Effects of changes in land cover and hydro-climatic parameters on the extent and nature of Alagol, Ajigol and Ulmagol international importance wetlands in the last three decades

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Fisheries and Environmental Sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran.

2 Department of Watershed Management, Faculty of Rangeland and Watershed Management, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran.



Alagol, Ajigol, and Ulmagol international importance wetlands are among the inland wetlands in the Atrak watershed, and are mainly fed by the overflow of the Atrak River. The hydrological fluctuations of this river have repeatedly caused floods or droughts in this area and have also affected the existence of these wetlands in recent years. In order to manage the wetlands optimally, it is necessary to study the fluctuations of the Atrak River and the changes in the wetlands. This is due to both human influence and climate change. We analyzed hydrological variables, climate variables, and land cover and land use changes between 1986 and 2020 in this study. Using the available data for the 34-year period of change, long-term patterns of climatic variables were compared, including temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, and Atrak River discharge. An analysis of the trends and correlations between the monthly and annual changes in the water area of the wetlands was conducted using a map illustrating the changes. According to the results of the study, The wetlands are seasonalizing their permanent beds. However, variations in temperatures, precipitation, and evaporation cannot result in sharp drops in ،the Atrak River discharge and, subsequently, in wetland area. As a result, pastures, meadows, and intensive agriculture areas have an inverse relationship with changes in wetland area. This could be a sign of increasing human activity and withdrawal of river water. In other words, climate change plays a minor role in the process of decreasing the water surface of these wetlands. The results of this study can help us to understand and identify the severity of the factors affecting the volume and surface change of these international wetlands. In addition, it can help determine their status and better manage them in the future.


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