Contact the Green PartyFarsi linksFarsi newsFarsi platformEnglish home pageFarsi statementsFarsi home pageEnglish newsEnglish statementsEnglish platformEnglish links

Desertification in Iran

Forest and Range Organization
Spring 1995

What is desertification?

Desertification is a specific phenomenon of arid, semiarid and day sub humid. The main feature of this said phenomenon is the diminution of the biological production (vegetation cover), which appears under different forms adn aspects. To explain the occurance of the aforementioned phenomenon and its causes, various opinions and theories have been put forward; the human factor being considered in all cases and undoubtly, the most important one in causing the degradation of the natural resources.

Man, by over grazing, bush and shrub picking and wrong irrigation, land use disregarding the land capability, irrigular transformation of range lands to rain-fed farming, non observance of soil conservation in cultivation practices, ets, altogheter create conditions which in the last instance land to the reduction of biological production and the expansion of desert and arid lands.

Extent of Iran's deserts and sandy soils

As a result of the geographical and ecological situation of Iran, as well as the blowing of unfavourable winds in the Central Desert, more than 80% of the 164 million hectare area of the country is subject to the conditions of arid and semi arid regions, characterized by low precipitation, ranged between 50 to 250 mm per year. At the present the area of the country's deserts and sandy soils is estimated to be 34 million hectars, and that of the poor and desertified rangelands which 12 million hectars correspond to the sandy, soils 5 million of the same shifting sand dunes.

Historical evidences and works remained from the ancient time testify the fact that these regions were covered by desert forests and plants, which were annihilated because of the wrong and excessive exploitation, the result of which has been the diminution of the vegetation resources and the conversion of the lands into deserts. It is estimated that the trends of desertification in the country is about 1% annually.

Active and inactive desert and sandy lands area (ha)
Province 
total area 
desert and sandy areas 
Sandy areas (active & inactive) 
Shifting sand  areas (Active)
Shifting sand areas (inactive)
Isfahan & Kashan 
10600000
 3200000 
1560000 
570000 
990000
Khorasan 
31600000 
12600000 
3200000 
1250000 
1950000
Semnan 
9200000 
1200000 
900000 
435000 
465000
Sistan-o-Baluchistan
18100000 
500000
1900000 
800000 
1100000
Kerman 
18600000 
3500000 
1350000 
630000 
720000
Kozistan 
6700000 
1200000 
900000 
460000 
440000
Fars 
12000000 
2000000 
200000 
70000 
130000
Hormozan 
6500000 
2100000 
500000 
170000 
330000
Markazi 
3000000 
400000 
40000 
13000 
27000
Yazd 
7000000 
2000000 
970000 
450000 
520000
Tehran 
2800000 
400000 
80000 
32000 
48000
Boshehr 
2500000 
400000 
400000 
120000 
280000
Total 
47200000
34000000 
1200000 
5000000 
7000000

By the obliteration of the vegetation cover (desertification), the soil is exposed to the erosion by wind, the most remarkable manifestation of which being the shifting sands, that cause the destruction of orchards and farms annihilation of cultivated lands, and represent a serious threat for both residential and industrial zones and civil and military instalations.