The Role of Local Settlements in Combating Desertification of Isfahan's Desert Rangelands

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Ph.D. Rangeland Sciences, Social-Management, Gorgan University of Agricultural sciences & Natural Resources

2 Ph.D. Rangeland Sciences, Ecology, Gorgan University of Agricultural sciences & Natural Resources- Forest, Rangeland and Watershed Management Organization, Isfahan

3 Research Professor - The School of Plant Sciences, Adjunct Faculty, Honors College, Arizona, USA

Abstract

Undoubtedly, land degradation linked to desertification causes a decrease in qualitative and quantitative features of natural resources. This research aimed to assess land desertification by local residents and their role in controlling desertification in Isfahan province, Iran in 2016. The criteria were soil climate, vegetation, erosion, and demography. The indicators of soil texture, stone fragment, organic matter, soil depth, Electrical Conductivity (EC), soil drainage, soil slope, precipitation, evapotranspiration, aridity index, fire risk, erosion protection, drought resistance, plant cover percent, wind erosion, water erosion, land use, population density, grazing intensity, policy, and management. Some parameters include land use, DEM, NDVI, roads, springs, fire history data, stress intensity, tolerance, mean productivity, AUM index, lithology, morphology and relief, wind speed, soil characteristics, plant cover percent, wind erosion features, soil moisture, type and distribution of sand dunes, and land management. The assessment of desertification has been conducted by the Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use (MEDALUS) method in ArcGIS10 software. This research was based on the importance of socio-economic issues, establishing a realistic framework for qualitative indicators and indices adapted to Iran’s situation. Those are population, poverty and economics, people rights and institutional regulations, and socio-cultural criteria achieved by an interview with local communities and experts. A single desertification status map was generated based on all the quality maps. Finally, the generated map was compared with local settlements density map. Results showed that 91.23% of the rangelands (with area 38203 km2) are classified as severe and moderate with low settlements density and 1.83% of the rangelands (with area 766 km2) are lower in severity with high settlement density. This result illustrated that local settlements and nomadic have a positive role in combating the desertification. They are able to eliminate the desertification to minimum and vice versa. The desertification status and local settlements density maps are essential in management efforts to combat the desertification via local settlement abilities.

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Main Subjects


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