People, Environment

Drive Against Desertification Intensifies

Drive Against Desertification Intensifies Drive Against Desertification Intensifies

Special attention has been given to Iran’s ongoing battle with desertification in the country’s sixth five-year economic development plan (2016-21), according to a top official of the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization.

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Nasser Moqaddasi, the deputy head of the organization, said the sixth plan aims to restore 500,000 hectares of land afflicted by desertification.

“About 20 million hectares of Iran’s desert ecosystems are threatened by wind erosion, of which 6.4 million hectares spread across 18 provinces are in a critical condition,” he said.

The official noted that forests and farmlands are national assets and must be protected against desertification.

Recalling the associated problems, Moqaddasi said dried up lands that lack vegetation turn into sources of dust storms.

“Those living in Iran’s western and southwestern regions know firsthand of the crippling effect of dust storms,” he said.

According to national statistics, Iran’s land mass is 165 million hectares, 32 million of which are desert areas.  No reliable statistics are available on the rate of desertification in Iran in the past half century.

However, the effects are apparent: water shortages, destruction of rangelands and dust storms.

If no remedial action is taken, Iran’s deserts will expand significantly in future and threaten the  livelihoods for citizens everywhere, especially people living on rangelands.