Sustainable agriculture to be implemented in Bakhtegan wetland

April 23, 2022 - 16:56

TEHRAN – A restoration plan and model of sustainable agriculture previously implemented on the catchment area of Lake Urmia, will be piloted in 15 sites around the Bakhtegan wetland of Fars province.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the Iranian Wetlands Conservation Project and the Department of Environment (DOE), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Government of Japan to implement Lake Urmia restoration achievements on Bakhtegan and Shadegan wetlands from 2021 to 2024.

By using the capacity built and the lessons learned, the new project will be scaled up to additional pilots in the surrounding areas of Bakhtegan wetland, head of Fars Agricultural Organization, Mojtaba Dehghanpour said.

In Iran, 141 wetlands with ecological value have been identified, of which 25 wetlands are designated as wetlands of international importance (registered in the Ramsar Convention) and four sites are biosphere reserves.“In the field of wetlands, we must specifically pursue three strategies of adaptation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and short-term measures to combat drought,” he stated.

The environmental, social, and economic impacts of the project are assessed through satellite imagery and space-based technology, he added, IRNA reported on Thursday.

Bakhtegan is a Salt Lake with a surface area of 3,500 square kilometers it was once Iran's second-largest lake. It was fed by the Kor River. Several dams on the river had significantly reduced water flow into the lake, increasing its salinity and endangering the lake's populations of flamingos and other migratory birds.

The main problem of Bakhtegan wetland is the lack of proper planning for available water resources. Although drought and climate change have also been influential, the need for livelihood change, especially in the agricultural sector, is felt to reduce dependence on water resources, Hamid Zohrabi, provincial DOE chief, said.

Wetlands play a major role in protecting the land against floods and the impacts of storms. They provide food and diverse habitats which support genetic, species, and ecosystem biodiversity. Wetlands play a key role in the life cycles of many species and in annual migration patterns.

Unfortunately, wetlands are being degraded and lost due to pollution, overexploitation, climate change, and human population growth. In recognition of these challenges, the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty, was adopted in 1971.

In Iran, 141 wetlands with ecological value with an area of over 3 million hectares have been identified, of which 25 wetlands are designated as wetlands of international importance (registered in the Ramsar Convention) covering more than 1.4 million hectares and four sites are biosphere reserves.

Of Iran’s 25 Ramsar sites about one-third are under pressure or in critical condition.

Former chief of the Department of Environment, Issa Kalantari, had said in order to restore wetlands in the country a budget of 600 trillion rials (nearly $2.4 billion) is required.


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