Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran



Rangelands are one of the essential components of natural ecosystems and are known as one of the main sources of forage supply, biodiversity conservation, soil and water resources. The aim of this study was to investigate the ecological potential of rangelands in Alborz province based on the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and pairwise comparisons using Geographic Information System (GIS). The digital map of ecological potential (EP) was prepared by weighting and integrating maps of slope, land unit, vegetation cover, land use, and precipitation. The results showed that each of the five criteria had equal importance coefficients (0.2) for determining the EP of rangelands. Overall, 21.77% of the province's area was unsuitable for rangeland use due to rocky outcrops. 15.41% of the province's area had first-degree potential and 37.28% had second-degree potential for rangeland use. Taleqan County had the highest first-degree potential for rangeland use with 56,321 hectares, and Karaj County had the highest second-degree potential with 96,507 hectares. Nazarabad County had no first-degree potential for rangeland use, and Taleqan County had no fourth-degree potential. Nazarabad County and Eshtehard County also had 48.15% and 63.92% potential for third- and fourth-degree rangeland use, respectively. Based on the weighting of different factors, slope was the most limiting factor for rangeland use, accounting for more than 50% of the limitation. In general, determining the EP of rangelands leads to identifying areas that are very suitable for optimal use of natural resources, and can increase rural income and employment both economically and socially.


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