occupy the transitional zone between permanently wet and
generally dry environments, sharing characteristics of both
aquatic and terrestrial environments but not belonging
exclusively to either. Under the Ramsar Convention, wetlands are
defined as “areas of marsh, fen, peat land or water, whether
natural or artificial. For years, the ecological importance of
the Hamoon Wetland was not well known. It was merely used for
feeding the livestock and catching birds and fishes.
wetland is located between 31o15’ and 31o32’
latitude as well as 60o39’ to 61o35’
longitude. The total area of this wetland varies between 350,000
ha and 130,000 ha. It depends on the rate of precipitation and
water flow to the wetland. It includes three smaller wetlands
called Saberi, Hamoon-Poozak and parts of Hamoon-Heermand.
The protected area in the region is about 193,000 ha.
This wetland is a great habitat for different animals and
plants. The Heermand River pours into this wetland and provides
the necessary water for the survival of this water body. The
freshwater plays a great role in soil fertility, fish and bird
habitats, as well as plant variety. The hydrological and
geo-morphological conditions affect the life in the wetland.
Hamoon Wetland is classified as a freshwater wetland. The water
level depends on the rate of precipitation in the region, and
therefore, there are large seasonal variations. The average
precipitation rate in the province is 60 mm. The Heermand River
plays a vital role in the province of Sistan-Balouchestan. This
river, being also important for Afghanistan, is the main water
body in the province.
The life forms in
the wetland depend on specific physical, chemical, and
biological parameters. Flora and fauna in this wetland enjoy
The main benefits of the Hamoon can be summarized as follows.
Wetland acts as a natural dam and collects the seasonal
floods in the region. This prevents the damages to nearby
communities and human activities,
Wetland prevents land erosion in the region. This is
achieved by reducing the water flow and collection of
sediments. This has a great positive impact on
sustainability of agriculture activities in the region.
wetland acts as a natural waste treatment plant. The wetland
acts as a sink and a source of nutrients (such as nitrogen
and phosphorus). The water plants absorb these nutrients.
The photosynthesis by water plants and absorption of
nutrients reduce eutrophication in the lake. On the other
hand, the wetland acts as a source of nutrients. For
example, through nitrification, nitrates are released as
nitrogen to the atmosphere.
wetland is an important habitat for plants and animals.
Located near desert ecosystems, this wetland supports the
food chain in the region.
The Hamoon Wetland has international significance. It is listed
as one of the important Iranian wetlands under the “Ramsar
Convention”. Many endangered animal and plant species are
observed in this unique ecosystem.
of the Wetland
Schizothorax zarudny, Cehizopigopsis stolicglea, Discogenathus
sp., Schizocypris brucei. Many exotic fish species are
observed in this wetland including grass carp
Ctenopharyngdon idella, common carp
Cyprinus carpio, bighead
Aristichthys nobilis, silver carp
Hypophttalmichthys molirix, and goldfish
Carassius auratus. The most common plankton species belong
to the classes of Daphnia and Cyclops. Two freshwater frog
species, namely, Bufo
stomaticus and Bufo
surdus are observed in the region. Some of the plant
species include Alisma, Aeluropus, Cyperus, Cynodon, Butomus and
Phragmites. Many bird species migrate to this wetland during the
cold seasons, a few of which include ducks and geese.
Many mammals depend directly and indirectly on this water body.
A few of these mammals include mice, fox, and boar.
Economic Values of the Wetland
this wetland plays an important role in the socio-economic
development of the region. Agriculture is solely dependent on
the Hamoon. The wetland is an important feeding and grazing
ground for livestock. According to 1983 statistics, more than
780,000 livestock were observed in the region. There are also
local handicraft artworks, made by local material, in nearby
communities, which support the local business activities.
Catching fish is one of the other sources of income for local
communities. Unfortunately, many exotic fish species were
introduced to this wetland, which had adverse impacts on the
ecosystem. Fishing is carried out by traditional methods in the
Hamoon Wetland is very vulnerable to water flow