Photo curtsey of Financial Tribune
(An arial photo from Fallahieh wetlands )
The 400,000 hectare Fallahieh (Shadegan) wetland in south of Al-Ahwaz is the largest in Iran and fourth international wetland in the world .
Fallahieh wetland is registered under (Shadegan) in Ramsar convention ,which is an international treaty for the conservation of wetlands .
Other important list in this convention is the Montreaux record . The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the list of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference .
Since 1975 Fallahieh has been registered in this record ,unfortunately no real measures has been taken to conserve this valuable ecosystem which is not only important for the indigenous Arab population of South-west region whose only source of income is fishing and agriculture in these wetlands ,but it is also home to a diverse species of birds ,fishes and mammals .
Once upon a time more than 40 kinds of birds ,emigrated from areas as far as Russia ,but more and more of these birds are becoming instinct ,unfortunately during the past 4 decades, excessive dam construction, water malemanagment, corruption, unrestricted oil extraction ,oil leakage , failure to uphold Fallahieh's water rights , and disposal of industrial waste and chemicals remaining from Iran/Iraq war has transformed the once thriving wetland to a barren land .
There is a document in the website of wetland conservation project under this title “Conservation of Iranian Wetlands , priority projects “ which was created by the cooperation of Environment Protection Organisation and United Nation Development Project (UNDP).
What is interesting about the document is that ,although Fallahieh (Shadegan) has been in the Montreux list for the past 4 decades ,however its name is no where to be found in the report . In the previous phases of wetland conservation project between the year 2005-2013 ,Fallahieh was one of the three main sites to be conserved along with Lake Urmia and Parishan wetland ,but the new report on the project’s website which unfortunately is in Farsi only , does not identify Fallahieh wetland as a priority .
Link to report in Persian : http://www.wetlandsproject.ir/fa/fund