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General Information

 

The Rangelands of  IRAN

 

The rangelands of Iran comprise all of that area which is grazed extensively by livestock according to the tradition of common law and the peoples ancestral rights. this includes mountains, foot- hills and plains hacking natural vegetation of herbs, grasses, fords, and bushes. 6.gif (23536 bytes)

THE CLASSIFICATION OF RANGELANDS IN IRAN
Iran comprises od 165 million hectares of which about 90 mil, ha.(54.5%) is rangelands. the reaming 75 mil. ha comprise 23.8 mil.ha. of agriculture land, 12.2 mil. ha. of wood land, 35.3 mil, ha. od Desert & degraded lands, 307 mil. ha. of inland water bodies; urban & rural areas and others.

The rangelands of Iran are classified three classes according to vegetation cover.

I)Herbs dominant summer grazing areas:
These rangelands totaling 14 mil. ha. occur in the cooler high altitude regions of the country. they are grazed during the summer months and the vegetation cover is in general a combination of soft herbs and grass species.
These rangelands are in fairly good condition
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II) Shrub dominant winter grazing areas:
These rangelands comprise about 60 mil.ha. occur at low elevations in the warmer regions of the country. they are grazed during winter.
Due to overgrazing its condition is just fair.

III) Desert grazing areas:
These grazing areas comprise about 16 mil. ha. and occur in the desert regions of the country.
Because of harsh climatic factors and over grazing the rangelands of this region are generally in poor and unsatisfactory condition.

IMPORTANCE AND BENEFITS OF RANGELANDS:
Range vegetation cover has many benefits including the following:
1) Conservation of soil and protection from erosion.
2) Maintaining the drological balance

3)Greening and purifying the environment.
4) Provision of wildlife habitats
5) Providing forage and fodder for villager's and nomad's livestock.
6) Through the grazing animals providing a part of the protein requirements of the country.
7) Producing medicinal herbs and other products for human use.

It is not unrealistic to claim that the supply of agricultural and livestock products in Iran is inextricably linked with the maintenance od viable rangelands. the fragility and importance of the rangelands is emphasised by the fact that the formation of a 1 cm. layer of soil takes from 100 to 800 years.

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GENERAL STATUS OF RANGELANDS OF THE COUNTRY:
Currently the rangelands of the country produce about 10 million tonnes tonnes of grazable dry matter per year which is sufficient for feeding 50 million animal units for 100 days. By implementation of suitable range rehabilitation programmes and the adoption range and fodder production can be increased by at least 35 mil. tones of usable dry matter per year which is almost equivalent to the traditional flock and herd feed requirements.

The difference between the actual and the potential production is due to past policies lack of coordination, incorrect utilization, and destruction of rangelands by cultivation and conversion of these to the low yielding rain-fed crops.

RANGE MAMAGMENT AND LAND TENURE POLICIES:

As mentioned before the majority of the rangelands of the country are not in good condition, therefore further deterioration of these rangelands could cause a serious threat to the productivity of the country. To implement the gangland management practices which are already proven, will require fundamental changes to land tenure. the main role, for implementing the practices, has to be given to the livestock owners and laundress. 3.gif (29606 bytes)

It means longterm lease of the rangelands to the nomads, livestock owenrs and others who are holding the grazing permission and are willing to implement the approved range management plans under the supervision of the Range Department of the Forest & Range organization.

CURRENT PROGRRAMMES:

Cadastral survey and delineation
This means identifying the person who has the legal right to utilize a specified gangland and defining the boundaries of that land.
Their rights will be settled and assured for all puropses. the grazing license holders will be expected to in vest and participate in range rehabilitation programmes. Grazing licenses will be issued by FRO.

Preparation of range management plans
After completion ot the cadastral survey and delineation process the next step will be preparation of range management plans for those who are holding grazing licenses. It is intended that not only the range and climatic conditions which influence productivity will be considered, but also the aims of the land users. that is, the programmes will be developed with full participation by the land users.

In addition to the above mentioned factors the preparation of a sound and feasible range management plant, will take into account all possible related points to achieve the best possible level of production in the particular range site. This may incited the implementation and adoption of suitable range rehabilitation and pasture establishment programmes which has already been designated and included in the plan document. These range management plan documents will have to be assessed and approved by the Range Department of the Forest and Range Organization..

Formulation of a contract between the F.R.O an the land user

After preparation of mutually satisfactory management plans the government will lease the land to the landuser for 30 years and draw up an official agreement/contract between the government agency and the land user (the Range Offices and the plan administrators).
Although the ownership of the land will, however, remain with the Government, the lease deed will be transferable from the land user to his heirs.
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The counteract will remain valid till evidence of an infringement. the observance of the terms of reference of the plan and the contract provisions are essential for both the Government and the land user.

At present the responsibility for planning and formulating policies for the rangelands in the country is legally delegated to the Range Department of the Forest and Range organization.

The skillful and experienced experts from the Range Department together with the expeienced provincial based officers, formulate the gangland management policies. these are based on the existing socioeconomic and environmental conditions and on internationally gained expire ce. The Range Department is also responsible for the lollow up implementation of these approved policies.

Rangeland users will undertake range rehabilitation activities only when they are assured that either the land belongs to them or they have the right to use it for an indefinite period.

We believe that without the contribution and participation of livestock owners, nomads, and herdsmen the efforts to implement the range rehabilitation programmes will be relatively ineffective.

Since the improvement of rangelands, in most cases, require a long span of time along with a large investments, therefore the majority of grazers either can not afford of do not have a tendency to invest in such condition.But with partial governmental support and technical advice and know of the range experts, the improvement in shorter span can be tolerate with larger benefits for the future. Accordingly leases/graziers who are willing to take-up range improvement will do so due to result oriented achievements. For better relations, these people will be provided with urgent need in respect of temporary feeds and etc. for their livestock at subsidized rates and the same will be part of the requirements.

Direct seeding and hoeing/sowing of quality range species
The plant density of the palatable and valuable range species has decreased, consequently the range condition has declined. Therefore sowing the seeds of adaptable range species will be an integral part of many range progress.

On the flat plains and areas with very low slopes direct seeding with tillage is an appropriate method.

On steeper slopes and mountainous rangelands, minimal disturbance of the soil surface is important, hence seeds are drilled or hoeing & sowing methods are used.

Water harvesting
Degraded rangelands with low vegetation cover have high surface run off. this results in soil erosion and salutation of the rivers, dams, cheekdams and etc... It may also result in floods causing loss of human life, plantations, livestock and crops. this run off could have been well utilized for the development of plantation and forage, if there had been adequate surface cover with appropriate engineering treatments e.g. contour furrows, ditches, and pitting along with seeding.

Water facilities for livestock
Supplying potable water to livestock is important to reduce mortality rates and increase the production In addition it results in a more even distribution of livestock on the rangeland and hence reduces overall grazing pressure.

Improvement of water supplies is carried out by constructing water storage tanks, improving springs, providing troughs, drilling shallow wells and the installation of wind mills.

Restpration of pasture on degraded marginal lands
Over a long period of time, shifting cultivation within the rangelands has exacerbated soil erosion by decreasing the perennial component of the vegetation this has occurred without obtaining viable crop yields and forcing the farmes to abandon the area. the degraded and abandoned area. duet to lack of vegetation cover, is exposed to erosion causing irreversible loss to national economy.

Transplanting seedlings
In some areas of low rainfall, there may by very poor germination of direct sown range seeds. It is therefore advisable to raise the appropriate seedlings for the rangelands in a nursery and to transplant them prior to the seasonal rains.