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Quercus is a dominant genus throughout Zagros mountain forest and has been for the past 5,000 years or more. Oak distribution has shifted in response to changes in climate, disturbance regime, and human population and culture. Oak dominance has decreased throughout the 10 years of since 1998. In the recent decades the Mediterranean and semi-Mediterranean forests have been faced with climate changes. Zagros forest is 5milion ha of Iran forest that located in west of Iran. Most of species is oak involve Persian oak (Quercus. Brantii Lindl). During of 1998-2014 several reported of sudden oak dead with charcoal disease (fungi disease). The disease was spread of all Territory of Zagros Mountain that caused to dead of 1miliom hectare of oak. In the Zagros Mountains we would attitude ‘integration’ through a strong focus on local participation. Aims to conserve the biodiversity by using participatory approaches that ensure the active involvement of local people. Iran loss 1.5milion ha of its forests through spread of disease and pest in Zagros Forest. These include the charcoal disease and Chrysobothris Parvipunctata beetle of Buprestidae family that become aggressive on stressed trees, and several root and stem decay fungi. In its study we were surveyed the root results of oak sudden death in plain Barm, Zagros forest, Fars, Iran.
Keywords: Oak Sudden Death; Charcoal Disease; Beetle of Buprestidae; Zagros Forest; Fars; Iran
Iran is positioned on the southwest of Asia forming a bridge connecting three continents of Asia, Europe, and Africa. It is bordered by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, and the Caspian Sea on the north, Afghanistan and Pakistan on the east, Oman Sea and Persian Gulf on the south, and Turkey and Iraq on the west (Road Atlas of Iran 2004). The country is part of the Iranian Plateau that constitutes a vast and high terrane, which is bordered by the Caspian Sea on the north, Amu Darya, Syr Darya, and Kora River plains on the northeast, Sindh and Punjab Rivers plain on the southeast, the Oman Sea and the Persian Gulf on the south, and the Tigris river plain on the southwest. The total areal extent of the plateau is about 2,600,000 km2, of which 1,648,195 km2 is accounted for by Iran, and the rest covers Afghanistan, Pakistan, and former Soviet republics. The area of Iran is 3.7% of Asia and 1.09% of the total land on the Earth’s surface .
The Iranian Plateau is a triangular-shaped piece of land between the Persian Gulf and the Oman Sea on the south and the Caspian Sea on the north and plays the role of a bridge between Central Asia and other plateaus in western Asia and Europe . The longest stretch of Iran runs from the Ararat Mountains northwest to the Goater Port on southwest and measures
2,210km, while the widest stretch is between Sarakhs on the northeast and the Arvand River on the southwest, measuring about 1,400km . Half of Iran’s land surface is mountainous, 1/4 covered by fertile and productive plains and the other 1/4 covered with salty arid deserts .
The southernmost point of Iran is the Goater Port located on 25° N latitude, and the northernmost point is the Ararat foothills 40°N. The easternmost point is Kuhak on the border with Pakistan, while the westernmost point is Bazargan on the border with Turkey. Iran’s geographic coordinates are between 44° and 63° 5¢ 30″ E longitude and 25–40° N latitude .
The time difference between the easternmost and westernmost points is about 1h and 18min. The perimeter of Iran is about 8,700km of which 2,700km (or nearly one-third) is marine (Persian Gulf, Oman or Makran Sea and Caspian Sea) and the rest is terrestrial. The marine border line from the Arvand River estuary to the Goater Port stretches about 2,000km . Based on the latest administrative division system provided by the Interior Ministry of Iran Website, Iran consists of 31 provinces, 385 counties, 961 districts, 1,120 cities, and 2,473 rural districts (Figure 1).
These mountains begin in Kordestan and extend to Khouzestan,
Fars, and the southern coast. The length of this mountain
range is about 1,000km and its width around 200km. These
mountains are much more expanded, well ordered, and simpler
(from stratigraphically standpoint) than Alborz. Most geographers
call Zagros as “Great Jura” because there are well-ordered
and compressed anticlines and synclines than those seen in Alborz
and look like what is seen in the Jura Mountains of Europe
The highest mountains in Lorestan are Oshtoran-kuh (4,050
m) and Garin (3,645 m). In middle Zagros, the highest peak is
Dena (5,200m), which is the highest in all Zagros Mountain range.
In northern Zagros (Kordestan and Kermanshahan), the highest
mountains are Chehel-cheshmeh (3,173m), Shahou (3,390m),
and Parou (3,357m). The Alvand Peak in Hamedan Province with
a height of 3,580m is one of most beautiful mountains in Iran.
The Zagros Mountain blocks the moisture coming from
the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean on their western flanks,
resulting in the formation of huge reserves of snow and ice.
The water produced due to melting of these reserves runs
down through numerous valleys, such as Karoon, Karkheh, and
Zayandeh-rud. The rivers originating from Zagros erode the
mountains, especially in the northern and central parts. In some
places, rivers like Zab and Sirvan cut the mountains sharply,
while in the southern part, due to orderly folding of Zagros,
rivers carve their valley parallel to the axis of the mountains
(Orohydrography Map of Iran 1994) (Figure 2).
Zagros forests, in the west, cover about 5 million hectares,
comprising the semiarid forests important for protecting water
supplies, regulating climate, and providing nonwood forest
products. Tree Species in Zagros forest are mostly oak that
involve: Q. persica،Q.infectoria، Q.libani، Q.magnosqumata. Other
species mostly involve: celtis caucasica, Amygdalus scoparia,
A.lycioides, Daphne mucronata, Pistacia atlantica. Zagros forest
mostly sever numerous other environmental, social and rare
economical functions. They are vitally important for preserving
watershed for adequate water supply in Zagros mountain, Zagros
forest provide shelter for wildlife, recreation and aesthetic
renewal for people, Zagros forest is providing fodder for grazing
of animal husbandry that is tools of livelihood of local people
involve tribes and villages. Oak is very important in Zagros
mountain Due to benefits of Quercus brantii. and its important
role in soil and water protection.
Oak forests in the Zagros Mountain are affected by declines.
Characteristics of the site including both poorly and are
predisposing factors. Inciting factors that have been important in
the past include drought, fungi, dust, and defoliating insects and
diseases. Many contributing factors have been associated with
oak decline. These include the charcoal disease and Chrysobothris
Parvipunctata of Buprestidae family that become aggressive on
stressed trees, and several root and stem decay fungi.
The symptoms that define Sudden Oak Death were first
recognized in 1998-2014. Over the next few years, SOD reached
epidemic proportions in oak forests along approximately
1milion ha of the central Zagros coast. The main hosts included
fungi disease in Persian oak. The rooting result of oak death was
Outbreak of charcoal disease caused of fungi of B. Mediterranean
on Quercus SPP Trees in forest of Zagros Mountains in Iran.
Ascospores of Biscogniauxia mediterranea on Quercus brantii
was find in 2010 in Zagros forest (Figures 3 & 4).
Recent oak decline, which covers a relatively vast area of
Fars province, the oak forests of Plain-Barm which were most
exposed to drying. Infected factors on dead oak including human
factors (branch and/or clear Cutting and pruning, rain-fed
farming under the trees in the forest floor, etc.), climatic factors
(rainfall and temperature), and disturbing factors (pests and
diseases) were assessed. Oak forest which dominates between
1,000 and 2,000 m elevation of Zagros Mountain that almost 40
% of the country’s forests.
Losses or dramatic declines of forest species, populations, or
age classes due to pests and pathogens can have major impacts
on ecosystems. These impacts include changes in ecosystem
structure, decreased biodiversity, changes in hydrology and
nutrient cycling, and cascading impacts throughout the food web
[3,4]. The potential for forest pests and pathogens to interact
with other ecological perturbations and yield unexpected or
nonlinear responses is of concern [5,6].
The knowledge of the interaction between insects and oaks
in Zagros forest is still very poor. Although often unnoticed,
ignored, or unappreciated, insects can be the most numerous,
diverse, and damaging animals inhabiting forests. Insect damage
to forest trees results directly from ingestion or destruction
of plant parts that are fed upon, from colonization (such as
tunneling or boring) of trees during feeding and reproduction, or
from toxins they egest. The degree of damage that results from
these activities vary widely among insect species, their various
immature and mature stages, and the tree species and its stage
of development from seedling to mature tree. The size of the
insect population often strongly influences the degree of damage
that results. Because the part of the tree that is damaged also
influences whether the damage is merely cosmetic or serious,
the different locations of feeding and breeding on and in trees
is a convenient way to categorize groups of insects that damage
Chrysobothris parvipunctata beetles (Figures 5 & 6) infest
their galleries with fungi that serve as food for their larvae. Bark
beetle adults bore through the bark and produce tunnels called
“galleries” in the relatively thin area composed of the vascular
cambium and adjacent phloem and xylem. After mating, females
lay their eggs between the bark and the wood, either along their
galleries or in special niches.
Two species of insects of Buprestidae family that have
spreading in the Zagros forest through decrease of rain
involve: Agrilus biguttatus, Fabricius (1776) and Anthaxia
hungarica, Scopoli (1772). Other Disease Insect in Zagros Oak
Forest Involve: Leucoma wiltshire, Tortrix viridana, Porthesia
melania(Strand), Laspeyresia fagiglandana(Zeller), Marsham
Curculio glandium, lymanteria dispar(Linnaeus), Malacosoma
nustralia, Tortrix viridana (Lep.: Tortricidae) and Cynipidae.
Tortrix viridana is a serious pest of oaks in the Fars oak forests.
Oak bud tortricid (Tortrix viridana) has five larval instars in Fars
oak forests. The pest overwinters as diaposed eggs. The first
larval instar emergence coincides with tree budburst when they
enter bud scales. Porthesia melania Stgr. (Lep., Lymantriidae)
is the most important pest of oak trees in Zagros Forest, either
and its larvae feed on upper surface of oak leaves. The highest and lowest densities of larvae were observed in the late March
and mid-May, respectively. During summer and winter, no larvae
were observed on oak leaves. The third larval stage which lasted
eight months from the late July until mid-March in diapauses
form, was the longest life stage of the oak moth. The pupae were
formed in the soil.
Knowledge of the biology of tree and insect or pathogen
interactions may suggest one or more appropriate pest
management principles. These principles can be considered
“strategies,” or general approaches to minimizing the effects
of damaging agents on trees and forests. Six strategies that are
employed in forest pest management, including attempts to
control pests of nursery seedlings and landscape trees, are:
i. Resistance: Utilization of trees with inherent,
genetically controlled characteristics that minimize pest
impacts, or use of practices to increase the ability of trees to
ii. Exclusion: Prevention of the introduction of a pathogen
or insect to an area where it is not already present;
iii. Protection: Placement of a barrier or other material
(usually chemical) that interferes with interaction of the pest
and the tree;
iv. Eradication: Removal or destruction of pathogen or
insect life stages to reduce or eliminate pest populations;
v. Avoidance: Utilization of locations, conditions, or
practices that do not favor, or even suppress, development of
disease and/or insect infestations;
vi. Therapy: Treatment to cure already diseased or
infested trees (may involve employment of one or more of
the other strategies listed above).
Clearcutting and burning results in the immediate loss of
pest and fungi, and selective logging will modify forest structure
and microclimate. After secondary forest regeneration in clear
cut areas or on plantations (and agroforest ecosystems), at least
part of the species may reestablish. The resulting distribution
patterns of fungi and their communities are diverse, reflecting
the microclimatic and substrate conditions in their secondary
microhabitat, and the progress and speed of succession. This
involves cutting in three phases:
In the first phase, the patient trees, or those with unwanted
characteristics, are removed to create space for more highly
preferred trees, thereby also halting the development of
undesirable specimens or entire species. In the second phase,
favourable conditions allowing oak regeneration (basically
controlling canopy opening) are promoted. In the third phase,
the remaining mature trees are harvested, once the new crop
has been established, thus removed tree would burning that pest
was not spread in all country.
Thus, gather to cleared wood, burning pest tree to fungi was
final phase in treatment and improvement of polluted forest
(Figure 10). The evaluation of oak decline in Missouri (America)
showed that oak decline was as a result of interacting factors of
tree stress (insects, drought, and freezing) secondary diseases
and pests (root fungi and insect holes). Subsequently, the
tensions cause to weaken trees, reduce growth, and eventually
lead to die . Trees faced to long-term stress (pollution and
competition) are susceptible to die in the short-term effects of
environmental stresses (drought, insects and diseases) .
The study conducted in the Netherlands showed oak decline
is associated with fluctuations in groundwater . Ogaya 
in Spain concluded that drought phenomena caused to decrease
biomass and tree growth and eventually led to tree growth. The
research was conducted in the South-East Sweden indicated that
reduction the size of the trees, Sunny habitants, non-clay soils
and pests are the obvious features of habitants with decline
trees .There are many factors that cause to make decline so
that various studies in different areas prove this value. Adverse
condition of climate makes vulnerable habitants for investing
pests  and growing fungi , increasing air pollution and
decreasing soil nutrients [14,15]. Increasing the temperature
had a significant effect on tree growth in south of Europe .
Drought can have in fact a strong impact on carbon fluxes
and thus on the carbon sequestration potential of ecosystems.
Experimental drought and warming resulted in a trend to
reduce 33% the biomass of a Mediterranean shrubland .
Stem diameter increment of Quercus ilex and Arbutus unedo, two
typical Mediterranean species, were reduced by 41 and 63%,
respectively, in an experimental 5-year drought treatment, as
well as the increment of live aboveground biomass (by 83%),
together with increased mortality rates . Quercus ilex showed
strongly decreased net photosynthesis rates (44%) and stomatal
conductance (53%) in autumn after a drought treatment .
During the last four years (2009- 2012) several reports of
forest tree decline were received, complaining about serious
damage and death of many trees. The disease has been spread
throughout forests of Zagross mountains which extend from
north west to south west of Iran covering approximately
4,000,000 ha. Also, the disease has been spread throughout
forests of Alborz mountains in the north of Iran. The infected
tree species included Q. brantii, Q. castaneifolia and Zelkova
carpinifolia. Q. brantii Lindl. (Persian oak) has dominated in all
parts of Zagros mountains from north to south, especially on
the southern side of mountain in Ilam, Lorestan, Kohgilouyeh
va Boyer-Ahmad, Fars and Kermanshah provinces. Zelkova carpinifolia (Pall.) Dippel, and Quercus castaneifolia C.A. Mey are
native to the Caucasus and Alborz mountains in northern parts
of Iran. The decline began with browning of the leaves, viscous
liquid exudation on the branches and trunks resulting in a brownblack
discoloration of bark and woody tissues. In the winter of
the next year fungal growth induces a typical charcoal-black
surface on diseased branches and trunks. The perithecia of B.
mediterranea were observed in a black carbonaceous layer on the
stem surface erupting from the declined trees and the ascospores
were visible under light microscope. Perithecia were obovoid,
containing, amyloid asci, with dark brown ellipsoid ascospores,
with straight germ slits along the spore-length. Based on these
morphological characteristics, the fungus was identified as
Biscogniauxia mediterranea. Pathogenicity tests were conducted
using an isolate of B. mediterranea on six-month-old Q. brantii
seedlings using a mycelial plug of B. mediterranea colonized
potato-dextrose agar and the symptoms were observed after two
months and the same fungus was re-isolated. Based on previous
studies infections occur in healthy living trees as endophyte and
then become invasive under water stress conditions in most
reports. B. mediterranea has been reported to be aggressive
on drought stressed hosts. During the last ten years climate
changes has occurred in Zagros forests and resulting drought
stress extending desert areas followed by occurrence of the fine
dust phenomenon has reduced the photosynthesis of the forest
trees and making them more vulnerable to the disease. Despite
tolerance of Persian oak species to the range of temperatures
from -31°C until +45, the incidence of charcoal disease has been
increased dramatically on Q. brantii forests. Based on our current
knowledge, Q. brantii represents a new host of B. mediterranea
and this is the first report of Persian oak charcoal disease
outbreaks throughout Zagros mountain forests of Lorestan, Ilam,
Fars, Kohgiloye va Boyer -- Ahmad and on Zelkova carpinfolia in
Daland forests of Gorgan area.
Located in one of the most arid regions in the world, Iran
has an annual average precipitation rate of 252 millimeters,
approximately one third of the global average. Exacerbating
the severity of water shortages, as much as 70 per cent of
precipitation is lost to evaporation. Estimates suggest that
lower-than-average precipitation in 2013 caused a 30 per cent
reduction in the volume of water in dams across the country,
with only five exceeding 90 per cent capacity. According to the
Institute for Forest and Pasture Research, groundwater levels
have dropped two meters in recent years across 70 plains,
affecting as much as 100 million hectares. According to the
UN Development Program, the level of Iran’s per capita water
resources is predicted to fall to as little as 816m³ in 2025, down
from2,025m³ in 1990.
Iran is divided into six key and 31 secondary catchment
areas. Besides the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman Basins, all of
Iran’s basins are in the interior, where renewable freshwater
sources are limited. Close to half of Iran’s total renewable water
is in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman Basins, representing one
quarter of its land mass. Conversely, the Markazi Basin covers
more than half of Iran’s land mass but holds less than one-third
of the available freshwater.
Forest development is expected to be affected by the expected
change in climate in response to the rapid increase of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide (IPCC, CO2)
(2001). Climate change will alter the abiotic conditions under
which plant species can establish, survive, reproduce, and spread.
These effects are expected to increase plant stress and decrease
survival in the drier, warmer, and lower elevation portions of
species ranges . Abiotic factors probably constrain the range
of many invasive plants and limit their successful establishment
[13,19]. With climate change, however, new habitat, once too
cold or wet, may become available, enabling plants to survive
outside their historical ranges and expand beyond their current
Climate change impacts, while not a direct cause of Iran’s
current water scarcity, will exacerbate water shortages and
reduce already limited rainfall. According to Massoumeh
Ebtekar, head of Iran’s Environmental Protection Organization,
Iran’s climate has already warmed by 1.5 to 3 degrees due to
greenhouse gas emissions. The seventh biggest greenhouse gas
producer in the world, Iran is ranked 114th of 132 countries in
the 2012 Environmental Performance Index produced by Yale
and Columbia Universities. Of concern are Iran’s water resources
and air pollution.
Climate change induced temperature and precipitation
variability will reduce available freshwater and increase the
incidence of drought conditions. Traditional Qanat systems are
better equipped to store water and prevent evaporation; while
reliance on dams and reservoirs for water supply will lead to
greater surface water loss through evaporation and lack of
storage capacity. Estimates suggest available water could halve
between now and2050 due to climate change . If this occurs
Iran will face severe water insecurity and current tensions are
likely to intensify, leading to internal conflict, mass internal
displacement and urban migration, and a severely degraded
agricultural system. The impacts of such events on Iran’s
economy, environment, citizens and governance would lead to
considerable instability in an already unstable region .
Food security is closely linked to water availability, which is
claimed to be increasingly insufficient for agriculture, livestock,
and household use in the villages. Extended dry seasons and
deforestation have affected the water supply. Farmers now
need to carry water from sources one to three kilometers away,
further exacerbating the burden of food production (Figure 11).
Dust storms import up to 200 to 500-million-ton mineral
dust particles into earth atmosphere in all over the middle east,
Asia and Sahara  they affect directly visibility and have
daily influence on military and economical operations in dust
storms susceptible regions. Hence to identify this phenomenon
aspect is necessary in respect to its enormous outcomes. Dust is
one rooting cause of oak decline in Zagros forest. Recently, the
occurrence of dust storms has taken on new dimensions and
this issue has become a serious regional crisis. Fars province
is one of the areas that is affected by this phenomenon. The
deterioration of surface vegetation cover may strongly influence
the occurrence of dust storms in Zagros Mountain .
In the context of the effects of climate change on ecosystems,
sensitivity to disturbance interactions is extended to
environmental drivers not usually identified as disturbances.
For example, extreme temperatures, drought, and air pollution
put forest ecosystems under stress, which may increase their
vulnerability to “true” disturbances such as fire, insect outbreaks,
and pathogens. Air pollution exacerbates drought stress from
warmer temperatures, which amplifies biotic stresses such as
insects and pathogens . The stress complex for California
forests is represented in (Figure 12); interacting disturbances
form the core of drivers of ecosystem change, modified by
climate, management, and air pollution.
Projections of drought extent over the next 75 years show
that the proportion of global land mass experiencing drought
will double from 15 to 30 % , and on most land masses, dry
season precipitation is expected to decline by 15 % . The
oaks as a group are quite tolerant of drought, primarily because
they have large root systems, leaf morphological characteristics
that reduce transpiration, and the ability to maintain gas
exchange and net photosynthesis to comparatively low levels
of leaf water. The development of a strong taproot system in
oaks provides them access to moisture from deep soil layers, a
source less available to their more shallow-rooted competitors.
The oaks are better adapted to xeric environments than many
of their common mesophotic competitors. Impacts associated
with extreme events such as heat waves, extreme precipitation
or storms, may strongly affect the carbon cycling in agriculture,
forestry and natural ecosystems (Figure 13).
Turkey and Iran are the main producers of wood products
in Middle East and have established considerable plantations in
areas with higher wood productivity for production purposes.
There has not industry wood in Zagros Forest, except to
woods that will acquired of agroforestry of farmers in agriculture
land that is mostly poplar tree (trembling poplar tree, populous
alba and populous nigra).
Firewood is a byproduct of forest management operations
that comes from maintenance pruning, sanitary felling, and
thinning (Figures 14 & 15). The linear function estimates
published by Montero et al.  relate firewood yield to oak tree
diameter, both for firewood resulting from pruning and from
tree felling treatments. Thinned trees are assumed to have a
diameter 35–40 % lower than the average diameter of the holm
oak stand, with a 75 % firewood yield, based on lower intensity
management than the empirical data used by Montero et al. .
Three wood properties appear to be important when
considering the effectiveness and efficiency of charcoal
production methods: woody species traits, wood dimension,
and wood moisture content (FAO 1985). Broad-leaved species
deliver the best charcoal due to their high wood density and high
lignin content. For example, oak (Quercus) meets processing
requirements quite well.
The method known as the ‘traditional earth pit’ is the most
common processing tool applied in the Talamanca Mountains.
This is probably the oldest method to produce charcoal in the
world . Normally, a large pit is dug in the forest ground (often
in pastures) and properly sealed with soil material. The size of
the pit differs from place to place, depending on the availability
of raw material and the practices of the villagers. For the purpose
of the current study, the cavity (earth pit) assessed was designed
to fit the same amount of wood (4m3 wood) as that consumed by
the transportable metal kiln (Figure 16).
Even higher, at elevations of 2,700–3,000m, oak forest has
been cleared for charcoal production. This was still a major
source of income for farmers. Charcoal is produced mainly
based on oak (Quercus branti) and to a lesser extent, orange spp.
Today, the production of charcoal from living trees is prohibited
by national legislation. Therefore, charcoal producers currently
uncover decaying oak logs still scattered around in pastures.
In the Zagros forest and Zagros paramour grassland
environments, poor peasants gather cloves and damask rose for
ornamental arrangements, especially in the period before the
spring season. These non-vascular plants are locally important as
non-timber forest products (NTFPs) of considerable commercial
value. They are sold to truck drivers who take them to urban
markets (‘ferias’) in plain-Barm, Fars. Although all landscape
units provide some medicinal value, the forest was by far the
most important, contributing over one third of all value. More
than 15 per cent of medicinal products derive from gardens or
the village itself. The tragacanth gum is an important commercial
gum produced by several shrubby plants of the genus Astragalus,
particularly in Zagros Forest, Iran. About 70% of the supplies
of tragacanth gum originate from Iran, but small quantities are
also produced in Afghanistan. Iran’s average annual production
potential is estimated at 400tonnes and in 1988 export was
142tonnes which increased to 257tonnes in 1990. Tragacanth
gum is mainly exported to the EU, US, Japan and the countries of
the former Soviet Union 
Silvopastoral management of oak woodlands provides
fuelwood from oak and shrub clearing or tree pruning, fodder
(acorns, grass and browses), cereal fodder in long rotations, wild
game, honey, and other diverse private goods and services .
Enough annual rainfall allowed agriculture without irrigation
in much of Persia. Agriculture within Zagros forest is not a
recent occurrence and has been well established for centuries.
The economic crisis in many developing countries has reduced
the purchasing power of low-income families and limited even
further their ability to pay for formal sector housing or services.
Many households in peri-urban areas do not enjoy a regular
income. As noted above, families settle in peri-urban areas for
rational reasons, primarily because land prices or rents are low
Climate change in Zagros Mountain, Iran will have social,
political, and economic implications, which will be determined
in large part by existing structural conditions and long- term
trends. Although there has been significant diversification of
the economy in recent years, Zagros people still depends heavily
on agriculture. Unfortunately, in one decade soaring drought
and change climate sent Zagros’s economy into a tailspin,
severely constraining public- sector spending. Rising average
temperatures in and of themselves will not significantly affect the
Zagros forest states: the region is already one of the moderate,
cold places on the planet.
The Zagros of western and southwestern Iran is a mix of
agronomic, social, and economic traits that forms a time-tested
agrosilvopastoral system involving about less half the Iranian
free-ranging livestock. Forests play an important role in the
livelihoods and welfare of a vast number of people in both
developed and developing countries; from urban citizens taking a
recreational stroll in a nearby forest to isolated hunter gatherers
who live in and off the forest. Livestock population numbers are
high, and the domestic production of feed is limited. Livestock
production in the Zagros Forest is an important part of the
forestry production system. Livestock provides a major source
of income in the drier areas where agricultural production is
limited, and a supplementary source of income in areas where
rainfall is better but erratic. For example, in Iran, livestock
population is estimated at three times the feed production
capacity of the rangelands. The result is that the traditionally
organized forest grazing, with low livestock numbers on agreed
rotations, is now breaking down as the pressure on the forests
has significantly increased.
Population growth and its consequences on land use, in
addition to land degradation and price shocks, are already a
major concern for sustained forest and agricultural productivity
in the region. The trend of changes in temperature, precipitation
and climatic extremes will add to this stress. The agriculture
of the region is potentially vulnerable to environmental and
climate changes, and this threat can severely affect food security.
The predicted temperature increase beyond 3؛C in most regions
 is likely to have very adverse impacts on agriculture, water
resources, ecosystem production and human health . In Iran
population has doubled since 1979, and the demand for more
agricultural and pastoral products has forced people to convert
forest and rangelands into cultivated land, and to overuse wood
and plants as fuel for household cooking and heating .
The most obvious reason for deforestation is the conversion of
forest lands for cattle ranching and agricultural crops, industrial
activities and logging for timber. Transportation infrastructure
has been linked to aggressive and rapid change in land use, with
new roads making previously remote areas of forest accessible
to farmers and ranchers, thus facilitating conversion of forest
land to agricultural crops and use as pasture. Deforestation rates
in Zagros forest have again been rising encouraged by record
world prices for agriculture products, pushing the agricultural
frontier ever further into Zagros forest. Global climate change
has already contributed to rising temperatures in the Zagros
forest which, when combined with deforestation, have led to a
cycle of lower precipitation and a greater frequency of droughts.
Conversion of oak forests to pomegranate gardens are rooting
causes of destroy of its forests.
Tribe living along Zagros forest (Figure 9). Tribes are people
that migrate in ever seasonal for providing of diet for livestock.
In autumn and summer, they are in plain –Barm forest, kazerun,
thus they will migrate to colder some Abadeh and Eghlid city.
During the pre-contact era oak trees were plentiful and served
as a staple food source for most tribes. Tribes of the Barm Plains
lived similar than those of the other Zagros mountain forest
Basin did. Tribes of the same language Family lived in the same
environment. Many tribes were organized into clans, clusters of
related families traced back to a common ancestor. Ghashghae
tribe live in Zagros forest with members from other area tribes.
Ghashghae is largest and most populous in Iran. Inhabitant’s
farm, raise livestock, cut lumber, and are generally self-sufficient.
They still practice traditional customs, such as hunting, fishing,
acorn-gathering, basket making, beadwork, and the White
Deerskin and Jumping dances. Other tribal members earn a
living through farming, raising livestock, and leasing oil rights
to their lands. Livestock, especially sheepherding, soon became
essential to Zagros tribe economy. Keep in mind that each tribe
has a detailed history and culture to be further explored.
Each has individuals who have made or who are contributing
to their own people or to the general society through leadership
and in art and literature. Also keep in mind that each tribe has its
own worldview and ceremonials.
The effects of livestock grazing on the oak woodland
community vary widely according to timing, intensity, and
livestock type. Not surprising, responses to grazing are highly
variable among plant and animal species.
Vegetative elements important to wildlife (e.g., grass,
woodland shrub cover, and litter biomass) may be reduced,
changed structurally, or otherwise altered by livestock grazing
. Grazing can reduce small mammal abundance . And
can alter the foraging behavior of wild herbivores such as deer
. Several studies conducted in the Southwestern US and in
California oak woodland suggest that well-managed grazing
systems can benefit native plant and wildlife species. For
example, native perennial grasses were found to benefit from
being grazed by cattle and sheep , and Marty  reported
higher richness of aquatic invertebrates and native plants in
continuously grazed vernal pool grasslands than at ungrazed
sites in Central California oak woodland. Several endangered
species are known to benefit from grazing, including San Joaquin
kit foxes (Vulpes macrotis mutica) , and Stephen’s kangaroo
rats (Dipodomys stephensi) . Weiss  found that grazing
was necessary to maintain habitat suitability for the endangered
Bay checkerspot butterflies (Euphydryas editha bayensis). It
has been argued that if livestock are properly managed, desired
goals of animal production, economic sustainability, and wildlife
conservation can usually be achieved .
In Zagros the forest and scrubland grazed is estimated at 5
million ha. Livestock production is a main economic activity, both
in high rainfall areas where it represents a secondary production
system, but more so in areas of limited rainfall where, in many
cases, it represents the primary source of revenue. Livestock
production provides insurance when crops fail. In addition,
goats are a preferred source of protein as they are more readily
transportable (Figure 17).
The use of fire as a management tool in agriculture and
rangeland, combined with public apathy, neglect in fire
management, arson, the irresponsible behavior of tourists
and picnickers, and social conflicts are the main causes of
uncontrolled fires, which burn significant areas of forest every
year . Although direct mortality from exposure to heat or
smoke is quite rare, fire indirectly affects animals by its effects
on habitat. As Wirtz et al.  documented for small mammals,
longer-term response to fire varies among species and is
proportional to the alteration of the habitat. In the post-burn
years, wildlife composition moves toward species adapted to
the level of complexity of the habitat created by the fire. Careful
use of prescribed fire in oak woodland to mimic historical
fire intensity and fire regimes can promote biodiversity at the
landscape level . Possible similarity between the effects of
fire and of livestock grazing on habitat was proposed recently as
a research hypothesis by Purcell and Stephens [44-47]. Much will
be gained by a more thorough understanding of how grazing can
be managed to influence woodland habitat structure in a manner
like that of prescribed burning. Air quality regulations, risks to
property, and cost are making prescribed burning more difficult
to implement. In summary, prescribed fires of low intensity can
help to maintain woodland habitat mixes and their associated
diversity, either alone or in combination with low intensity
grazing. More research on this topic is clearly needed, however
Montero G, Martín D, Campos P, Cañellas I (2000) Selvicultura y producción del encinar(Quercus ilex L.) en la comarca de Monfragü CSIC-INIA-UCM Internal working paper, CSIC-INIA-UCM, Madrid, Spain p. 47.
George MR (1991) Grazing and land management strategies for hardwood rangelands. In: Standiford RB (ed) Proceedings Symposium Oak Woodlands and Hardwood Rangeland Management. US Dep Agriculture, Davis, USA pp. 315-319.
Martin R E, Sapsis D B (1991) Fires as agents of biodiversity: pyrodiversity promotes biodiversity. In: Proceedings Symposium biodiversity of northwestern California. University California Wildl Res Center, Berkeley, USA pp. 150-157
USFWS (United States Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service) (1997) Draft recovery plan for the Stephen’s kangaroo rat, Region 1. United States Department of Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon, USA.
USFWS [United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service] (2010) San Joaquin kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) 5-Year review: summary and evaluation, United States pp. 37-38.
Wirtz WO II, Hockman D, Muhm JR, Souza SL (1988) Post fire rodent succession following prescribed fire in southern California chaparral. In: Management of amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals in North America. Szaro RC, Severson KE, Patton DR (tech coord) USDA Forest Service, Fort Collins, United States pp. 333-339.