skip to main content

Effect of Environmental and Managerial Factors on Range Condition in Semi-Arid Mountainous Area of Chahar Bagh in Northeastern Iran



Semi-arid mountainous areas are of special importance in terms of ecological function i.e. vegetation dynamics and its evaluation under environmental- managerial factors is a necessity for their sustainable use. Due to the highly variable environmental characteristics in these areas, proper land management and utilization can severely affect the Range Condition (RC). Here, the relationship between topography, soil characteristics and management (RC) under grazing] was investigated through multivariate analysis in mountain areas of Golestan’s Chahar Bagh, northeastern Iran in 2019. The RCs were assessed by scoring vegetation and soil characteristics in areas under livestock grazing areas. The preliminary findings of this research showed that environmental factors i.e. clay, P, EC, slope, aspect, Soil Moisture (SM) and K had the most effect on the formation of five different vegetation types (Cum.% of Var.=80.4%). The results showed that RC changes had more significant relationships with managerial factor/grazing than environmental factors. In general, the effect of environmental and management factors and their common effect in changing RC were equal to 1.84%, 74.1 and 21.04%, respectively. The change of soil physical properties was more than soil chemical properties under RC changes. Factors of Organic Matter (OM), Bulk Density (BD), porosity and SM showed significant changes under excellent, good, fair, poor and very poor conditions (P<0.05). In general, excellent and good rangelands were related to more OM and porosity and less slope and K. Moreover, poor/very poor rangelands were related to more SM, BD, P and slope. Overall, managing grazing can significantly decline/improve RC in mountainous area.

Graphical Abstract