Geodiversity assessments and geoconservation in the Northwest of Zagros mountain range, Iran: grid and fuzzy method analysis

Mehdi Ahmadi*, Khabat Derafshi, Davood Mokhtari, Masood Khodadadi, Esmaeil Najafi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The Northwest of the Zagros mountain range has highly diverse geomorphological and geological processes, and the geodiversity found there has given the region a great deal of beauty. High-volume lime and relatively heavy rainfall have provided a favorable condition for the development of karst features in the highlands of the Zagros mountains area including Ilam Province. Karst geomorphologic and landscape features in the study area are one of the most important geosites. Caves, gorges, canyons, karst springs, waterfalls, and natural stone bridges are the main representatives of karst resources and karst-based geodiversity potential. In the present study, geodiversity in the north of the region was assessed using qualitative–quantitative evaluation methods. The purpose of this research is to develop an efficient and novel method for evaluating geodiversity using the grid-fuzzy method, based on questionnaires and data of geomorphologic and tectonic structures. In addition to assessing geodiversity, existing hazards were also identified. Parameters such as surface coverage and climatic data were used, in order to utilize all the infrastructural, biological, geomorphological, and geological available to assess geodiversity. The results showed that 73% of the area has an intermediate to high geodiversity index, mainly in the north, and south of the region, with aesthetic geomorphological and tectonic features, and with rich soil, mineral resources, pristine vegetation, and a temperate climate. Studying the hazard map showed that most of the areas with high geodiversity index have many hazards as well, which indicates sensitivity of resources and lack of suitable management of the region. The majority of these areas are exposed to human and natural hazards, most of which are concentrated in the central and southeastern parts of the region. Due to their specific sensitivities, they can only have geomorphological equilibrium if they are used in a sustainable manner; otherwise, the whole region will become unstable, threatening the region’s geodiversity and associated biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132
Number of pages16
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2022


  • fuzzy method analysis
  • geoconservation
  • geodiversity assessments
  • grid method analysis
  • Zagros


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