Ecological assessment of Iran’s terrestrial biomes for wildlife conservation

Amir Ansari, Mansour Ghorbanpour, Ali Kazemi, Khalil Kariman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Man-made activities pose the greatest threats to wildlife in Iran's terrestrial biomes, causing significant habitat damage and fragmentation in recent years. To fully understand these threats, the present study was conducted to identify and map the Iran’s terrestrial biomes using the IDRISI TerrSet 18.31 Software, the Terrestrial Biomes Ecosystem Service Modeler on the InVEST toolkit (TBESMI), and comprehensive data sources including maps of roads, protected areas, terrestrial biomes, and country-wide land cover maps of 2017. The results showed that the largest terrestrial biome in Iran is deserts and xeric shrublands (DXS), while flooded grasslands and savannas (FGS) is the smallest biome. Roads, along with urban and agricultural developments are among the biggest threats and most destructive stressors in Iran’s terrestrial biomes. The results also revealed that there was a growth in destruction of habitats located in the temperate broadleaf and mixed forest (TBMF), temperate coniferous forest (TCF), and FGS, alongside a decrease in the DXS biome. Furthermore, we detected an increase in habitat landscape quality in the DXS, FGS and montane grasslands and shrub lands (MGS), and a decrease in the temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands (TGSS) and TBMF biomes. Finally, the cumulative risk of habitat degradation increased in the FGS, TCF, TGSS, and TBMF biomes, whereas it decreased in the DXS biome. The FGS biome with the highest consequence cumulative score, and the MGS biome with the highest cumulative risk exposure score were found to be at the highest risk from man-made activities. Stressors associated with agriculture and urbanization had the highest cumulative exposure scores in the MGS, while roads had the highest exposure scores in the TBMF and DXS biomes. Our study underscores the critical importance of conserving Iran's terrestrial biomes and wildlife, especially in high-risk biomes like FGS and MGS, given the substantial threats posed by human activities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17761
JournalScientific Reports
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

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