Desert Research Devision

Desertification, drought, and poverty create a scenario of misery and insecurity across the dry lands of Asia and Africa. According to the UN’s Secretariat for the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), 250 million people have already been harmed by desertification, and another 750 million are at risk.

Regarding land use plan of Iran, 34.8% of areas are hyper arid (natural desert) and 52/8% are arid and semi arid (These regions are very sensitive to desertification processes) and the rest are classified as humid (11.4%).

Desert research division was established in 1969. The main functions and objectives of this division are the research activities in the field of natural resources which mainly focused on desertification processes and its control in dry land areas of Iran .
Preparing a logic and suitable frame for recognizing the most critical zones of Iran in terms of human-induced land degradation can help policy maker and planner to overcome the problems resulting from inappropriate land and soil management. However application of the research findings can inhibit not only the loose of national resources but also can prevent the dangers of our fragile ecosystems. In leading to these objectives some of the important results achieved in the desert division are given:



Determination of the suitability of the country’s database and information needed to prepare the Iran map of desertification using FAO and UNEP methodology in which 9 individual indices of desertification are formulated.
Recognizing the important causes of human-induced land degradation in Iran. This finding shows that vegetative cover deterioration is responsible for the 46 percent of land degradation while wind erosion is accounted for only 5 percent.
Determination of the suitable wind break in terms of height and distance between rows used for sand dune stabilization.
Introduction of the best distance between plant stands and rows for sand dune stabilization.
Utilization of stabilized plain sand dune systems for the production of cash crops.
Introduction of the traditional method of irrigation using the clay Jug for the establishment of seedling and shelterbelt.
Diagnosis and monitoring the causes of man-mad forests in arid zones and introduction of the effective methods used to recover them.
Determination of height of dune systems based on the seasonal fluctuation of moisture to establish vegetative cover.
Determination of geographical desert domain using different criteria.
One of the most practical findings achieved in the division of this institute which currently has been extended in the most Iran’s basins was aquifer management program. This achievement has recently accepted by FAO and well recognized as a way to save the life of 800 millions of starved people reside in the world wide.
1. Water Resources Research Group
2. Land Degradation and Erosion Research Group
3. Land Resources Research Group
4. Rational Utilization and Management on Desert Resources Research Group
5-Land capability research group

۱-Water Resources Research Group
This research group is mainly focused on recognition of surface and underground water resources in desert regions. The hydrologic processes of subsurface water resources are investigated both for desert and playa section of desert. Research on water balance elements in sand dune systems and desert regions is another activity of this group.
2-Land Degradation and Erosion Research Group
This research group is working on projects dealing with land degradation and desertification processes as fallow:
– Formation of sandy desert and development of desertification processes
– Research on the basic principle for desert control and combating desertification
– Investigation of parameters influencing desertification processes.
– Determination of particles–movement thresholds, both for water and wind erosion.
– Research on mechanical and biological measures in order to fix shifting sands.
– Research on policy and programs for combating desertification.
– Application of GIS technologies in monitoring desertification for Iranian deserts and desertified land.
Research on the origin sources of blown sands, using sediment flux and mineralogical composition studies.

۳-Land Resources Research Group.
This research group is responsible for land classification and capability studies based on erosion indices and erosion hazard assessment.

۴-Rational Utilization Management on Desert Resources Research Group
This research group is carrying out research on desert ecology and main activities are aimed to retard degradation processes by seeking and adoption the appropriate methods and sustainable use of land and water resources in desert regions.This policy finally Leeds to establish a sustainable human communities within desert regions.

۵-Land Capability Research Group
This research group is responsible for land-evaluation studies based on plant production potential and desert revegitation.

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