Rud-e-Gaz and Rud-e-Hara Wetlands, Iran

This satellite image captured of southern Iran shows what an arid and inhospitable area most of this region is.  The dominant landscape in this image is the dry, arid, and lacking in vegetation. A small green section to the north and inland on the image is vegetated as the result standing water from a human-made dam along one of the seasonal rivers in the area.  The seasonal rivers carry sediment when they are flowing as a result of erratic rainfall in the interior, mostly during the winter months.  That sediment flow causes the areas along the coast to turn brown.  In the image, the waters of the Strait of Hormuz is seen to the west, which lies betweenthe Gulf of Oman to the south and Persian Gulf to the north.

Along the coast wetlands are also found, forming at the deltas of the Rud-e-Gaz and Rud-e-Hara rivers.  This extensive complex of tidal mudflats, creeks, saltmarshes, mangroves, sandbanks and offshore islands is an important site for wintering waterbirds.  The site (number 75 on the list) was added to The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance in 1975.  The Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental treaty for the sustainable use of wetlands, currently lists 2,185 sites worldwide it considers to be wetlands of international importance.


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At this site, extensive stands of mangrove Avicennia marina are found at the mouths of the rivers, along tidal creeks, and as a broad fringe along the landward side of coastal sandbars. The adjacent arid plain supports a sparse woodland of Acacia, Prosopis, Ziziphus, and Tamarix with large areas of bare sandy flats. The area is remote, with only a few tiny fishing villages nearby.

This image over a remote area in southern Iran was acquired by Japan’s ALOS satellite on 10 December 2009. Source: JAXA/ESA.

This image over a remote area in southern Iran was acquired by Japan’s ALOS satellite on 10 December 2009. Source: JAXA/ESA.

Download high-resolution image: (2.95 MB)