Archives – April, 2011

Scope of desertification in Iran

Based on the existing outputs, 35.2% (573,884 km2) of the total of 1,629,807 km2 area of the lands of the country (Statistics Centre of Iran) are hyper-arid zones[1] (Khalili, 1992). On the other hand, 8.9% (178,245 km2) of the total area of the country have non-arid climate. So based on of the existing accepted definitions, more than 44.1% of the total area of the country is not included in the region affected by desertification.

Therefore the first and most important data provided is that the criteria and factors that are due to confirm the desertification and explain the quality of its process in the country, should be based on the natural (climatic, geographic and geologic) and humanistic (demographic, cultural, sociological and legal) features as well as three climatic sub-divisions of arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid with total area of 877,678 km2. In the process of searching and discovering the main desertification indicators, the characteristics of the deserts of Iran (gravelly plains, sand dunes, nebka, yardang, barkhan, clay plains, spectacled hills, polaya, etc.) should not be considered.

[1] It should be noted that the method for the climatic zonation of the country (De Martin, edited by Ambreger, Gousin, Torent White, Coupin, etc.) play a leading role in the said areas. For instance, four years after Khalili, a French scientist named Henry N. Le Houerou (1996) announced that the total desert area of the country including Eremitic (20,000 km2) and hyper arid (306,000 km2) areas, is 326,000 km2, which is less than the figure presented by Khalili (1992). Few years before Khalili, Ganji (1976) also calculated the total desert area of the country (approximately 700,000 km2) by using Coupin method (Khalili, 1999). Therefore, one of the main important pillars and priorities of the country in this area might be considered the calculation of the total area of different climatic zones of the country by using UNEP global methods (UNEP, 1997).

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