Alireza Naqinezhad1, Amir Talebi1, Samereh Tirgan1, Vanessa Lozano2 and Giuseppe Brundu2
1Department of Biology, Faculty of Basic Sciences, University of Mazandaran, P.O. Box: 47416-95447, Mazandaran, Iran
2Department of Agriculture, University of Sassari, Viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
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Iran covers an area of 1,648,000 km2. It is a mountainous country of huge ecological diversity, ranging from 28 m below sea level on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, to 5,770 m above sea level at Mt. Damavand. In addition, Alborz. Alborz and Zagros are the most prominent mountain ranges extending about 950 km in the northwest to northeast and 1,400 km in the northwest to southeast of Iran, respectively. Almost 62% of the territory is 1,000 m a.s.l. The country supports striking biological diversity which is further enhanced by its location at the interface of several geobotanical regions. The complex geology and topography and the contrasting climates generating humid and lush forests in the north and very hot deserts in central and south Iran, are the main drivers of the high floristic diversity with about 8,000 vascular plant species and a high proportion of endemism in Iran (30%). Three major bioclimatic zones (i.e. nemoral, meridional and tropical) with ten bioclimates defined by temperature and precipitation occur in Iran. Annual precipitation ranges from 28 mm in the deserts of southern Iran to ca. 2,000 mm in the Hyrcanian area of northern Iran. The mean temperatures of the coldest and warmest months vary from -13.3 °C in Firuzkuh (Alborz Mts.) to 47.5 °C in the Kerman desert.
In Iran, 26% of the land is used for agriculture. The main crops are wheat, barely, rice, citrus, fruit trees, olive trees and vegetables. The majority of Iran’s cropping activities take place in the west, northwest, and northern parts of the country where annual precipitation exceeds 250 mm. However, irrigated agriculture is practiced in regions with precipitations as low as 200 mm year-1, or even below 100 mm year-1. The uncultivated land and hills are dominated by different types of vegetation including deciduous forests, Artemisia steppes and grasslands, woodlands and forest steppes, alpine and subalpine vegetation and savanna-like vegetation in the tropical part of the country.
Due to the high rate of endemism of the flora of Iran and its conservational value, with a remarkable occurrence of very diverse natural ecosystems and agricultural areas, and on the other hand due to the always increasing number of publications reporting new alien records, we decided to establish an international working group aiming to produce the first inventory of the non-native flora in Iran. In fact, so far, there is no comprehensive study on the non-native flora of Iran, but only single studies on single alien species and invaded habitats. This is reflected by the relative low number of records present in the major international databases, such as GLONAF and GRIIS, with, respectively only contain 35 and 117 records of alien plants for Iran.
The data collection for the dedicated database is based on a full screening and critical analysis of all the available literature, particularly Flora Iranica (Rechinger 1963-2015) and the Persian Flora of Iran, including herbarium data, bibliographic records, local floras as well as our own original field observations (since 2001, e.g. Naqinezhad & Naseri Larijan 2017). For each alien species the following information was collected: origin, status, invasive status, distribution in the main biogeographic regions of Iran, life form, habitat preferences, and introduction pathways.
This checklist will hopefully promote and support further investigations and prioritization and risk analyses for the identification of the most problematic invasive species.
Naqinezhad A. & Naseri Larijani N. (2017) Ammannia coccinea (Lythraceae), a new record for the Flora Iranica area. Phytol. Balcan. 23: 35–38.
Rechinger K. H. (1963–2015) Flora Iranica. Vols. 1–181. Akademische Druck u. Verlagsanstalt, Graz.