Land use: Introduction [ >> ]

The use of the land, especially for agriculture, depends on the climate and the vailability of water. Iran encompasses very different types of climates, for example dry and hot areas in the central highlands at one extreme and damp areas in the Caspian lowland at the other extreme. Areas, where the annual rainfall is about 500 mm or more, can manage agricultural production without or with little irrigation. In areas, where the annual rainfall is not sufficient or where the variability of rainfall is too high, irrigation is necessary. Due to these natural circumstances Iran needs proper water management to maintain and to increase the cultivated land area and to ensure the food supply of the growing population (Fig. 1).

Two more aspects, the Iranian soils and the relief, must be mentioned. Similar to climate conditions, Iran includes areas with widely varying relief and soil conditions. While the inner mountain areas are not suitable for agricultural use, there are regions at the margins of the mountains and along the Caspian Sea coast. Two types of soil are particularly suitable for agriculture:

  • hydromorphic mineral soils along the rivers and in the shore area of the Caspian Sea
  • grey semi desert soils between the margins of the mountains and the interior deserts, if irrigation is possible

Fig. 1: Irrigated cultivated land in the mountain region above Gorgan (photo: M. Schöne)

[authors]: Nicole Geisbauer, Catrin Morell, Matthias Schöne
© Institute of Geography
University of Stuttgart, Germany
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