8.8% of Iran is covered by forests. The Iran forests cover an area of 3.4 million hectares. According to history from ancient times until the beginning of the 18th century Iran has had many assorted jungles. In other words during the Achaemenid Period the jungles in the existing borders of Iran covered 16 million hectares. The destruction of Iranian jungles began with the invasion of Mongols and was further deteriorated during the past three centuries. During years 1902 and 1012 at Qajar period nearly 130 thousand tons of charcoal were produced and exported to foreign countries out of Iranian jungles. Deforestation is still a major problem in Iran’s environmental issues.
The Iranian forests are scattered in five major zones. Compared to other countries owning forests Iran ranks 45 in size.
Caspian Sea Region
This Hyrcanian forest territory forms a green belt north of Iran. The region enjoys humid weather and is under the influence of Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea strip starts from Astara in Gilan Province and stretches to the Bojnourd Mountains in northern Khorasan. The main plants growing in Caspian region forests are deciduous (broad leaved) species and a few of them are coniferous. The most important trees in this region are as follows: Oaks and box trees. Hornbeam and Persian parrotia, Beech. Fig (from hornbeam family), Maple. Alder and Juniper.
This region falls in the center of Iran and Khorasan. Khorasan covers about 5.1% of the country, but 3.1% is of it is covered by deserts. The following are the main plants growing in Iranian-Turanian region: Pistachio and almond. Juniper. Wormseed and milk vetch. Arch tree. Meanwhile many places in this oasis are planted with arch tree and other trees and bushes resistant against salty and very warm weather.
By Zagros region we mean the oak forests west of Iran. The main species in this region is oak. Being exposed to various climates such as Iranian-Turanian zone, deserts and cyclones blowing from Anatoly Peninsula and Black Sea, this region enjoys different climates. Zagros forests have an important role in Iran’s environment as they help to prevent soil degrading and dust in addition to their biodiversity and water resources.
Persian Gulf Region
The forests in this region are scattered in the sandy and tropic shores of Persian Gulf. The forests are divided into Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman zones. The trees in the Persian Gulf region are mostly blind tree, mesquite species, palm and acacia is more abundant at the Sea of Oman region. Such trees are growing in arid and warm climates. Of course mangrove which adapts to tropic climates grows at the shores of Khamir Port, Qeshm and Siri islands.
This region is falls between East Azerbaijan Province and the south of Aras River. Rare plants and bushes are growing in this part of the country in addition to providing beautiful landscapes for tourists.