Effects of Fire on Vegetation Cover and Forage Production of Solan Rangeland in Hamadan Province, Iran
Fire causes extensive damage to rangelands’ ecosystems in arid and semi-arid regions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of rangeland fire on vegetation and forage production in mountainous rangelands of the Solan area in Hamadan province, Iran. A burnt area and a homogeneous area without fire (control) were selected for this study. In the burnt area, the fire has occurred in July 2018. In each site, data were collected in the months July to October using four linear transects with a length of 200 m using a systematic random sampling method. In each transect at a distance of 20 m, 10 plots of 1m2 were considered. Vegetation sampling was done during (July to October) three years of 2018, 2019, and 2020. Some factors such as forage production, percentage of bare soil, stones and gravels, litter, survival rate, canopy cover, and percentage of shrubs, perennial and annual forbs, perennial and annual grasses were measured. The results showed that there were significant differences between the two areas for all variables except perennial forbs cover, shrubs cover, and stone and gravels percent in the first year. Fire reduced the litter percent, forage production, canopy cover, survival, and increased bare soil, soil erosion, and sediment. The geophytes life forms of the species in the study areas had the highest coverage percentage (38.66%) in both areas. Some species such as: Astragalus verus, Astragalus gossypinus, Acantholimon bromifolium, Acantholimon olivieri, and Acanthophyllum crassifolium were sensitive to fire. On the other hand, species such as Rosa persica due to having rhizomes and extensive underground roots were resistant to fire.