Assessment of road impact on health indices of steppe and semi-steppe rangelands.
In recent decades, roads construction has become a worldwide major challenge for natural ecosystems health. Therefore, the impact of road on rangeland health indexes in two steppe and semi steppe zones along Kerman-Taft road was investigated. 17 rangeland health indicators were evaluated on roadsides and reference areas. Soil and habitat stability, hydrologic function, and biotic integrity were estimated using rangeland health indicators. The results indicated that in the steppe region, all three features are in a rather acute state, while in the semi-steppe area, stability, soil and habitat characteristics and hydrological functions are in a balanced state and the health of living organisms is in relatively acute condition. The results of Wilcox test also showed that there are significant differences between roadside rangelands and reference areas in terms of production, invasive species and structural-functional groups in semi-steppe rangelands (p < 0.05). In steppe area, roadside rangelands with reference rangelands had significant differences either mentioned indexes or in bare soil and gully erosion indexes (p <0.01). In addition to vegetation, soil has also affected by road damage in the steppe area, which is a priority in future restoration and restoration plans.