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Qanat Irrigated Agricultural Heritage Systems of Kashan, Isfahan Province Islamic Republic of Iran

The most important agricultural systems such as Pomegranate, Pistachio, and Saffron farming systems are irrigated by Qanat. The geographical regions around the Central Desert of Iran which is also one of the most traditional agricultural areas have been using the Qanat technology for providing water for agriculture and human consumption for thousands of years. The Qanat Irrigation technology and related knowledge system have developed in Iran as early as 800 BC and the Kashan region is the land of one of the oldest human habitat in Iran and is also one of the origins of Persian agricultural civilization irrigated by Qanat system. Qanats have sustained food and livelihood security over millennia by providing reliable source of water to traditional family farms in most dry areas where agriculture and farming would be impossible otherwise. By making it possible for humans, plants and animals to survive in the harshest climatic conditions, Qanats have supported important biodiversity particularly ancient varieties of pomegranate, figs, pistachio, apples, apricots, and other fruits and vegetables, medicinal plants as well as many livestock breeds. Ingenious water distribution and management systems as well as social and cultural practices have allowed the development of the most ancient agricultural civilizations in Iran, Central Asia, China and elsewhere around the world. The community participatory water management schemes have brought cohesiveness, solidarity and strong sense of fraternity to the local communities. It is an efficient system that optimizes water use, providing quality water and crop diversity. Underground tunnels following aquifers in surrounding mountain areas collect water from different layers of earth by relying only on gravity. The Qanats minimize evaporation loss and ensure an efficient use of the available water resources. The construction and maintenance of Qanats requires skilful workers and cooperation among the community members. Farmers select diverse crops that complement each other in terms of water requirement for the best water use efficiency. Not only for agricultural developments, Qanats have and represents a unique and integrative system illustrating the use of indigenous knowledge and wisdom in sustainable management of land, water, and agricultural biodiversity. The Qanat Irrigated Agricultural Heritage Systems are uniquely designed, demonstrating a close relationship with nature, culture, and the capacity of the environment that surround it and more importantly, the underlying sustainability and productivity principles.

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Editor: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
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Organización: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
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Año: 2014
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País(es): Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Cobertura geográfica: Cercano Oriente y África del Norte
Tipo: Estudio de caso
Idioma utilizado para los contenidos: English
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