Arzhan and Parishan Protected Zone
The protected zone of Arzhan and Parishan is situated 60 kilometers west of Shiraz in the vicinity of an important road that connects Shiraz to the provinces of Khuzestan and Bushehr. Following the world conference on marshlands and migrant birds in 1971 and after evaluating the condition of Iran’s marshlands from the view of bird diversity and beautiful landscapes, Arzhan and Parishan zones were selected as the center for world marshland studies under special international management. Hence, a zone with the area of 191,000 hectares was chosen as an international park with Arzhan and Parishan lakes located in the middle of the park. Since this was a very wide-scale project, it faced many social and environmental difficulties. The most important problem was the plan for the decamping of tribes and the villagers that lived in the area close to the park. In this way, the area was reduced to 91,000 and later to 65,000 hectares. The zone was later called Arzhan and Parishan National Park.
Chahbarghi peak is the highest point in Arzhan and Parishan protected zone with the altitude of 2900 meters. You can see juniper trees that have grown there sporadically. If you move a few hundred meters downward you will see oak trees that have covered a major part of the land. The lowest area includes the lands surrounding Parishan Lake that are 800 meters high and Konar trees used to grow there. But there are few such trees nowadays growing in the area. The plains situated close to Parishan Lake are warm and the temperature there may go beyond 45 degrees centigrade. But the temperature in the area close to Arzhan Lake that is situated in the north at the height of 2,000 meters is very cold in winter. The precipitation in Arzhan area is mostly in the form of snow and you will see the snow on the ground till spring due to freezing weather. Generally speaking, even though Arzhan Lake is 15 kilometers away from Parishan Lake, the temperature there is approximately 15 degrees cooler than Parishan in any season of the year.
Parishan Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Iran. The lake has the area of approximately 4,000 hectares and has relatively sweet water and has an eye-catching beauty due to its vicinity with mountains that are covered with forests. The existence of thousands of birds that migrate to the area from Siberia and certain regions in northern Iran has doubled the beauty of the lake.
Arzhan Lake is smaller than Parishan Lake but enjoys the same beauty and its area changes in proportionate with the annual precipitation level. The area of Arzhan Lake exceeds 2,000 hectares during years with high level of precipitation. During the time of minimum precipitation, the area of the lake will be limited to several hundred hectares of humid grasslands.
The lands surrounding Parishan and Arzhan lakes as well as the mountains that are covered with forests and are situated between the lakes are well known as one of the best areas for hunting in Fars province. The area has an excellent status from the perspective of forests and pasture lands. You will also come across the names of these lakes if you go through old geography books and travelogues and it has been stipulated that the area used to be the habitat of Iranian lion. A number of lions lived in this area till 70 years ago. But the generation of Iranian lion later faced extinction due to the destruction of the habitat and growing hunting activities. It should be noted that there are major differences between Iranian lion and African lion and the Iranian lion race can be traced in India today.
Even though major changes have been made in the area compared to what has been described in travelogues, but the lakes of Arzhan and Parishan are still valuable locations in this protected zone. There are different bird species that spent the winter season in this area such as crane, goose, stork and black stork. There are other birds that spend the winter season here and are also facing the danger of extinction such as a type of pelican and certain species of ducks. Both lakes are well known throughout the world and international research institutions attach importance to these lakes so much so that the international organization for birds termed this region as an important area for birds several years ago. Experts have marked hundreds of birds in this area. Certain species of eagles have also been spotted in the area. There are diverse species of birds living in this region and due to the climatic diversity you can find birds whose habitats are oak forests, tropical and mountainous forests. So far, 263 species of birds have been identified in this zone.
So far, more than 50 species of mammals have been identified in this area such as wolves, foxes, rabbits, ewes, jackals and wild boars. It should be noted that Iran's Environment Protection Organization has in recent years made great deal of efforts for saving the Iranian yellow deer from extinction in this area that has added to the importance of this region.
One should also bear in mind the diverse species of plants living in Arzhan and Parishan protected zone. This is due to the existence of high mountains, plains, almond and oak tree forests as well as marshlands with salty and sweet water. For this reason, there are great number of Zagros region endangered plant species living in this region.
Springs & Waterfalls, Fars
The village of Qalaat
Margoon village in Fars Province
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