Sahand: bride of Iran’s mountains with valuable biodiversity

July 14, 2020 - 16:15

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 Sahand Protected Area, 26 of which are endemic. Types of plant species in the highlands include Astragalus, Acantholimon, Euphorbia are scattered in the northeastern slopes, which is 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 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 is 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.

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