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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-36

Investigating the environmental status of haloxylon plantations in Aran va bidgol deserts (Isfahan-Iran)

Department of Environment Health, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran

Date of Submission10-Sep-2020
Date of Decision27-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance01-Nov-2020
Date of Web Publication31-Mar-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Davarkhah Rabbani
Department of Environment Health, Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/iahs.iahs_87_20

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Aims: A large part of Iran is located in an arid area that is exposed to the influx of quicksand. This research has been done to investigate the environmental situation of Haloxylon plantations in Aran and Bidgol deserts. Materials and Methods: This research is a descriptive study. First, 31 plots with Haloxylon and two plots without Haloxylon were selected in Aran and Bidgol deserts, and the parameters of cover density, tree height, wind, humidity, and temperature in those plots were measured. Results: The results showed that 80% of the Haloxylon in the study area was green and 20% of them were dried. Temperatures and wind speed were lower in plots that had Haloxylon and higher humidity than plots without Haloxylon. Conclusion: The data from this study show that the greenness of the Haloxylon was related to the altitude. Moreover, the temperature, humidity, and wind speed had a remarkable relationship with the presence of Haloxylon and the greenness and their height.

Keywords: desertification, diseases, environment

How to cite this article:
Arokh M, Nikbakhat R, Dehghani R, Rabbani D, Miranzadeh MB, Moosavi GA. Investigating the environmental status of haloxylon plantations in Aran va bidgol deserts (Isfahan-Iran). Int Arch Health Sci 2021;8:31-6

How to cite this URL:
Arokh M, Nikbakhat R, Dehghani R, Rabbani D, Miranzadeh MB, Moosavi GA. Investigating the environmental status of haloxylon plantations in Aran va bidgol deserts (Isfahan-Iran). Int Arch Health Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 20];8:31-6. Available from: http://www.iahs.kaums.ac.ir/text.asp?2021/8/1/31/312708

  Introduction Top

Iran is one of the countries with less than one-third of the world's average rainfall,[1] which is located on the dry belt of the Northern Hemisphere and contains 60% and 35% of arid and semi-arid climates, respectively.[2] Twelve million hectares of such land are surrounded by quicksand,[3] which is constantly exposed to wind erosion and the influx of quicksand.[4] One of the first steps in stabilizing quicksand and controlling wind erosion is the use of protective mulch on the soil surface. However, today, the oil mulch, due to its problems and limitations, is less used.[5],[6],[7],[8] On the other hand, nonoil mulch such as organic matter and animal manure is not used due to their high cost.[8] While the establishment of vegetation cover and ecological barriers with the least damage can have the greatest impact on reducing wind erosion, reducing the movement of quicksand and stabilizing them, and long-term improvement of the ecosystem.[9],[10] Haloxylon spp. has found a special place in sand stabilization and desertification projects due to having adaptability and coping with the dry and stressful conditions of the desert, salinity, and heat.[11] Haloxylon is a genus of spinach belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family, and about 2 million hectares of the country's desert have been afforested by this plant.[12],[13] Of the 19 species of Haloxylon in the world, three species are known as Haloxylon persicum, Haloxylon aphyllum, and Haloxylon ammodendron in the rangelands of Iran.[14],[15] The Haloxylon plant uses its root characteristics in drought resistance.[16] The ability to absorb low soil and air moisture, tolerate very high and very low ambient temperatures, tolerate intense sunlight, and natural regeneration are the prominent features of this plant.[17] These resistant species can also be seriously threatened by pests and diseases.[15],[18] Furthermore, due to their ability to produce coal, they are misused by humans or used by livestock as fodder.[19],[20] Some researchers believe that Haloxylon in its shelter creates a special environment, in which forage plants can grow better and leads to increasing biodiversity and the floristic composition of the land.[12],[21],[22],[23] There are also reports of negative effects of Haloxylon cultivation on the culture medium. Jafari et al. reported an increase in electrical conductivity and soil acidity in areas under Haloxylon cultivation in the area.[24] However, today, with the increasing problems caused by desertification, the need to pay more attention to this suitable species has become more apparent. Aran va Bidgol countries have a dry and desert climate and are one of the most endangered areas for wind erosion and sandstorms in the country. In this regard, 120,000 hectares of hand-planted forest in deserts are the result of desertification and transplanting since the 1940s, which is a barrier to quicksand. However, it has been destroyed in the past three decades, which has led to decreasing its beneficial environmental effects. Due to the importance of Haloxylon planting, this research has been done to investigate the environmental status of Haloxylon planting in Aran and Bidgol deserts.

  Materials and Methods Top

Area of study

Aran va Bidgol countries with an area of 6051 km2 is located in the north of Isfahan province. This city is limited to Namak Lake and Qom and Semnan provinces from the north, to Kashan city from the west and southwest to Natanz from the south and to Ardestan from the east [Figure 1]. The sand dunes are stretched from the southeast of the city to the northwest, with a length of 120 km and a width of 25 km and a height of between 800 and 1000 m, which covers about 1900 km2 or 31% of the city's area, and in the local term, it is called Band-e Rig. Of the total area of deserts in Isfahan province (3,200,000 hectares), only about 300,000 hectares have been afforested, and Aran va Bidgol accounts for about 40% of the province's Haloxylon sp . habitats [Figure 2]. This region has dry and desert climate. Its summer season is warm and scorching and lasts from mid-June to mid-November, and its winter season, which lasts from December to the end of March, is cold and dry, and spring and autumn seasons are short. According to the statistics of the nearest meteorological station to the study area, i.e., Kashan synoptic station, the average annual rainfall in the region is 120 mm, with the highest percentage of rainfall occurring from winter to early spring. The average monthly temperature is 19.6°C; the maximum average temperature is 41°C in July, and the minimum average is 1.5°C in February. The average annual absolute temperature fluctuations are between −13 and +48°C. The average maximum relative humidity is related to January and is 65%, and the minimum is related to July and is 25%, and the average annual relative humidity is 40%.
Figure 1: Geographical location of the study area

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Figure 2: Map of hand.planted forests in Isfahan province and Aran va Bidgol cities

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Research method

This study is a descriptive study conducted to investigate the environmental status of Haloxylon planting development in Aran va Bidgol deserts. At first, the map of the political area of the study area was prepared using GIS and Google Earth software collaboration with the Natural Resources Organization of Aran va Bidgol County, based on the map of hand-planted Haloxylon habitats in Aran va Bidgol desert. Then, a route on the map was randomly chosen from Hoseynabad-e Sheibani, southeast of Aran va Bidgol to Nasrabad, northwest of Aran, and Bidgol so that it was not difficult to access and did not enter agricultural lands and residential areas. After that, 31 plots, each with an area of 1000 m2 with a length of 50 m and a width of 20 m, covering all areas and lengths of the route and representing the area, with 3 km distances were marked by GIS on the map [Figure 3]. Field studies were carried out in 31 days of spring with the same weather conditions from 10 to 12 in the morning with an expert from Aran and Bidgol natural resources organization and in a continuous and daily, one plot was examined and measured. First, by Global positioning system (GPS), the point of each plot was founded, and the plot area was determined by a string. The length, width, and height of the sea level for each plot were recorded. The dry and green Haloxylon was counted and recorded. To measure the height of the trees, the highest, shortest, and most tree height mode were measured in each plot with a tape measure so that the difference in height of the tallest branch to the location of the tree collar became the criterion for action. Wind speed, temperature, and humidity were measured by a digital wind gauge, thermometer, and humidity meter. Moreover, two plots without Haloxylon were randomly selected in the vicinity of two plots with Haloxylon, and the last three parameters were measured in adjacent plots with Haloxylon and without Haloxylon at a certain time. Then, the data were extracted and classified and presented by tables and graphs, and the results of the study were interpreted, analyzed, and evaluated.
Figure 3: Map of the study route

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  Results Top

The results of this study revealed that the study area with an area of 33,000 m2 includes 33 plots and has located between two longitudes from 529,096 to (UTM) 584,082 and two latitudes from 3,740,657 to (UTM) 3,790,383, and the altitude is 840–985 m. Out of studied plots, two plots were without Haloxylon, 27 plots have been planted through seeding, planted seedling, and irregular cutting since 1971, and four plots in the northern region of Nasrabad have been planted in the form of regular and row planting at intervals of 6.5–7.7 m since 2006 during the implementation of seedling projects of Aran va Bidgol Natural Resources Organization.

The number of Haloxylon in them is less than the number of plots created through seeding so that in each 1000 m2 of them, there are 17, 17, 17, and 13 Haloxylon, respectively, which only three dry Haloxylon trees are present in four plots. The results of the study showed that 3304 Haloxylon were identified and counted in the whole study area. The highest number of Haloxylon in the landfill plot is 15.57%, and the lowest number of Haloxylon 0.77% was in the seedlings planted in the North of Nasrabad [Table 1].
Table 1: The average frequency of the number of Haloxylon per region

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The results of the study showed that, out of a total of 2655 green Haloxylon counted, the highest number of green Haloxylon was in the landfill plots 12.22%, and the lowest number of green Haloxylon was 0.92% in the planted seedlings of North Nasrabad [Table 2].
Table 2: The average frequency of the number of green Haloxylon per region

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The results of the study showed that out of a total of 649 dry Haloxylon counted, the highest number of dry Haloxylon 29.68% was in the landfill plot, and the lowest number of dry Haloxylon was 0.18% in the planted seedlings of North Nasrabad [Table 3].
Table 3: The average frequency of the number of dry Haloxylon per region

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The results of the study showed that the height of trees in the study areas varies from 0.3 to 2.75 m and the highest height belongs to areas of Aliyabad-e Fakhreh with a height mode of 2.35 and Rijen with a height of 2.1 and the lowest height belongs to Hoseynabad-e sheibani, Kaghazi, between the landfill and Majid Abad farm and the bypass road [Figure 4].
Figure 4: The height of the trees in the study areas according to the height mode

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The results showed that the average wind speed was 2.17 m/s and the maximum wind speed was 3.2 m/s, and the lowest was 0.9 m/s, and the average relative humidity was 15.88% and the highest humidity was 27% and the lowest was 10%. The average temperature is 37.34°C, the highest temperature is 45°C, and the lowest is 30.16°C.

The results of the study showed that the average wind speed in the two plots without Haloxylon is 4.9 m/s; in the first plot, it is 3.8 m/s, and in the second plot, it is 6 m/s. The wind speed in the adjacent plots with Haloxylon is 1.4 and 3.5 m/s, respectively, and their average is 2.45 m/s. The wind speed is higher in plots without Haloxylon. The average humidity in the two plots without the Haloxylon is 10.5%; in the first plot, it is 11%, and in the second plot, it is 10%. Humidity in adjacent plots with Haloxylon is 14% and 13%, respectively, and their average is 13.5%. Humidity is lower in plots without Haloxylon.

In the study area, several subsidence sections were observed in the plot of Aliyabad-e Fakhreh with lengths of 2.5 and 1.5 m, width of 50 and 30 cm, and unlimited depth [Figure 5].
Figure 5: View of two subsidence in the study area

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  Discussion Top

According to the results of the study, out of 3304 counted Haloxylon, there should be an average of 106 Haloxylon in each plot, which in some plots, the number of Haloxylon was lower than average, and in some other plots, it was higher than average. Moreover, in some areas, the number of dry Haloxylon was more than green, which is likely due to proximity to roads, rural and residential areas, people's entertainment and the use of Haloxylon wood for the fire or wood smuggling by profiteers, Haloxylon diseases, overgrazing, and the destruction by local livestock, which is consistent with the research of some researchers.[25],[26],[27],[28]. Haloxylon in the lowlands was more vibrant and lush than the trees in the higher lands due to their high gravity and proximity to groundwater, which is consistent with the research of some researchers.[18] One of the reasons for the decrease in plant height in different areas of stress is due to factors such as drought and sandstorms and the quality of the soil, in which the plant is grown. According to the results of the study in plots where the height of the trees is higher, the wind speed is lower than in other plots. Furthermore, in the plots with Haloxylon, the wind speed is lower than the adjacent plots without Haloxylon; it means that the vegetation is largely effective in declining the in wind speed, which is due to the fact that trees can be considered to act as windbreaks. These results are consistent with the research of some researchers.[29],[30],[31] Our findings suggest that the temperature is lower in plots with Haloxylon compared to plots without Haloxylon, but the humidity is higher than adjacent without Haloxylon plots; this is due to the presence of vegetation, which is led to balancing the temperature and humidity, which is consistent with the research of some researchers.[32],[33],[34],[35],[36] Based on the results, a number of land subsidence was observed in the study area, which can be attributed to the outflow of water from the soil particles due to groundwater abstraction and the vacuum between the aggregates, which has caused this subsidence; probably the overharvesting of water and excessive pumping of water for agricultural use is the main reason for this. This is consistent with the research of some researchers.[37],[38],[39] Our study showed that the current environmental situation of Haloxylon planting in Aran va Bidgol deserts has made it a sustainable ecosystem. This ecosystem is self-sufficient, and if not tampered with and destroyed, it can play a valuable role in balancing the climate of the region. Biorichness in this area includes animals such as birds, rodents, insects, and other hunter and vegetarian arthropods, each of which has its own special effects on the nature of the region.[24]

  Conclusion Top

The data from this study show that the greenness of the Haloxylon was related to the altitude so that the Haloxylon that were in lower altitude was greener than the trees in the higher altitude due to the force of gravity and moisture. Moreover, the temperature, humidity, and wind speed had a remarkable relationship with the presence of Haloxylon and the greenness and their height. Humidity was higher in green areas; temperature and wind speed are lower. it is suggested that the number of custodians is considered in accordance with the global standard for natural areas and that legal protection is provided to them.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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