Ruthless deforestation to support human needs has had great environmental consequences for the region that our ancestors could not reverse.
Irreversible environmental degradation: lessons from past
M. Ghorbani, N.M. Pak (Arianzamin Research Center, Iran) and A. Kani (Shahid Beheshti University, Iran)
Iran has a long history of mining, and techniques of exploration, exploitation, processing and extraction of minerals dates back to about 4000 years before present. A number of ancient gold, copper, iron, lead-zinc, and silver mining activity have been discovered. On the other hand, the climate and environment of the country have drastically changed during Plio-Quaternary times so that most of the lakes have either gone dry or reduced their extent, forests shriveled, and most of forest animals gave their place to grazers and ungulates. Climatic changes during Plio-Quaternary have resulted in evolution of scanty vegetation cover adapted to low-water high-temperature conditions dominated by mastic tree. Such vegetal characteristic is very wide spread all over Iran especially in central southeastern dry plains.
Most of ancient mines of Iran, like today, were located in central, eastern and southeastern parts of the country. Since the ancient processing plants utilized wood or charcoal to fuel their furnaces, abundance of mastic trees is greatly affected by such activities in and around mineral rich regions. And due to harsh climatic conditions prevailing, such forests have never had a chance of recovering. Ruthless deforestation to support human needs has had great environmental consequences for the region that our ancestors could not reverse.