September 30, 2023

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Sahand, the bride of mountains, boasts valuable flora, fauna

TEHRAN – Sahand, a volcanic peak and mountain range in northwestern Iran with 17 peaks with a height of over 3,700 meters, is known as the bride of mountains in Iran thanks to its abundance of plant species, grasslands, flower gardens, and pastures.

Plant species

Some 156 plant species have been identified in the Sahand Protected Area, 26 of which are endemic. Types of plant species in the highlands include Astragalus, Acantholimon, and Euphorbia are scattered in the northeastern slopes and are usually used as a winter habitat for wild goats.

Extreme cold during the winter and heavy snow in this mountain have prevented the growth of trees and shrubs, but different plant genera, all of which are herbaceous perennials and annuals, are found in abundance in the pastures and meadows of Sahand.

Wildlife species

Significant species of Sahand protected area include Armenian mouflon, caracal, brown bear, leopard, wild cat, weasel, wolf, fox, bats, and various types of rodents.

According to the last census in 1394 (March 2015-March 2016), the population of wild goats in this area is estimated at over 500.

The area is home to many 185 species of native and migratory birds including the Golden eagle, Kite, Vulture, common buzzard, Montagu’s harrier, kestrel, hobby, and saker falcon.

Hosting numerous mammals and rare species of plants and aquatic animals, the Sahand range has become an important habitat for wildlife and memorable sightseeing for tourists.

Climate characteristic

Sahand mountainous region has a cold climate. The amount of rainfall in this area is between 300 to 600 mm per year. In terms of climatic division, the Sahand region is among the regions with an altitude of more than 2000 meters. Mild summers and cold long winters are the characteristics of these areas.

Due to the existence of the Sahand volcanic mountain, which has created a special type of climate in Azarbaijan, meteorologists have expressed several views on the Sahand climate and its territory.

Wladimir Köppen, an Austrian climatologist, has identified the interior of Azarbaijan within the radius of the Sahand and Sabalan mountains, a rainy, humid, and very cold climate with long, semi-arid winters. There is no forest in this mountain, but it is covered with excellent and rich pastures.

Sahand hunting-prohibited area

Although this area is very important in terms of desirable habitat for species of wildlife and aquatic animals and also having recreational potential, the value and credibility of Sahand are more due to its abundant water resources and the vastness and richness of its rangelands.

Sahand hunting-prohibited area has been under protection since 2000 with the aim of preserving the habitat and important species of Armenian mouflon and wild goats.

Diverse plants

In terms of biological and genetic diversity, Iran is among the top twenty countries in the world, so more than 8,000 plant species and a significant number of exclusive species in Iran have placed important parts of the country in the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

According to Ali Salajeqeh – head of the Department of Environment – Iran is the origin of an important part of the valuable genetic reserves of the world and the primary and secondary center of diversity of countless important species, including wheat, apple, saffron, pistachio, rose, pomegranate, as well as medicinal plants.

The policy of the Forests, Range, and Watershed Management Organization is in the exploitation of natural resources in the form of management plans. Therefore, in biological operations, the use of species that contain medicinal, aromatic, and edible products is prioritized.

Edible plants

Many plants, including Mentha, Rheum, Rhus, and Crocus, and a variety of shrub fruits, including Crataegus, Mespilus, and Berberis, are raw or cooked or they are used as a spice in all kinds of food. Since ancient times, these plants have been used in cooking various native and local dishes.

Medicinal Plants

In the pharmaceutical industry and traditional medicine, different parts of each plant, including roots, leaves, fruits, flowers, seeds, and plant oils are used in various forms such as poultices, infusions, syrups, and herbal extracts.

The effects of these plants can be seen in various ways, such as soothing against anti-inflammation, anti-flatulence, anti-nausea, anti-arteriosclerosis, anti-cough, anti-asthma, anti-parasitic, anti-blood pressure, blood purifier, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, and tonic.

Ornamental plants

There are plants that are used to decorate green spaces or as houseplants. These plants are kept for display or because of their special aroma. Sometimes, the unusual characteristics of these plants make them classified as ornamental plants. Nowadays, the cultivation of ornamental flowers and their export and import has become one of the most important incomes of countries.

Industrial plants

There are plants that are used in different industries or their modified varieties or their compounds and products are used as raw materials in different sectors of industry, cultivation, etc. Starch products, sugar products, oil products, essential oil products, colored products, and textile products are manufactured using industrial plants.

Soil stabilizing plants

These plants are usually found in steep areas or in deserts and stabilize soil and sand and play a decisive role in controlling floods and advancing deserts. Soil protection depends on the protection of vegetation and the destruction of vegetation means the destruction and loss of soil.

Low vegetation

Considering that Iran is one of the countries with low vegetation and only seven percent of its total area is covered with forests, the need to increase the country’s green space is very important.

One of the very important reasons for increasing the country’s vegetation is that Iran is the seventh carbon-producing country in the world and in terms of carbon absorption, Iran has a very low rank.

Due to the importance of the per capita increase in Iran’s green spaces, a campaign titled “Green Iran, Strong Iran” and a national program for planting one billion saplings over the course of four years were launched.

Experts say tree planting is a climate change solution that doesn’t require scientists to come up with technological solutions to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. It is available now. It is the cheapest one possible and every one of us can get involved.

The national budget bill for the current Iranian calendar year (March 2023-March 2024) has allocated a special line of credit for planting trees.

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