65k hectares of meadows in Hamadan Province turn into desert

September 6, 2015 - 0:0

TEHRAN - A local official in Hamadan Province said on Wednesday that 65,000 hectares of grassland in the province have turned into deserts over the last six years, IRNA reported.

Mohammadreza Hemmati, speaking to reporters on a one-day tour to Gian-Sarab Spring in the city of Nahavand, south of Hamadan, said that about 20 years ago there were 6,000 hectares of deserts in Qahavand Plain, but now it has expanded to 65,000 hectares due to soil salinity and decline in vegetation.

Given that Hamadan Province is located in a cold and mountainous region of Iran, the phenomenon of desertification sounds alarming and calls on officials’ due attention to it, Hemmati said.

He added that the overuse of natural resources, drop in water levels, soil erosion, overgrazing, drought and decline in precipitations are serious challenges facing the province.

Hemmati also said that meadows in Hamadan Province can feed only 600,000 livestock, whereas currently more than 2 million animals are grazing there, helping accelerate the desertification.

The official explained that the nomads are allowed to have access to 90,000 hectares of the meadows to keep 45,000 livestock there, however “these people have moved over 450,000 animals in the area.”