Changes in Vegetation and Soil Characteristics of Steppe and Semi-steppe Rangelands under Impact of Solar Power Plant in Absard and Shahrerey, Iran

Document Type : Research and Full Length Article

Authors

Assistant Professor, Rangeland Research Division, Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO), Tehran, Iran

Abstract

In recent years, Iran has begun to move towards the development of the use of renewable energy sources in line with global developments. In this study, Side effects of two solar power plants on rangeland condition were studied. These solar power plants have been constructed using mosaic panels for installation obliquely on 16 ha in Absard rangeland (semi-steppe) and 23 ha in Shahrerey rangeland (steppe), Iran in 2016. In this study, sampling was performed in both rangelands for solar power plant and adjacent control. Sampling was done in 2019, based on the use of 100 m transects with one and two square-meter plots for semi-steppe and steppe, respectively, with a distance of 10 m on transects, systematically. Soil samples were taken from a depth of 0-30 cm from the beginning, middle and end of each transect as a composite sample. The obtained data were compared using independent T-test by SPSS software. Results showed that in comparing of soil factors between solar power plant and adjacent control site in both rangelands, there were no significant differences between treatments. However, vegetation cover and total biomass between solar power plant and control in Absard were significantly different (P<0.01). In Absard site, the vegetation cover (39% vs. 51%) and total biomass with values of (254 vs. 312 kg/h) were obtained in solar power plant and control, respectively, so the panel significantly reduced the performance of the vegetation cover and biomass in semi-steppe rangeland. In contrast, In Shahrerey , the vegetation factors between the solar power plant and the control were not significantly different from each other. So, from the point of view of natural resources and according to the results of the present study, for electricity generation, the establishment of solar power plant in the steppe rangelands is recommended as compared to semi-steppe rangeland.

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