People, Environment

Mulching in Khuzestan Debated

Mulching in Khuzestan DebatedMulching in Khuzestan Debated

Mulching, a common method of stabilizing soil to prevent dust storms, is not performed in Khuzestan Province, the director of the provincial office of the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization said.

Ahmad Motiei also told Mehr News Agency that the method is not appropriate for the province’s geography.

“Based on strategies devised by the Agriculture Ministry, we have been given two tasks, moisturizing lands and improving vegetation by planting trees and saplings,” the news agency quoted him as saying.

Empty fields are common sources of dust storms since the soil is exposed to wind. However, shrubs can help guard the soil, while trees act as natural barriers against dust and sand storms.

Mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil. The most common type in Iran is petroleum-based mulch whose ecological impact is still a matter of debate.

Parviz Kordovani, a renowned deserts expert, is a major critic of the technique.

“The substance reeks, blackens the lands and increases the area’s temperature, causing warm and stinky winds,” he had once said. “The mulch also threatens flora and fauna.”

There are seven major sources of dust storm in Khuzestan, including Hour al-Azim (53,000 hectares), the area between Shalamcheh and Jafir, northeast and southeast of Ahvaz, Omidieh, Hendijan and Mahshahr.

The government’s directive targets the stabilization of 42,000 hectares of the province’s barren areas.

“The project has been implemented in more than 10,000 hectares of land over the past two years,” said Motiei.

“However, improving the vegetation alone cannot alleviate the conditions and other methods have to be implemented simultaneously to control dust storms,” he said.

For instance, in wetlands whose water levels have plummeted, planting saplings is not a viable option and the only effective solution is releasing water.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints