Waterless wetlands, as a new source of wind erosion: Developing remediation strategies for the Hamoon Wetland in Iran
This research identified factors influencing wind erosion and remediation strategies in the Hamoon Wetland in the Sistan plain of southeastern Iran. First, a map was prepared to classify erosion levels based on a model by the Iran Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands (IRIFR). Secondly, factors contributing to erosion were identified. Finally, the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) model was employed to identify the most significant strategies for preventing and managing wind erosion impacts in the wetland. In our study area, the low erosion class covered the greatest extent of land at 41.2%. Considering the overall extent of the Hamoon Wetland, this is still a considerable number, and we discuss the numerous threats which contribute to making the Hamoon Wetland the greatest dust producer in the area. Erosion was primarily influenced by wind speed and direction, vegetation density, land shape and elevation. In the SWOT analysis, we propose in detail various effective strategies to combat wind erosion. Watershed pathways need to be conserved in this area to minimize wind erosion. Otherwise, this will have irreversible negative consequences for the region that transcend borders which will likely exacerbate political tensions between Iran and Afghanistan. We conclude that implementing scientific models like the IRIFR and SWOT in this context provides valuable quantitative information for policymakers to safeguard wetland ecosystems for the sake of mitigating wind erosion.
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