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About

In the south of Iran, at the Persian Gulf and Oman sea beaches, there are more than 13000 Hectares of Hara forests that have expanded from Sistan and Baluchestan coastline to Bushehr province. Hara (which means floating tree) forests with their scientific name Avicennia Marina are also called “Tamar” in the local community. 

Hara forests have got along with saline water in high and low tides and they hide twice a day when the tide is in. The eco-system of Hara forests is unique since it neither belongs to the land nor the water. In fact, Hara forests are a combination of both water and land ecosystems. This magnificent phenomenon has amazingly connected water and land.

Hara forests (Mangrove Forests)

Jungles

About

In the south of Iran, at the Persian Gulf and Oman sea beaches, there are more than 13000 Hectares of Hara forests that have expanded from Sistan and Baluchestan coastline to Bushehr province. Hara (which means floating tree) forests with their scientific name Avicennia Marina are also called “Tamar” in the local community. 

Hara forests have got along with saline water in high and low tides and they hide twice a day when the tide is in. The eco-system of Hara forests is unique since it neither belongs to the land nor the water. In fact, Hara forests are a combination of both water and land ecosystems. This magnificent phenomenon has amazingly connected water and land.

General view

Mangroves are evergreen trees that are 3-5m tall. These forests are the southernmost forests in the northwest of Asia. They are stretched from the easternmost of Oman sea in Iran starting in Gwadar bay, and by continuing to the west of the Persian Gulf, they eventually end at Nayband in Bushehr province. 

The branches of Mangroves are so intertwined that reaching them is almost impossible. travelers can observe these phenomena while they’re in boats sailing in the canals. The taproot of Mangroves is short, but they have several long branch roots growing on the surface layer of land. They also exist in countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, China, Vietnam, and Thailand; and Hara forests are their eastern type.

Since Mangroves are a type of halophytes, they live in waters of high salinity. In their habitat there is high salinity, repetitive tides occur, the average temperature is high and anaerobic conditions are needed in the habitat bed. The best time for visiting Hara forests is from November to May.

Climate

The climate is an important factor for the dispersal of Hara forests. These forests grow and reproduce in three types of climates: Tropical regions, warm regions that have summer rainfall, and temperate regions that don’t have cold winters which the southern parts of Iran are counted as this type. The optimal temperature for the creation and stability of these forests is between 22 to 25 degrees Celsius.

Vegetation

The highlighted vegetation of these forests are Mangroves that have a unique mechanism that makes them compatible with anaerobic conditions. These trees have leaves with a transparent coating that reduces the evaporation and transpiration of the plant. They also have enough organs to absorb nutrients which they keep the water in. some kinds of mangroves have salt excretory glands. There are loop-root mangroves in the area too that some people call Hara by mistake. In Hara forests, there are also mushrooms and microphytes. Mushrooms play an effective role in decaying dry branches and the leaves of mangrove trees remained in Hara forests.

Wildlife

Since the seawater is salty, it may seem that fewer creatures can live there. But Hara forests are the habitat of various creatures that are unique in their kind. Generally, the faunas of the region are divided into two marine beings and Hara trees. In the marine sector, there are marine invertebrates like mudskippers, crabs, prawns, and shrimps. Shrimps and prawns have high economic value for the locals. Marine vertebrates include fishes and hydrophis snakes that live in the protected area. besides of marine creatures’ collection, there is a great group of migratory birds like the flamingo, Pelican, sandpiper, Osprey, etc. Also, you can see some kinds of mammals like the fox, jackal, hyenas, and so on; which their lives depend on the Hara forests and mud islands around them. Green sea turtles and hawksbill sea turtles live in the region too; although, mud beaches and forest beaches are not suitable habitats for these turtles. It seems that their interest in eating the roots and leaves of mangroves has a noticeable effect on their resistance and fertility.

Springs, Rivers, and lakes

The Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, two important water resources of Iran and the world, are the main habitats for Hara forests and are counted as the main watersheds in Iran. Big rivers like Karun, Karkheh, Jarahi, Mand, Mehran, and Bahoukalat flow into these two great seas. Qeshm Island in Hormozgan province is one of the main habitats for Hara forests which has saline groundwater aquifers. Goori, Kargah, and the springs at the foot of Namakdan mountain are the most important springs of the region. The best mangrove forests in terms of density and growth are located in Khuran Straits wetland in Qeshm island and the marine parts of Bandar Khamir to Bandar Pol. Lashtaghan hot spring and Chah Ahmad spring are one of the attractions of Bandar Khamir. Khuran Straits is one of the greatest bays of the Persian Gulf which their water is fully mixed. Mehran River also flows into its eastern part, but any increase or decrease in its water relates to the water of the Persian Gulf.

Hiking trails
Local community

Coastal residents of Sistan and Baluchestan, Hormozgan, and Bushehr provinces are the local community of Hara forests. Local people that live along these forests have got used to them. Their lives and businesses are entangled with mangroves. In the flowering season, they produce honey in these forests which coastal Arabian residents are very interested in it. Mangroves are very important to the local people and they use them for feeding livestock, producing wooden stuff, coal, and match, producing honey and providing paper mache. Moreover, the fruits and the leaves of mangroves are used for medical purposes too. Also since mangroves live so long that their trunk gets very hard and local people in the past didn’t have the means for emptying them, they used their wood to create Dohol (a local musical instrument).

The food culture of the southern people is tied with the sea and their main dish is the fish which is true about local people of Hara forests too. Qaliyeh Mahi, Havari Mahi, shellfish, and shrimp cutlet are some of the main dishes of local cuisine.

Costumes of local men, women, and children show that they are professional artists and produce nice handicrafts. They make magnificent golabetoons, suzani, and embroidered clothes which are mostly used in womanish clothes.

Accommodation

Eco-lodges around Hara forests serve local cuisine with the spicy and pleasant aroma of traditional spices. They provide you accommodation and touring services with small boats in the canals through Hara forests. Various kinds of 3-5 star hotels and other lodges also serve the tourists in near cities with modern facilities combined with local services for enthusiasts.

Guides

Sailing a boat on the blue waves of the Persian Gulf through green canals and visiting the wonders of Hara forests and all the attractions of this unique nature is an amazing experience that you will never forget. Aware experienced guides of DPL are ready to provide you safe enjoyable moments.

Environmental damages
  • Local businesses involvement with these unique jungles
  • Not controlled livestock grazing
  • Excessive pruning of trees
  • Motorboat transits and transports
  • The pollution caused by oil tankers and the development of oil fields

Hara forests are counted as a part of warm ecosystems and sometimes are referred to as sensitive, vital, exclusive, productive, evergreen, etc… habitats. These descriptions all show that how important are these forests in environmental, economical, social, and aesthetical terms. Thus, we should be careful and put our efforts to protect these precious forests as a natural heritage.

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