Land and Resources, Plant and Animal Life
Elburz Mountains, Caspian tigers, Dasht-e Kavir, Zagros Mountains, gazelles
Although more than 10,000 plant species have been identified in Iran, the natural vegetation in most of the country has been uprooted and replaced by cultivated crops or pastures. Natural forests consisting of beech, oak, other deciduous trees, and conifers grow in parts of the Elburz Mountains. Some regions of higher elevation in the Zagros Mountains contain wooded areas consisting primarily of oak. Wild fruit trees, including almond, pear, pomegranate, and walnut, grow in both the Elburz and Zagros mountains. In the more arid central part of the country, wild pistachio and other drought-resistant trees grow in areas that have not been disturbed by human activity. Tamarisk and other salt-tolerant bushes grow along the margins of the Dasht-e Kavir.
A wide variety of native mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects inhabit Iran. Many species of mammals—including wolves, foxes, bears, mountain goats, red mountain sheep, rabbits, and gerbils—continue to thrive. Others—including Caspian tigers, Caspian seals, desert onagers, three species of deer, gazelles, and lynx—are endangered despite the establishment of special wildlife refuge areas and other government programs initiated to protect them. Some 502 species of birds inhabit Iran; more than 200 species are migratory birds that spend part of the year in other countries.
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