Filed under: desertification

Iran Faces Environmental Crisis

By: Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor Posted on August 16

Motorists travel on a highway in Tehran as the city is covered in dust

TEHRAN, Iran — As temperatures soared above 105 degrees Fahrenheit during one of the hottest summers here in recent memory, no snow was visible atop the mountains ringing Tehran and no water flowed down the narrow channels along main streets (known as jubes in Farsi) that a year ago were still full of fresh mountain runoff. A furry brown haze obscured the skyline, irritating eyes and tickling throats.

About This Article

Summary :

Global warming and a deteriorating environment are a large if not larger threat than sanctions to the well-being of Iran’s 75 million people.

Author: Barbara Slavin
Posted on: August 16 2013

Categories : Originals  Iran  

While most press attention has focused on the inauguration of a new Iranian president, the nuclear crisis and the impact of Western economic sanctions, global warming and a deteriorating environment loom as large if not larger as a threat to the well-being of Iran’s 75 million people.

“Here in Iran, we are situated in a low-precipitation belt of the planet,” Gary Lewis, the UN resident coordinator in Iran, told Al-Monitor. “One primary concern must therefore be water. We are at risk of a perfect storm: water scarcity, land degradation and climate change all feeding into each other.”

Water resources are dwindling as Iran’s three major lakes dry up, the majority of the country’s other lakes are also in the process of disappearing and becoming contaminated with wastes and chemicals, neighboring countries build dams that divert shared rivers away from Iran and underground aquifers are depleted.

Lake Orumieh in northwestern Iran has been “despoiled to the point of destruction,” wrote Eskander Firouz, a legendary Iranian environmentalist, in his 2005 book The Complete Fauna of Iran. Lake Hamoun in the southeast, “once the greatest expanse of fresh water in Iran, is now totally dry,” according to Firouz, while a third once-giant lake — Bakhtegan near the southern city of Shiraz, the third-largest lake in Iran, dried up completely almost a decade ago.

Lewis told Al-Monitor that expanding agriculture to feed Iran’s growing population has led to “unsustainable harvesting of aquifers.” There are currently about 650,000 wells in Iran that provide more than half the water consumed in the country, he said.

Despite the looming shortages, Iranians do not use water efficiently.

Domestic use of water resources in Iran is about 70% more than the global average, said Lewis. In Tehran, shopkeepers can be seen hosing off the sidewalks in front of their stores instead of sweeping up the dirt; during last week’s heat wave, municipal workers also liberally watered public gardens with hoses rather than using more scientific means of irrigation.

Lewis said official statistics show that there is only 30% water-use efficiency in agriculture, a sector which accounts for over 90% of water use in Iran. Deforestation and desertification are also major problems contributing to land degradation, he said.

“We need to price the resources we are consuming fairly — including water,” Lewis said. “And we need to build climate-change resilience at the community level over and above what we do to change attitudes at the national and sectoral levels.”

While there are dozens of national parks, wildlife refuges and protected areas in Iran, biodiversity is decreasing and more needs to be done to bolster guards assigned to prevent poaching, experts say. Firouz told Al-Monitor that Iran’s wildlife has declined by 85%, that rangelands are being degraded and destroyed and that the best of Iran’s forests have disappeared and have often been replaced by orange trees and unsustainable agriculture.

Air pollution is another major problem. Since the 1979 revolution, Tehran’s population nearly tripled from about 4.5 million to more than 12 million people, who sometimes all seem to be jamming the roads at the same time.

Relatively cheap gasoline — still less than $1 a gallon after subsidy reforms — the poor quality of locally made gas (which Iran must refine because of sanctions that block imports) and the preponderance of cars with substandard emissions controls are major contributors to pollution in the Iranian capital. The lack of a more extensive and reliable public-transportation system is also a major factor. The Tehran municipality has invested more in roads, tunnels and flyovers that benefit private automobile owners than in buses, subways and trams that could relieve congestion and pollution.

The pollution has serious health consequences. In the winter, when the air is at its dirtiest because of inversion which traps pollutants under a layer of cold air on windless days, the Tehran municipality often closes offices and schools and those Iranians who do venture out wear face masks.

Over the past several years, Iran has also been suffering from increasingly severe dust and sandstorms. These are especially impacting western provinces bordering Iraq, from where the storms mainly originate. According to Lewis, “The sandstorms have been caused by the abandonment of vast swathes of agricultural land during the past 10 years as well as the drying out of wetlands and rivers. Where they are hitting Iran hardest is in agriculture, infrastructure, the environment and public health.”

In the height of summer, pollution levels are also high, particularly in south Tehran, which is at a lower elevation than the wealthier north. A pharmacist in the south Tehran neighborhood of Javadieh told Al-Monitor that asthma is a growing problem, particularly among young children and that there is a shortage of inhalers — because of sanctions and government mismanagement — to treat this potentially life-threatening condition.

Iran has also been slow to embrace renewable energy, which currently provides less than 1% of energy demand.

All is not bleak, however. There is rising environmental consciousness in Iran, particularly among educated youth. A middle-aged ecologist named Mohammad Darvish writes frequently on the subject and has predicted that Iran will someday have a “green” movement that is environmental rather than ideological in nature.

Firouz, who headed Iran’s first department of the environment before the 1979 revolution, told Al-Monitor the topic is increasingly covered by the Reformist-moderate Iranian press, including Etemaad and Shargh newspapers, and that more than 1,000 young people have formed a blog on Facebook devoted to his work on biodiversity, conservation and the need for better planning that takes the environment into account.

The United Nations is also doing its part, advising Iran on reforestation, carbon sequestration and wetland-recovery programs.

“Countries of the region — including Iran — need to learn the hard lessons of the Chinese development model, which in recent decades has seen substantial wealth generated but at massive environmental cost,” Lewis told Al-Monitor. “But the real breakthrough will only come when discussion on the impact of climate change … goes beyond a discourse between the technocrats and policy-makers. The public as a whole needs to understand what is at stake. For this, we need much, much more public discussion and awareness raising.”

Barbara Slavin is Washington correspondent for Al-Monitor and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council where she focuses on Iran. On Twitter: @BarbaraSlavin1

Leave a Comment August 22, 2013

GLOBAL MEDIA FORUM AWARD!

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Mohammad Darvish’s Combating Desertification is by far the most active environment-oriented Persian blog. His blog is anextension of his other advocacy work regarding the necessity of maintaining the ecosystem in the face of development, including from tourism, dams, and other industrial uses of land, water and air.

controling desertification

Leave a Comment April 12, 2013

Petition to Save World Heritage on the Tigris River in Mesopotamia

There is only need for 16921 more signatures to make UNICCO regard the bellow petition, as it is mentioned in the petition itself, as a credible global request putting the matter on its executive agenda. As a result, the international pressure on Turkey will be even more forcing its government to cease to construct their lethal dam on the Ilissos. Therefore, please sign it and send the link to your friends.

 

Distinguished Members of the World Heritage Committee,
We address you gravely concerned about the threat posed to potential World Heritage Sites in
Mesopotamia, a region of great cultural and natural importance which is endangered by the Ilisu
Dam Project on the Tigris River.
This area is unique in many ways. It hosts great geographical, climatic and biological diversity.
The step of transition from nomadic pastoralism to sedentary agriculture took place here.
Thousands of archaeological sites bear testimony of dozens of cultures which intermingled here
and provide the exceptional chance to gain further knowledge of humanity’s history. Nowadays
the inhabitants of Mesopotamia, particularly Kurds, Arabs, Aramaeans and Turkmen, are the
carriers of this worldwide unique cultural heritage.
However, the tremendous cultural and natural heritage is in great danger due to the construction
of the Ilisu Dam on the Turkish stretch of the Tigris River. Designed to impound an area of more
than 310 km², it would impact the right to food and water of thousands of people in and around
the planned reservoir as well as downstream. It also threatens precious riverine ecosystems
hosting numerous endangered species, hundreds of archaeological sites including the ancient
town of Hasankeyf in Turkey, as well as the Mesopotamian Marshes in Iraq.
Hasankeyf, with a history of at least 10,000 years, is unique in being continuously populated
from Neolithic times through Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages until today. It is a world
class example of a site that combines both outstanding cultural heritage and natural landscape
features. A recent study shows that together with the surrounding Tigris valley, Hasankeyf fulfils
nine out of the ten UNESCO criteria for World Heritage Sites – a level reached by hardly any
existing site. Should the Ilisu Dam be built, this heritage will be lost forever.
Owing to their outstanding value as the largest wetland in the Middle East and their function as a
home to the ‘Marsh Arabs’ with their distinct 5,000-year-old culture, the Marshlands of
Mesopotamia are on the Tentative List submitted by Iraq to the World Heritage Committee in
2003. After severe deterioration in the past decades, a major restoration program was started
after 2003. The progress achieved is under threat now due to the construction of the Ilisu Dam.
Dear Committee Members,
We, the undersigned, urge you to assess the impacts of the Ilisu Dam construction on the World
Heritage of the Mesopotamia region and to insist on the State Party to refrain from any action
infringing upon any sites bearing the potential to become a World Heritage Site.

Leave a Comment October 21, 2012

Iran’s nature does not have enough supporters in Iran

A while ago an incident in the Abr forest region of Shahrood (a city in Semnan province) Province caused the environmentalists great despair. As a number of 150 trees were cut down by a group of local villagers, living near this marvelous forest, overnight. They stated their dissatisfaction with the resistance from the Environmental Protection Institution against construction of a road crossing through the forest as the reason behind this behavior. However, this incident was neither the first nor will it be the last of the confrontations between locals and organizations responsible for the environment and natural resources in Iran. Confrontation between rangers and some ranchers, farmers, hunters and charcoal makers are usual examples of the apparent conflict between local communities’ interests and the considerations so as to protect the nature.

That only in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Provine, yearly one thousand hectares of Zagros forests turns into charcoal, or the constant cultivation of Zagros jungle understory despite knowing what hazard it would be to these jungles biomass capacity, the fact that the never-ending greed of the ranchers and farmers in occupying the land has been and still is being announced as the most important factor causing destruction of the northern and western natural habitats In Iran, that the refuse collection crisis and its landscape contamination is now becoming a threatening trend, obliteration of the oldest and the most valuable botanical garden being met with silence just as the dolphin slaughter in Persian Gulf and the drilling of multiple illegal wells as the existing ones are being overly used  (causing soil depletion), and so on and so on … are all indications of one single sad yet true reality: that Iran’s nature, the way it deserves, does not have enough supporters, does it?

 

The issue becomes bolder as we realize the conditions are not the same worldwide. In fact in many countries, environmentalists enjoy such value and position that would entitle them to winning the decrees to stop nuclear power plants from operation as we recently witnessed as in the cases of Germany, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. Sometime ago, when  Merkel’s government announced its refusal of cooperating in construction of a  dam on one of the major headwaters of Euphrates, many received it in astonishment;   however, the surprise was even bigger when people realized the withdrawal was neither due to financial reasons nor to the disloyalty of the Turk  party towards their commitments, but the German government being forced by the activist pressure had no other option other than to give up the project and pay the due financial compensation.

The story was that the environmentalists as well as the green party in Germany had threatened Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union: that provided her government do not step back from signing the cooperation, they will shake the cornerstones of the coalition government which is what happened after “Stuttgart 21” when some of the most influential members of Merkel’s party and some cabinet ministers were, due to what was regarded as carelessness, were forced to resign.

Having said that, there is one considerable difference between building a dam in Turkey and building an underground station in Stuttgart for which 300 trees were about to be cut down. The fear of losing 300 trees in a city in Germany seems logical as it directly affects the quality of Germans’ lives, but when it comes to a dam in Turkey, no such thing will happen to Germans and their country. on the contrary, at the time of economical crisis, through such source of income provided by such a profitable and lucrative cooperation, Germans could improve their economy as well as their lives.

 

Nevertheless, the German Greens feared that in case of building the dam, desertification would accelerate in Mesopotamia, the number of dust source areas in Iraq and its neighboring countries (especially Iran) would increase and also the subsurface water level would go down.

In other words, the atmosphere dominant in Germany could be defined as people’s love of nature is no longer domestic or local but it has reached a global level and these days German environmentalists not only struggle to push their government to take domestic eco-friendly measures, but are also worried about ecological stability thousands of miles away. Even further, they are ready to pay for it, why? Why are the people born and raised in Germany ready to trade their own comfort for our habitable planet stability? Why?

The answer to this question, however, is not so hard, specifically after we learn it has been nearly half a century since instructive and informative ecological contents have been included in Germans’ school curriculum; in addition, scarcely does one find a newspaper or a magazine in which at least one column is not dedicated to environmental issues daily, weekly or monthly. Moreover, their broadcast media interestingly and critically analyze eco-related policies in Germany as well as the whole EU. In short, the ever-increasing people’s fondness for nature protection is the desirable result of a 50-year logical and standardized plan.

Now, can “you” name one invariable weekly or monthly TV program on Iranian national TV channels analyzing the recent eco-related issues just as we observe it in other domains like sports (90) and cinema (Haft)? Can “you” even name one fixed daily page dedicated to environment in one of the mass-printed Iranian newspapers criticizing decisions and policies in this domain? It’s even more depressing when taking a look at primary and secondary school curriculum, learning how little paid attention to environment as much as we are unable to track the foot-prints of such teachings and consideration in our cinema and TV series.

Now is high time we went back to our key question; is there still anybody who is still not sure “why Iranian nature, the way it deserve does not have supporters and protectors”?

6 Comments March 18, 2012

What does Parishan’s self burning tell us?

Last week Iran’s nature took one of its finest sons and most refined adepts into its heart for ever. Pure body of Kambiz Bahram-Soltani was buried in the section 14 of “Behesht é Zahra” in the midst of the great sorrow of his bereaved friends and fans. He was the man who fought from Miankale to Kolah-ghazi and from Dena to Parishan, till his last breath for the love of the nature.

Last June, a day I will never forget, while walking on the desolate bed of Parishan, Bahram-Soltani was describing his devastation to me; “To see Parishan like this makes me Parishan, Darvish” he sighed. (Parishan means anguished distressed in Farsi).

He is not with us now to see how Parishan, the greatest body of sweet water in Iran, became even more dry , thanks to the indifference of you and me, stayed dry for so long until it chose to put an end to its agony and eventually gave in to self-burning.

In general, for what reason do whales commit suicide? Why do mountain goats jump off the highest cliffs and end their lives? Why do dolphins lose the way of the sea and choose to follow the path of death? is it not because they do not see any other way to prolonged existence?

Parishan was doomed to the same fate when its most important feeders the Barm flat and its surrounding mountain skirts were facing the worst nudity of their past 500 years and a total 80% of the marvelous oaks of Zagros Mountains have virtually dried out and vanished forever.

Despite such dire straits, we witness everyday that cultivation of horticultural and agricultural products on the under story of Barm clearly accelerates and plunders the very last ounces of moisture in the soil, leaving Parishan no chance whatsoever, to fill up its water springs and regain its life.

We also know that nearly one thousand illegal wells have been drilled to compensate for the excessively expanding agricultural lands and for the low level of precipitation, which of course does not make the situation any better.

On top of this, we should add the faulty decision of putting the Kazeroon combined-cycle power plant into operation, in such location that makes it an expropriating burden to Parishan knowing it would extract the very last drops of water from the lake for its cooling systems.

In the meanwhile, we hear that the new industrial town of Kazeroon is planned to be located in a way that its sewage might pose another threat, in terms of drinking water quality, to both Parishan plain and the city of Kazeroon.

This is why Parishan has been burning since last Wednesday, it committed self-burning the same way Soltan Abad é Shiraz (in Qareh daq) burned last year which resulted in a phenomenon that neither the present nor the past generation had seen and not even heard before.

In fact, what happens is that the lower layers of the soil in the wetland environment reaches an extent of dryness that the plant remnants, so called peat, decompose and produce methane gas faster than normal so that the soil can easily ignite as soon as the temperature rises to a certain level, and the fire spreads quickly to the entire area.

Therefore the over exploitation of the ground water aquifers, driven by a desire of being able to boast about self sufficiency in agriculture regardless of the price, is the reason behind the land subsidence and the resultant soil self immolation. Once all organic assets of the sub-surface beds are destroyed there will be no sign of soil or of the soil-born life.

Thus, developing sustainable consumption patterns, increasing irrigation efficiency in agriculture and reducing the waste rates in this sector, maintaining the livestock and pasture balance, inhibiting the operation of the intensive industrial centers as well as suspending bills such as “leisure agriculture”, and finally introducing alternative income options for farmers and ranchers are among the foremost measures that should be taken to reduce the dependency of livelihood on the land and to set the ground for the revival of the landscapes such as Parishan,  Arjan, Barm, Zagros, Mianjangal; so that they could bring life back to the the local inhabitants of Fars province.

5 Comments February 7, 2012

To address what necessity?

The Farsi version of Combating Desertification weblog has been responsible for sharing information in the domain of ecology and natural resources since 2005.  This responsibility has not been posed on the founder of the web-log (Mohammad Darvish) from outside, but stems from a profound inner passion within him. The weblog has now reached a point where it contains more than 3,000,000 words and thousands of pictures and has been updated at least for 22000 times growing into a reliable reference for a large number of activists, students and others interested in environmental issues.

On a suggestion from Mr F. Salamatbakhsh, a dear friend of mine, we now intend to make the content of the weblog accessible to English-speaking readers so as to open an illuminating window towards the ups and downs of the nature of our country, Iran. I am very grateful to those who support Farhad and me with their sincere advice and guidance in this new direction. May the god of dorcas gazelles, cheetahs, cranes and oaks help us prove worthy of such generous support.

I have dedicated this first note to Shadegan, a wetland I love very much, and that we all know is not happy (meaning of shad) these days, is it?

Acknowledgment:

My special thanks to Dr. Mehdi Eshraghi (Green Blog Administration) for preparing the foundation for the English pages of Combating Desertification; also to Ms Shahnaz Moussavian who volunteered to assist Farhad by doing the technical and literary edition of his translations. I must admit I am thrilled by the sympathy and support that we have received from you. I feel overwhelmed with joy and excitement. Long live your honor and your love for your country.

1 Comment January 20, 2012

Introduction of criteria and indicators of desertification in Iran’s environment

 

Based on the rules and considerations mentioned above, the necessary indicators are proposed in this chapter for the assessment of the desertification trend in Iran. But before reviewing these indicators it should be noted that they can be defended with certainty when Iran’s desertification susceptibility maps are prepared according to the said criteria and indicators and considered by the scientists. It should be noted that actually there is no comprehensive method for the assessment of desertification with global approval; the emergence, change and evolution of methods such as FAO/UNEP (1984), Global Assessment of Human-Induced Soil Degradation (GLASOD), Assessment of Soil Degradation (ASSOD) (UNEP, 1997) and finally the Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands (LADA) (FAO, 2002 and LADA’s E-mail Conference, 2002), present these assessment short-comings. So the Committee for Science and Technology (CST) prioritize this subject for Desertification Control Convention.

Leave a Comment August 7, 2011

Standards for desertification criteria and indicators designation

Whereas the desertification indicators in each region should be able to describe the qualitative impact of the considered criterion in the formation of desertification process regarding its importance, strength and extent; theretofore we have to find valid criteria and indicators for the measurement of desertification trends or talking about the assessment and control methods of this phenomenon will only be meaningful in books.

Another issue is the accessibility of the measurement means according to the certain conditions of the studying area. For instance, the lead accumulation indicator of soil as an assessment means of toxic substances accumulation indicator is considered inefficient and a waste of time in an area that is far away from the industrial poles and basically lead tetra-ethyl is not used for the enhancement of the octane number of the automobile fuels. Also a criterion should describe the affected area entirely, rather than areas out of the affected boundaries, and the indicators of the related criterion should be built up according to the area specifications and conditions (on local applicability level).

The last perception is based on the knowledge that without considering the cultural, social and economic conditions of a society, the transfer and application of the best and modern technologies for eradication of desertification is impossible; a perception that more than two decades (since 1980) absorb more advocates (JDCR, 1994). Therefore, taking into account the criteria such as local organs, such as the power structure, the state of human development indicators, social groups, race, gender, family relationships, religion, household behaviors and the state of the women, economic incentives, labor force, immigration patterns, land tenure, participation, receptivity level to group reflections, the importance of the structural management in decision-makings can be more advantageous to the assessment of the desertification trend and discovering confrontation methods rather than taking action on the basis of criteria and indicators resulted from the natural environment.

Rubio and Bochet (1996) presented a series of necessary specifications for the selected indicators of desertification as follows:

Desirably quantitative;

  • Highly sensitive to the environmental changes;
  • Widely applicable and accessible;
  • Relatively independent;
  • Easily measured and economical;
  • Describe the current situation;
  • Indicate the difference between the changes resulted from the natural cycles and human pressures;
  • Depending on the important ecological phenomena;
  • Accordance with the conditions of the studying area.

Finally, the difficult and time consuming process of desertification assessment will come to reality and make the desertification control process, shorter, cheaper, more efficient and sustainable when the criteria and the indicators designated have the following six specifications:

1)                  Authentic, definite and easiest possible criteria for the study of different dimensions of the desertification trends that is considered an obvious and indigenous descriptor;

2)                  Assessment possibility of the selected criteria for four aspects of current condition, speed, natural potential and desertification risks;

3)                  Simplest, cheapest and most efficient possible indicators by considering the regional specifications for measurement and analysis of the related criteria;

4)                  Designated criteria and indicators include the unique general specifications of the arid, semi-arid and arid sub-humid climatic zones and their local features in the environment of Iran;

5)                  Selected criteria should more consider the causes of desertification rather than the event itself;

6)                  Possibility of continual observation and deduction of the selected criteria for the purpose of evolution.

Leave a Comment June 5, 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).

Leave a Comment April 7, 2011

Desertification characteristics:

Based on the last definition of desertification presented to the Inter-Governmental Convention on Drought and Desertification control Committee (CCD) and ratified by its members on 26 December 1996 (UNEP, 1997), the only difference between desertification and land degradation is considered the climatic restrictions of the affected zones. In other words, while climatic factors never contribute to land degradation, a part of its function in the fragile climatic zones of dry lands (except hyper arid zones) is called desertification[1]. Therefore, from the total of 13012.6 million hectares of the lands of the earth that can undergo the land degradation trends, approximately 5169.2 million hectares or 39.7% are potentially affected by desertification.

Therefore, it is concluded that two conditions are essential although not enough for the occurrence of desertification in every land; 1) the discussed area have the minimum potential for production[2]; 2) the production potential of the land have not exceeded certain limits[3].. Thus 978.1 million hectares of lands of the earth because of not having the first and another 6875 million hectares because of not fulfilling the second conditions are out of the boundaries of desertification trend. But the necessary condition is an external factor that causes change and degradation of the environment; a change that is generally irreversible. This external factor is assumed the result of natural pressures such as climatic changes or human pressures. However; while the climatic changes generally happen in the scale of geological ages, the desertification process degraded and deteriorated more than 5 billion hectares of productive lands (38.5% of all lands of the earth) with a hasty growth (Daily, 1997); therefore as mentioned above, humans are the most important factor of happening and intensification of desertification in the world, a creature that have most suffered from this process himself[4]. On the other hand if we even accept that the natural factors are effective in the happening of desertification, only the human factor can slow down or stop the desertification trend (FAO/UNEP, 1984). This is a fact that should always be considered in the introduction mechanism of desertification criteria and some factors should be selected regarding the interactions among the criteria and the human functions.



[1] The reason for using another scientific term instead of land degradation goes to the incentives and more feeling underlying the word desertification which take more attention unconsciously (Le Houerou, 1998 and Horstmann, 2002); though this attention have most often led the people and authorities to assume desertification as a synonym to the physical expansion of natural deserts and ignore the main invisible reducing trend of soil productivity in more humid areas; a misunderstanding, the result of which is observed in the designation of wrong criteria and factors for desertification (Ekhtesasi and Mohajeri, 1997).

[2] It means that the annual average precipitation of the region is less than 5% of the annual average evapotranspiration (Wolfe, 1997).

[3] The definite limit is designated as annual average precipitation lower than 65% of the annual average evapotranspiration (Wolfe, 1997).

[4] The bitter satire is the unwise management of resources by the wisest creature (human) on the earth!

Leave a Comment March 2, 2011