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Rainfed fruit orchards in sloping lands: soil erosion reduction, water harvesting and fruit production
- Roointan, R., Yadollahi, A., Sarikhani Khorami, S., Arab, M. M., Vahdati, K.
- Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1190 pp. 107-112
- almonds, cover crops, fruit crops, fruits, grapes, growing season, irrigation, mulches, nut crops, olives, orchards, organic matter, pistachios, rain, runoff, sand filters, soil erosion, straw, topographic slope, walnuts, water harvesting, Iran
- Iran, with 247 mm annual rainfall, is categorized as an arid and semi-arid country in the world. More than 80% of Iranian land is arid and semi-arid. In addition, 75% of the precipitations are out of the growing season or running out from agricultural lands as runoff. About 55% of Iran's surface belongs to sloping lands being most prone to erosion and flood. Iran has a high rank in soil erosion (15-20 t ha-1) in the world. The damage of this erosion is about 14% of GDP. Water harvesting in sloping lands as a valuable method provides a suitable condition for establishment of commercial rainfed orchards. However, for establishment and management of rainfed fruit orchards, scientific and engineering principles such as macro- and micro-catchment, land topography, supplementary irrigation, straw and organic matter, sand filters, mulch and cover crops, should be considered. Presently, about 15.2% (386,493 ha) of fruit orchards in Iran are rainfed, producing more than 7.6% (1.21 MT) of the total fruit and nut crops production. In addition, these orchards mostly established in sloping lands have a key role to reclaiming lands and preventing soil erosion. The Agriculture Ministry of Iran conducted a project to extend such orchards in sloping lands. Some of the fruit and nut crops (including almond, olive, pistachio, walnut and grape) are considered to be used in this project because they are more adaptable to rainfed conditions. Sloping lands will be more suitable for fruit crops cultivation, if provided with enough supplementary irrigation.