers as of 2001 are given in Table 7. Farahpour and Marshall (2001) indicate that according to the latest reported census Iran has 133 million AU, which is close to the number mentioned in Table 7. According to FAOSTAT (2006) livestock numbers for Iran for 2005 were: buffalo 550,000; camels 146,000; cattle 8,800,000; goats 26,500,000; horses 140,000 and sheep 54,000,000.
The only livestock raised in this system are cattle with a population of 741,500 head which by calculating its animal unit equivalent (9.5), would be 7,044,000 AU. The livestock of this system are not dependant on rangelands (and therefore cause no damage to the rangelands) as they are kept in industrial units and modern barns scattered across the country. The livestock raised in this system do not leave the barns yearlong and are totally fed on cultivated fodder and supplements and imported feed. The cattle are usually kept in the vicinity of cities where the veterinary, sanitation and marketing services can be easily accessed.; the outputs are both dairy and meat products.
Extensive livestock production systems in
Nomadic systems: Nomadism
is defined as: a type of pastoralism in which livestock owners follow
the irregularities of the weather, in search of drinking water and pastures
for their herds and flocks (FAO, 1992). The vegetation density of semi-arid
and arid rangelands is low, and the temporal and spatial variation in
forage supply and quality is enormous. These large fluctuations, combined
with periodic lack of drinking water and very high temperatures, force
herdsmen to move with their herds continuously. Nomads generally, do not
own any specific area, they live at subsistence level and their products
are mostly absorbed by the family, so that their contribution to the supply
of meat or other animal products is small. This type of animal husbandry
is rare in
Transhumant systems. Transhumance
is defined as; “a type of pastoralism in which pastoralists regularly
graze their herds in two or more geographically separated grazing orbits
within a year” (FAO 1992). This animal husbandry system takes advantage
of the temporal and spatial variability associated with typically altering
rainy and dry seasons. In
Small numbers of animals of various households are combined to form a herd kept by a herdsman. Each household contributes to the salary of the herdsman in proportion to the number of animals. There is no individual grazing right for the households. For bigger herds that should graze individually, the size of the herd is used as criterion for identification of the grazing right period of a household.
Based on the census, the livestock breeder households in rural and mobile pastoralists number some 1,653,260 while 916,000 households are dependant on rangelands. The number of households in mobile pastoralism is some 180,000 and 1,473,260 households are rural livestock breeders which some 736,000 households are semi mobile while they have homes in the village and live there for a while and sometime they move to rangelands far from their village to graze their livestock; the rest are the households which are sedentary and live in the village yearlong number some 737,260 households. It should be noted that some 78.41% of the pastoralists equal to 718,236 households possess less than 50 AU. Distribution of herd sizes is shown in Figure 10.
Figure 10. Flock size and number of households
Taking into account the economic size of the rangelands (536 ha of rangeland and 230 AU), suggests that just 180,000 livestock breeder household requirements can be met by rangelands during 7 months. Based on the published information by the Technical Bureau of Rangelands – FRWO, currently each household has 81 ha of rangeland and 80 AU. The same reference indicates that (Table 8) currently more than 5.7 times more than the carrying capacity is living on rangelands.
Table 7. Livestock population*
*As at 2001
Only lawful livestock holders who have been issued a grazing permit are allowed to graze the range. They have been granted a grazing permit which should be extended each year after paying the grazing fee, which now is 400 Rials (1 US$ is 8,700 rials). Unfortunately, due to the lack of adequate supervision, most of the grazing permits are not extended and many livestock are on the range without grazing permits. As mentioned in this section, the main problem in livestock raising is the excessive number of households and their livestock.
Needless to say that, due to the large number of livestock, there is no ungrazed land with even the forests being grazed by livestock; the government has therefore adopted policies to end the grazing of forests and expel the rural people settled in the forests after compensation of their rights. Livestock graze wherever they can reach, so mention of limitations is far from the situation faced in the field. Since the rangelands are common, conflict resolution is part of the work of natural resource management specialists, often rather than focussing on technical issues.
Most range users are illiterate or poorly educated, so resource management specialists have many problems in convincing them to take measures first to stop the rangeland degradation by grazing management and then to develop their rangelands. Due to previous experience of other policies implemented by government, users do not necessarily accept recent policies; i.e. policies providing services and facilities such as insurance and facilities are not accepted as they should be.
A previous policy that raised problems for grassland management was the nationalisation of natural resources in 1963. Prior to that act rangelands belonged to the lords and they leased their asset to the herders who could exploit the rangeland carefully in order not to damage it. The livestock owner knew that if he exploited carelessly, he would be punished and even he could not lease any range next year.
After this act come into force, the government was to play the role of the lord and the government started to identify the lawful livestock breeders to issue grazing permits for a certain time and definite place. The whole idea of identifying the lawful livestock holders was good but it had some deficiencies i.e. the grazing permits were not transferable, so nobody left the range since if he left there then he would lose his right for ever. Recently, the Technical Bureau of Rangeland has made some corrections on policy so that everyone who wants to leave the range and livestock can transfer his right to others who are usually from the same or adjacent rangeland; thus they will move towards an economic size of herd.
Poor marketing is a problem that the stock raisers especially, mobile pastoralists, face; because they often go to the cities on their seasonal movement just to procure their needs and they have problems in trading their products while they are on the outskirts. So in other times people come to them to buy their products but at low prices. The education system is good in the villages but the situation is very bad for mobile pastoralists while they are moving around; of course there are some boarding schools for their children and some mobile schools but these have their own problems.
The extension service is good for the villages but it is not so good for the mobile pastoralists when they are far from settlements, although extension service workers try to provide services.
Contribution of range to forage supply and meat production is shown in Figure 11.
Range forage is less nutritious and animals on range thus use more energy than stall-fed livestock or those in industrial systems.
Table 9. Area of rangelands by province
The relative contribution of range to livestock feeding is shown in Figure 11 and the area of range by province is given in Table 9.
|5. THE PASTURE RESOURCE
Definition of Rangelands: Rangeland has been defined as “a tract of land that is used for grazing by livestock or wildlife, where natural vegetation is the main forage resource” (FAO, 1992). Rangeland as defined in Iran is “ land consisting of mountains, hillsides and flat plains covered by native vegetation and providing food for animals at least on one grazing season and commonly known as rangelands”. Fallows are not included in this definition.
Rangeland types and vegetation have been described in detail in Section 3 and also here in section 5.
Range area and condition
For the first time in 1974, satellite images were used by an American
company, FMC, leading to an estimate of
According to its vegetation types, it is put into three classes: grasslands; shrub lands; and desert which embraces both, but is low density.
Despite the forage produced by rangelands, many farms grow fodders. In 1999, the amount of sown fodder was 4,155 thousand tons of TDN. Plants such as lucerne (both rainfed and irrigated), maize for grazing, clover and sainfoin and others. Table 12 shows the total amount of sown fodder produced. Other sources of feed are: crop residues, concentrates and agro-industrial by-products shown in Tables 13 and 14 and Figure 12.
The total amount of produced fodder in
Table 13. Contribution of different sources of fodder production in
Forage crop production and area under cultivation: Table 14 shows the area under the cultivation of fodder in different provinces and production levels.
Table 14. Area and yield of fodder by Province
Figure 12. Contribution of different sources of
fodder production in
Table 15 shows the production of various by-products and crop residues from farms and orchards and Table 16 the production of concentrates, residues and wastes and by-products from food industries.
Table 15. By-product and crop residue production from farms and orchards, in 1999.
Table 16. shows the production of concentrates,
Total amount of fodder produced through other sources except rangelands was 17,871 thousand tons of TDN. The contribution of different sources of fodder production apart from rangelands is shown in Tables 15, 16 and 17.
Unfortunately, the condition of the rangelands has deteriorated drastically.
The results of a recent census show that the area of good range has come
down to 9.3 million hectares, fair to good 37.3 while poor ranges have
increased up to 43.4 million hectares (Technical Bureau of Rangeland,
Harvesting medicinal plants dates back to past centuries. According to
current information the amount harvested was some 39,000 tons (valued
at 77.7 million US$) in 1989-1993. Considering the land area of the country,
harvested products should be much more. Ferula gummosa, a plant widespread
over 700,000 hectares, has a juice called galbanum which is used in different
industries e.g. medicine. In 1996 and 1998, 15 and 27 tons of galbanum
were exported, respectively. The income through the export of galbanum
in 1998 alone was some 180,000
Range and livestock contribute an estimated 1.25 billion US$ to the non-oil GDP (or 6% of the total GDP) and the sector provides livelihood for some three million families of whom it is estimated that 180,000 are nomadic. Based on the available data, the number of people working in the range sector are : Permanent occupation: 452,173; Temporary occupation: 2,122; Dependant occupation: 2,500.
Unfortunately, since most rural people are remarkably dependant on rangeland which is a resource that provides for the essential needs of families, degradation of the range is inevitable. Based on information published by the Technical Bureau of Rangeland within the Forest, Rangeland, Watershed Management Organization, approximately 5.4 million cubic metres of range shrubs are cut-off or uprooted annually just to provide fuel for rural people.
Some of the major factors contributing to the degradation of rangelands are summarized as follows:
At present social evolution among the transhumants due to the lack of efficient management and collapse of tribal leadership lead to degradation of natural resources. Collapse of traditional management and inefficiency of current management of state systems over the rangelands lead to overgrazing and improper exploitation.
Some 7.69% of the land under annual crops was allocated to the production of fodder in 2000 out of which about 86.1% was irrigated and the balance (13.9%) was rainfed. 70.47% of the land area under the fodder production was under the production of lucerne. The other fodder crops are: Sainfoin, Maize, Beet, Turnip, Sorghum, etc. In 2000, the total amount of fodder crops was 8.59 million tons - 19.21% of the total annual crops of the country. Fodder areas by province are given in Table 18.
There is a project conducted by both the Department of Agronomy- Ministry of Jihad e Agriculture and Technical Bureau of Rangelands – FRWO under which, the farmers are given free of charge, some perennial range fodder seeds and chemical fertilizers to cultivate their low yielding farmlands which are usually located on hillsides. By this means, first of all the degradation of the land is stopped and second some forage is produced for the livestock. The seeds are Medicago sativa and Onobrychis viciifolia. From its start in 1986 by 2001, some 1.4 million ha of range and farmland have been cultivated thus. These lands would produce 1,500 kg of fodder for harvest and 300 kg for grazing per hectare.
There are some traditional methods of hay making and stocking in the rural areas as shown below:
There are also some 452 active silage stocks across the country which almost all belong to the government.
FOR IMPROVEMENT OF FODDER RESOURCES
Prior to the enforcement of the law on nationalization (1963) of natural resources, the people had cadastral documents. The rangelands were their own asset and they behaved well with their asset in its utilization and conservation. Landlords even used to lease rangeland to the livestock holders for a given period and a certain number of livestock. The lord knew quite well that if his rangeland would be degraded then he would gain less money next year. So he would never let any one degrade his rangeland and used to check the rangeland periodically. But the aforementioned law cut their authority over this valuable resource and the competition to exploit rangelands started while there were no strict control over the range utilization.
After the enforcement of the nationalization law, all natural resources
including rangelands were state owned. Government decided to take measures
to recognize the lawful and authorized users to issue a grazing permit
in order to enable the experts and staff to control rangelands. Some four
years later (1967), the government decided to start introducing range
management plans like the ones implemented in the west. Range management
plans included some instructions to push the exploiters toward conserving
the range resources while taking the maximum benefit possible without
any damage to the range. This plan or instruction is the basis on which
the Forest, Range and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO) of
Then the Technical Bureau of Rangeland which is in charge of the conservation, rehabilitation and development of rangelands of the country, decided to work a little bit more on socio-economic matters and they planned the range management plans for small areas limited to the traditional boundaries of rangelands. The implemented plans have shown a great success in the sustainable management of rangelands along with the improvement and development.
Advantages of the contracts:
Rangelands are being utilized by 916,000 households. Grazing permits have been issued for 689,000 households for nearly 55 million Animal Units (AU) to be grazed on 56 million hectares of rangelands. On the basis of analysis of recent data, the area of a grazing enterprise is 81 hectares and mean herd size of households is 80 AU. This is at odd with households requirement as it is revealed by the Faculty of Natural Resources of Tehran University. It has been concluded that running a normal life on the basis of extensive grazing animal husbandry needs 530 hectares of land to be grazed by 229 AU for a period of 8 months. According to this calculation grazing usufruct could be granted to 18,000 households. This means that over-population is still one of the most important problems of the rangelands.
Current situation of the rangelands:
On the basis of grazing season, rangelands could be put into two categories: mountainous, uplands characterized by their cool summers; and plains, lowlands characterized by their warm winters. The area of summer grazing rangelands is estimated to be 23 million hectares producing 6.21 million tons equal to 3.415 million tons of usable TDN. Grazing on these rangelands starts from early spring and continues until late summer. It is calculated that 54 million animal units could be grazed on these rangelands for a period of 100 days. Winter and fall grazing rangelands located on lowlands are 67 million hectares and are mostly used in winter. They produce 4.5 million tons of forage or 2.47 million tons of usable TDN.
The production figures cited here are just for the normal years from
the rainfall point of view and occurrence of drought is a normal feature
with 13 drought years during the past two decades.
The basic project which is conducted at the Technical Bureau of Rangeland and the district offices is the “Range Inventory and cadastral survey” through which the lawful range exploiters can be identified. As mentioned earlier, prior to the nationalization of the natural resources including rangelands, there were some lords every where across the country who possessed the rangelands and they let the livestock breeders to graze on their rangelands and pay some money based on the quality and grazing duration of the certain rangeland but after Natural Resources Nationalization was put into force in 1963, government tried to play the landlords’ role in this regard. At that time, the lord was a real manager and the rangeland was his asset so he tried his best in order not to lose. One of his main measures was to inventory his rangelands based on his indigenous know how. So he would be aware of the grazing capacity of rangeland and lease the rangeland accordingly to someone who was able to exploit its forage and restore the rangeland condition.
The lord usually assessed the condition of his rangelands yearlong so he could prevent the degradation of his rangeland in time and if he noticed any degradation then the livestock holder would have been punished and perhaps lose the chance to extend the lease for another year.
Now that the former system of range management, by lords, has been fragmented and government bodies have substituted, the new system is to develop strategies to manage rangelands. Through “Range inventory and cadastral survey” the lawful livestock breeders would be identified on certain area of rangelands. While implementing this project, the carrying capacity of rangeland would also be assessed then a grazing permit would be granted to the lawful livestock breeder to graze for a certain period on a definite rangeland. This is the first step to manage the rangelands.
Vast area of rangeland scattered across the country, coupled with lack of technical expertise at the natural resources management directorates lead to inappropriate supervision over the rangelands. Thus the exploiters feel free to overgraze rangelands because of poor supervision condition compared with the former system.
Of course, since the grazing permit holder had no right over the rangeland except the utilization, so he didn’t invest to improve the rangeland. These issues push the government to think of ways to convince the people first not to deplete rangelands by overgrazing and second to invest in the improvement and development of the rangelands.
Development of “Range Management Plans” was the next step to manage rangelands and at first they developed some plans in areas of some 60,000 ha. For the development of these plans, they had just followed the technical points without taking into consideration the socio-economic aspects, so these plans failed. Finally they decided to develop small plans considering both technical and socio-economic aspects. These plans were developed for each traditional boundary of rangelands and their ownership was transferred to the people to convince them to restore it and invest in it for a 30 year period; of course the period is extendable.
Range improvement projects of FRWO included a number of activities (see Table 19).
Direct seeding and hoeing-sowing of quality range plants.
On the flat plains and areas with very gentle slopes direct seeding with tillage is an appropriate method. On steeper slopes and mountainous land, minimal disturbance of the soil surface is important, hence seeds are drilled or hoeing and sowing is used.
Water facilities for livestock.
Restoration of pasture on degraded marginal lands (Conversion
of low yield rainfed cereal farms to pasture).
At the moment, there are 21 active state seed farms across the country producing seeds of: Agropyron elongatum, Festuca arundinacea, Medicago sativa, Agropyron desertorum, Secale montanum, Bromus tomentellus, Sanguisorba minor and Bromus inermis. Each seed site has its own plan and the staff work in collaboration with those experts of the range technical units. The suggested plants for seed multiplication are Kochia prostrata, Festuca ovina, Cymbopogon olivieri, Eurotia curvala, Panicum, Dactylis glomerata, Lotus corniculatus, and Phleum. Some 713.2 tons of range seed have been sown in range development and improvement projects in 2002. The total planted seeds were provided by both private and state sector (16 seed orchards); the state contribution was 388.7 tons or 54.5% of the total and the balance amounting to 324.7 tons equal to 45.5% have been provided by the private sector. Some 187.5 tons (26.2% of total seed consumption) of Medicago sativa has been planted or oversown on ranges. The second most common is Onobrychis viciifolia with 69.2 tons equal to 9.7% of the total seed consumption of 24 range seeds applied in the range projects; 9 seed types are just produced by the private sector and 7 types both by private and state sectors. Table 20 shows the amount of range seeds used in 2002.
Table 20. Range seed provided by private and state orchards in 2002 in tons
Another source of seed is collecting from the natural range; some 34.8 tons were gathered in 2003. These were in descending order: Artemisia spp., Bromus tomentellus, Dorema aucheri, Astragalus sp., Prangos ferulaceae, Seidlitzia rosmarinus.
Balancing the livestock with the Carrying Capacity of rangeland
Livestock number reduction
Increase in forage production and supply;
Promoting extension and participation in range rehabilitation and management;
Promoting research on range management improvement.
Despite these issues, it is planned to facilitate the transfer of grazing rights to other lawful livestock holders to reduce the number of rangeland exploiters. In this regard, some strategies have been developed to compensate the rights of lawful rangeland exploiters to leave the rangeland. i.e. allocating farmland, settlement of nomads, etc.
Policies of Technical Bureau of Rangelands.
|7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
ORGANIZATIONS AND PERSONNEL
Range research began in 1959. The
first work was focused on botany and ecology and FAO experts with the
collaboration of the Iranian experts conducted the researches at that
time. Khuzestan province, locating in south western
The Natural Resources Research Institute founded in 1968 gradually changed its name to Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands (RIFR). The institute works under the department of Training and Research of the Ministry of Agriculture (Ministry of Jihad e Agriculture). It has nine research divisions at a headquarters in Tehran and 28 provincial offices and a number of research stations across the country. The research divisions are namely: Botany, Desert, Forest, Forest and Range Protection, Genetics, Gene Bank, Mechanisation, Medicinal Plants, Poplar and Fast Growing Trees, Rangeland, Wood and Paper.
Initially the institute focused on: Identification of plant resources; Adaptation and introduction of range plants; Ecology and range management; Agronomy and range seeding. In the 1990's, the range research division had these projects: Ecological zones of the country; Autecology of the most important range plants of the country; Study on the adaptation of range plants to different ecological zones; Exclosure effects on condition and trend of natural rangelands in different ecological zones; Scientific Methodologies for Proper Range Management.
Current projects of the range research division are:
- Autecology of the Most Important Range Plants in Rangeland Ecosystems
- The effect of ending grazing (Exclosure) on range trend and condition;
- Effects of planting distance and pruning intensities on quality and quantity of forage, and longevity of three species of Atriplex;
- The short-term effects of grazing systems at different intensities on sheep weight, plant and soil of Bromus tomentellus pasture;
- Scientific Methodologies for Proper Range Management;
- Investigation of Capparis decidua’s seedling problems;
- Preparation of national range vegetation map;
- Range Assessment Program in Different Climatic Zones of
Of course, there are a number of natural resources faculties across the country which offer graduate studies in range science of which three also offer Ph.D courses in range science. Thus each year many university thesis studies are being conducted at university level some of which are being supported by universities or RIFR.
Committee to rehabilitate rangelands and mitigate drought effects, 2004, Terms of Reference Forest, Range and Watershed management Organization, Tehran, I.R.Iran
Committee to rehabilitate rangelands and mitigate drought effects, 2004, Collection, classification and analysis of silages and storing animal feeds.
Dewan,M.L. and J.Famouri, 1964. The soils of
FAO, 1992. Report on the round table on pastoralism. FAO Technical Cooperation Programme, Project TCP/IRA/2255, Rome. FAOSTAT. 2004. http://www.fao.org/waicent/portal/statistics_en.asp
Farahpour, M. and H. Marshall. 2001. Background paper for the launching meeting for the Asian Thematic Programme Network on Rangeland Management and Sand Dune Fixation (TPN3). Yazd, I.R. Iran May 2001, 40pp.
Farahpour, M. 2001
Fazilati, A.,Hosseini Eraghi, H.,1984, Rangelands of Iran and their management, development and improvement, Technical Bureau of Rangeland, Tehran, I.R.Iran
Forest and Rangeland Organization, 1998, Overview on renewable natural resources, Tehran, I.R.Iran
Jedari Eivazi, J. 1995,Geomorphology of
Kardavani, P. 1992. Pastures in Iran - Problems and Solutions. University of Tehran Press, Tehran, I.R. Iran.
Kiani,M., Asfa, M., Bahriani Nejad, B. 2002, Study on the production and trade of Ferula gummosa juice in Iran, Proceedings of the second national range and range management seminar in Iran, 16-18 August 2002,Tehran,I,R,Iran
Mesdaghi,M.,1995, Management of Iran’s Rangelands, Mashhad, I.R.Iran
Moghaddam,M.R.,1998, Range and Range Management, University of Tehran press, Tehran, I.R.Iran
Moieneddin,H. Nazari,P. 1993, The Rangelands
Mozaffarian, V. 1998, A Dictionary of Iranian plant names, Farhang Mo’aser
Mosayyebi,M. 2004. Comprehensive plan for range seed orchards, Technical Bureau of Rangeland.
National Action Programme to Combat Desertification and Mitigation of Drought Impacts of I.R.Iran, 2002, Draft version, UNCCD
National Action Programme to Combat Desertification and Mitigation of Drought Impacts of I.R.Iran, 2003, UNCCD
Pabot, H. 1967. Pasture Development and Range Improvement through
Botanical and Ecological Studies. Report to the Government of
Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands (RIFR), website. www.rifr-ac.org.ir
Sheidaei, G. and N. Nemati. 1978. New Rangeland Management and Fodder Production in Iran. Forest and Rangeland Organization, Tehran, Iran.
Sheidaei, G. and N. Nemati. 1970. Some Information about the Rangelands of Iran. Technical Bureau of Rangeland, Tehran, Iran.
Statistic Center of Iran, 2001, Year book 2000, Tehran, I.R.Iran
Taeb, M. 1995. Country Report to the FAO International Technical Conference on Plant Genetic Resources, held in Leipzig 17-23 June 1996. 61pp.
Technical Bureau of Rangeland, 2000. Introdution to Iran’s Rangelands, Tehran (Persian language), I.R.Iran
United Nations Inter-agency Assesment Report on the Extreme Drought in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 2001, Tehran, I.R.Iran
World Bank,1994, Islamic Republic of Iran Rangelands and Livestock Development Project,
Zohary, M. 1963, Geobotanical Structure of Iran, Bulletin of the Research Council of Israel, Section D. Botany, Supplement to volume 11D, March 1963
This profile was prepared in 2004 by Mr. Hossein Badripour. (MSc. Range Science, 1997, University of Tehran) Rangeland Management Expert in the Technical Bureau of Rangeland – Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO)- Ministry of Jihad e Agriculture.
Mr. Hossein Badripour.
Range Management Expert,
Technical Bureau of Rangeland
Forest, Range and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO)
No. 131, West Zartosht, Tehran, I.R.Iran
Tel: +98 21 895 19 45/6
Fax: +98 21 895 19 44
[The profile was prepared in 2004, edited by J. M. Suttie and S.G. Reynolds in December 2004 and slightly amended by S.G. Reynolds in May 2006].