Rangelands Overgrazed

Rangelands OvergrazedRangelands Overgrazed

Livestock grazing in the nomadic plains of Iran are three times over and above the grazing capacity of these ranges, according to the head of range affairs bureau of the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO).

Seyed Ali Khalilpour in a recent meeting with the heads of provincial natural resource departments held in the city of Semnan warned against overgrazing and pointed out that Iran’s rangelands are home to more than 86 million heads of cattle, while the grazing capacity is only for 37 million, ISNA reported.

Referring to the damage caused by consecutive droughts on the rangelands, he said the annual forage yield has declined from 10.7 million tons to 9 million tons over the past one year.

Criticizing the “negligible” government funds for revival and maintenance of the rangelands in the five-year economic development plans, he called for more government attention to the 85 million hectares of rangelands in the country.

He also said the FRWO is planning reforms to enforce national-level supervision of fund allocation to range affairs, pointing that the “distribution of funds at provincial levels has not been satisfactory, with less than 10-20 percent of the annual budget in provincial departments allocated for rangelands.” Underlining the need to move from traditional livestock management to modern systems of animal husbandry, he said plans are underway to launch “animal fattening” units, talks for which are underway at the ministry of agricultural jihad’s Livestock Affairs Bureau.