1Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran
2Faculty of Agriculture, Azad University of Khozestan, Iran
Several models have been developed to estimate land degradation rate and evaluate desertification severity. This study attempts to apply the MEDALUS (Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use) model by considering existing conditions in the Hamoun wetland, located in south-eastern Iran. At first identification of the main factors affecting the desertification phenomenon was attempted, based on field survey. These factors include climate, soil, vegetation and management practices. Results showed that land management and extreme climate are the most important factors affecting the desertification process. In addition, in some land uses, lack of vegetation accelerates the prevalent wind intensity in the study area (known as “the 120Rozeh” (means 120 days and refers to the wind, with high speeds that blow from the North to the South during summer time) – the most famous Iranian winds) which continues its path without any barrier, and erodes the land surface. Results also indicated that the study area is mostly located in the critical desertification class. Based on the results, it is known that 14% of whole region (12,273 ha) is in the low-critical class, 48.2% (42,251 ha) in the medium-critical class, and 37.8% (33,134 ha) in the high-critical class.