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The Critical Condition of Iranian Mangroves

Posted on Mar, 25, 2013
Contributed to WCHV by Sahand Adib

Mangrove forest, Qeshm (photo: V. Schick)

Global commitment towards the conservation of biodiversity is of critical importance. The accelerating rates of loss of floral and faunal species and the projected negative impacts of this loss on humankind have been greatly described by many scientists.  Marine ecosystems are continuously in danger of extinction.  A great example of these disappearing and in danger ecosystems is the “Hara forests”.

The “Hara forests” is the common name for mangrove forests on the southern coast of Iran, particularly on and near the island of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf. Dominated by the species Avicennia marina, known locally as the “hara” or “harra” tree, the forests represent an important ecological resource. The “Hara Protected Area” on Quesm is a biosphere reserve where commercial use is restricted to fishing (mainly shrimp), tourist boat trips, and limited mangrove cutting for animal feed.  Hara forests are major habitats for migratory birds, reptiles, fish, arthropods and bivalves.

This area was recognized by the Man and the Biosphere program (MAB) of UNESCO in 1977 and then listed on the UNESCO’s national environmental heritage list in 2007.  However, the condition of Hara forests and the mangroves have continuously worsened and this great natural heritage site is greatly in danger of devastation.

Factors threatening or adversely impacting mangroves include:  industrial and shipping pollution, dumping of chemicals into the sea, excess mangrove cutting for animal feed, climate change,  lack of education on environmental issues and awareness about reproductive ecology, poor regulatory standards and laws, lack of proper attention by the local and governmental authorities, and road construction within the Nayband forests (which created a seawater connection this region) resulting in destroying part of the mangrove forests.

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