Detecting Forest Fragmentation with Morphological Image Processing in Golestan National Park in northeast of Iran

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Graduate Faculty of Environment, University of Tehran, P.O.Box 14135-6135, Tehran, Iran


Fragmentation, or breaking apart of habitats, is one of the major causes of decline in biological
diversity. Mature ecosystems, especially dense forests are very sensitive to this phenomenon and roads are one of the major causes of fragmentation in forest landscapes. Present investigation aims to trace landscape fragmentation in dense forests of Golestan national park in northeast of Iran between 1987 and 2008 by use of Landscape fragmentation tool, considering the hypothesis that presence of road in this national park is a major cause of forest fragmentation. The results of this research indicate considerable increase in deforestation, edge amount besides decrease in dense forest areas and conversion of large core areas to small and isolated patches,
which can be interpreted as increase in fragmentation and less connectivity. This phenomenon can be easily traced near the existing road in Golestan national park, where edges have evolved from simple and curve lines to more complex shapes having elongated boundaries which is a sign of being influenced by anthropogenic factors.