Evaluating desertification intensity and its impacts on the vegetation loss in Shir Ahmad wildlife refuge of Sabzevar, Khorasan Razavi province

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Desert Areas Management, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment. Ferdowsi University of Mashhad. Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment,, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Department of Environment, Faculty of Natural Resources and Marine Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Noor, Iran.



The purpose of this research was to evaluate the intensity of desertification and its impacts on the reduction of vegetation in Shir Ahmad Wildlife refuge in Sabzevar township of Razavi Khorasan Province. To evaluate the intensity of desertification, the ESAs model and the three criteria of climate quality, vegetation and human management were used. The results of this research showed that based on the ESAs model, desertification occurred in the study area during the years 2008 to 2018 and its trend was increasing. Thus, in 2008, 64.9% of Shir Ahmad region is in the severe hazard class and 35.1% of the other lands in the region are in the moderate hazard class. However, in terms of the intensity of desertification and ecological conditions in 2018 about 68.5% of lands are in the severe desertification hazard class and 31.5% are in the moderate hazard class. The results of this research showed that in the last 10 years, the continuation of the drought and changes in climatic parameters along with human activities have been the main causes of the desertification expansion and vegetation reduction in Shir Ahmad Wildlife refuge. Therefore, significant methods should be taken regarding the preservation and sustainability of this area in order to prevent the destruction of plant and animal species. Some of the measures such as reducing the grazing pressure of domestic animals from the pastures, replacing industrial animal husbandry methods instead of the traditional method, implementing land restoration programs and providing fodder for wildlife, will be among the proposed programs for the management and protection of Shir Ahmad Wildlife refuge.


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