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Iran’s Hyrcanian forest – Iran’s Hyrcanian Forests listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site

Iran’s Hyrcanian forest – Iran’s Hyrcanian Forests listed as UNESCO’s World Heritage Site 

The World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO added Iran’s ancient Hyrcanian Forests to its list of World Heritage Sites on 10 July 2019.
What your will read here:

The Geography of Hyrcanian Forests

The History of Hyrcanian Forests

Fauna and Flora of the Hyrcanian Forests

The World Heritage Committee is in charge with selecting the UNESCO-recognized sites. They made the decision on the 43rd annual meeting in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijani. In the statement announcing the decision, UNESCO said the forests have “remarkable floristic biodiversity.” The region is also known to be hosting a wide variety of animal species including 296 bird, 98 mammal, and around 150 plant species.
Taking part in the event, Acting Secretary General of Iran’s National Commission for UNESCO Hojatollah Ayoubi said that the Iranian proposal for such a pick had won a majority of the Committee’s votes. Ayoubi also offered congratulations on UNESCO’s vote to Iranians, specifically those residing in the country’s Northern provinces, which are home to the Hyrcanian woodlands.

The Geography of Hyrcanian Forests

Hyrcanian Forests covers an area of 850 kilometers along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. These forests extend from east to west, cover parts of five provinces of Iran, including North Khorasan Province, Golestan Province, Mazandaran Province, Gilan Province, and Ardabil Province. The total area of Hyrcanian Forests has decreased from 3.6 million hectares in early of the current century to 1.9 million hectares. 1.85 million hectares of that is located in Iran.
Read More: What to expect when traveling to Iran?

Iran’s Hyrcanian forest
Iran’s Hyrcanian forest

The History of Hyrcanian Forests

According to the historical evidence, the history of these broad-leaved forests dates back to 25 to 50 million years. These ancient forest areas retreated during the Quaternary glaciations and then expanded again as the climate became milder. Their floristic biodiversity is remarkable: 44% of the vascular plants known in Iran are found in the Hyrcanian region, which only covers 7% of the country.
Studies show that there are three climatic regions in Hyrcanian forests, including Humid subtropical (in middle altitude areas), Oceanic, and Humid continental (in the mountains). The density of the forest, gradient, distance to the Caspian Sea are the factors that affect the climate of the forests. Generally speaking, the forests’ soils are productive and rich in minerals and organic matters.

Fauna and Flora of the Hyrcanian Forests

Regarding the fauna of the Hyrcanian Forests, here is the list of species living in these forests:
Persian leopard (Panthera pardus ciscaucasica)
• Lynx (Lynx lynx)
• Brown bear (Ursus arctos)
• Wild boar (Sus scrofa)
• Wolf (Canis lupus)
• Golden jackal (Canis aureus)
• Jungle cat (Felis chaus)
• Badger (Meles meles)
• Otter (Lutra lutra)

Fauna of the Hyrcanian Forests
Fauna of the Hyrcanian Forests

Some outstanding birds also can be found here, such as:
• greylag goose (Anser anser)
• white-fronted goose (Anser albifrons)
• Little bustard (Tetrax tetrax)
• glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus)
• Eurasian spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
• night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
• red-breasted goose (Branta ruficollis)
• peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
• Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus)
• Western cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis)
• squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides)
• greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)
• white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala)
• Caspian snowcock (Tetraogallus caspius)

Fauna of the Hyrcanian Forests
Fauna of the Hyrcanian Forests

If you are interested in bird-watching tours in Iran, we have the possibility to organize the tour as a private tour for you. Please just let us know what is your plan, and we make your dreams come true.
To name the flora of the Hyrcanian Forests, we need to divide the forests to different areas:
The lower slopes of Talysh and Alborz Mountains below 700 meters:
• Chestnut-leaved Oak
• European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
• Persian Ironwood (Parrotia persica), which is endemic to the Talysh Mountains and northern Iran
• Caucasian Zelkova (Zelkova carpinifolia)
• Persian Silk Tree (Albizia julibrissin)
• Date-plum (Diospyros lotus)
• shrubs holly (Ilex hyrcana)
• Ruscus hyrcanus
• Danaë racemosa
• Atropa pallidiflora

Flora of the Hyrcanian Forests
Flora of the Hyrcanian Forests

At the middle elevations between 700 and 1,500 meters:
• Oriental Beech
• Chestnut-leaved Oak
• Caucasian Oak (Quercus macranthera)
• European Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)
• Oriental Hornbeam (C. orientalis)
• Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa)
Upper mountains and subalpine zones:
• Caucasian Oak
• Oriental Hornbeam
• Alpine tundra
• Caspian Locust (Gleditsia caspica)
• Velvet Maple (Acer velutinum)
• Cappadocian Maple (Acer cappadocicum)
• European Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
• Wych Elm (Ulmus glabra)
• Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
• Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis)
• Lime tree (Tilia platyphyllos)
If you are interested to visit this amazing forest in Iran, the easiest way is to send us contact us, let us know your travel plans, and we take care of the rest. We offer tailor-made tours in Iran to travelers who prefer to travel to the country with their own special routines.

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