Identifying and explaining the effects of drought in rural areas in Iran from viewpoints of farmers (Case Study: Esfejin village, Zanjan county)

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Associate Professor of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zanjan, Iran

2 PhD Student Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Tarbiat Modares University- Iran

3 Assistant Professor of Agricultural Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zanjan, Iran


     The main purpose of this study was to identify and explain the effects of drought in rural areas of Iran. The statis­tical population of this study consisted of all the heads of households of Esfejin village in Zanjan County (N = 2932). A sample of 340 persons was selected using a method of simple random sampling. Data were collected from face-to-face interviews with respondents based on a structured questionnaire. A pilot study was conducted to establish reliability of the questionnaire. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was used for the main scale of questionnaire, which scored more than 0.75, confirming its appropriate reliability. The results revealed that four factors can be considered as important for identifying and explaining the effects of drought in Esfejin village and these factors were economic, environmental, social and psychological. The findings of this study contribute to a better understanding of the effects of drought in rural areas and can be implemented in future planning of proper programs to overcome these effects.


American Meteorological Society, 2004. Statement on meteorological drought. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 85; 771-773.

Ashok, K., A. Mishra, P. Vijay, B. Singh, 2010. A review of drought concepts. Journal of Hydrology, 391; 202-216.

Barlow, M., H. Cullen, B. Lyon, 2002. Drought in central and Southwest Asia: LaNiña, the warm pool, and Indian ocean precipitation. Journal of Climate, 15; 697-700.

Bates, B.C., Z.W. Kundzewicz, S. Wu, J.P. Palutikof, 2008. Climate change and water. Technical Paper, International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Secretariat, Geneva.

Boulton, A.J., P.S. Lake, 2008. Effects of drought on stream insects and its ecological consequences. In Lancaster J., Briers R.A., editors. Aquatic insects: Challenges to populations. UK: CAB International Press; pp. 132-142.

Carrao, H., M. Russo, G. Sepulcre-Canto, P. Barbosa, 2016. An empirical standardized soil moisture index for agricultural drought assessment from remotely sensed data. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoformation, 48; 74-84.

Dai, A., 2011. Drought under global warming: A review. Wiley Interdiscip. Rev. Clim. Chang., 2; 45-65.

Darvishi A., S. Arkhi, A. Ebrahimi, 2008. Risk and disaster management to mitigate the effects of droughts in Iran. In Proceeding of the Conference on Drought in Charmahal-Bakhtiari, Shahrekord, The University of Shahrekord, 22-23 August, pp.1-10.

Food and Agriculture Organization, 1983. Guidelines: Land evaluation for rain-fed agriculture. FAO Press, Rome.

Gay, L.R., 1981. Educational research: Competencies for analysis and application. Merrill Publishing Co., USA.

Ghayor, H., 1996. Magnitude, scope and frequency of drought in Iran. Journal of Geographic Research, 26(45); 25-39.

Golian, S., O. Mazdiyasni, A. AghaKouchak, 2015. Trends in meteorological and agricultural droughts in Iran. Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 119(3); 679-688.

Gray, C., V. Mueller, 2011. Drought and population mobility in rural Ethiopia. Journal of World Development, 40(1); 134-145.

Gumbel, E.J., 1963. Statistical forecast of droughts. Bull. Int. Assoc. Sci. Hydrol., 8(1); 5-23.

Hasheminai, M., 2005. Water management in agriculture. University of Ferdowsi Press, Mashhad.

Hewitt, K., 1997. Regions at risk: A geographical introduction to disasters. Addison-Wesley Longman Press, UK.

Hoerling, M., A. Kumar, 2003. The perfect ocean for drought. Science, 299; 691-694.

Huang, C., Y. Chen, K. Li, 2000. The impacts of drought in China: Recent experiences. In: Wilhite, D.A., editors. Drought: A global assessment. London: Routledge Press; pp. 421-438.

IFAS, 2008. What is drought? The disaster handbook. University of Florida Press, USA.

Kenny, P., 2008. Assessment of the social impacts of drought and related government and non-government social support services. Issues Paper, Drought Policy Review Expert Social Panel, pp. 1-14.

Keshavarz, M., E. Karami, 2008. Effective components on farmers’ drought management and its consequences: Use structural equation model. Journal of Agriculture and Natural Resources Science and Technology, 12(43); 267-283.

Keshavarz, M., E. Karami, 2016. Farmers' pro-environmental behavior under drought: Application of protection motivation theory. Journal of Arid Environments, 127; 128-136.

Kordavani, P. 2001. Drought and ways to cope with it in Iran. Tehran University Press, Tehran.

Krejcie, R.V., D.W. Morgan, 1970. Determining sample size for research activities. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 30(2); 607-10.

Lambers, H., F. Chapin, T. Pons, 2008. Plant water relations. Springer Press, USA.

Lei, T., J. Wu, X. Li, G. Geng, C. Shao, H. Zhou, Q. Wang, L. Liu, 2015. A new framework for evaluating the impacts of drought on net primary productivity of grassland. Science of the Total Environment, 536; 161-172.

Linsely Jr., R.K., Kohler, M.A., Paulhus, 1959. Applied hydrology. McGraw Hill Press, New York.

Mansouri, B., 2003. Impact of drought on main macroeconomic variables: An empirical examination of the Moroccan Case. In Proceeding of 5th International Conference on the Economics and Finance of the Middle East and North Africa, Lebanese American University, 11-12 March, pp. 1-12. 

Meteorological Office, 2010. Meteorological reports in 2009.  Meteorological Office of Zanjan Province. Report number: 2, 108 p.

Mishra, A., V. Desai, 2009. Drought forecasting using stochastic models. Stoch Environ Res Risk Assess, 19; 326-339.

Mishra, A.K., V.P. Singh, V.R. Desai, 2009. Drought characterization: A probabilistic approach. Stoch. Environmental Research Risk, 23(1); 41-55.

Nazemosadat, M., A. Ghasemi, 2004. Quantifying the ENSO-related shifts in the intensity and probability of drought and wet periods in Iran. J Clim., 17; 4005-4018.

Nicholas, R., P.S. Bond, Lake, H. Arthington, 2008. The impacts of drought on freshwater ecosystems: An Australian perspective. Journal of Hydrobiology, 600; 3-16

Obasi, G.O., 1994. WMO’s role in the international decade for natural disaster reduction. Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 75(9); 1655-1661.

Palmer, W.C., 1965. Meteorological drought. US Department of Commerce, Weather Bureau. Research: 45, 67 p.

Salami, H., N. Shahnooshi, K. Thomson 2009. The economic impacts of drought on the economy of Iran: An integration of linear programming and macro-econometric modeling approaches. Journal of Ecological Economics, 68; 1032-1039.

Schneider, S.H., 1996. Encyclopedia of climate and weather. Oxford University Press, UK.

Shahnooshi, N., 2004. Economic effects of drought on the agricultural sector and economy of Iran: A macro-econometric analysis. Ph.D. thesis, Agricultural Development and Economics Dep., University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

Solomon, S., 2007. Climate change 2007-The Physical science basis. Cambridge University. Report number: 4, 88 p.

UN Secretariat General, 1994. United Nations convention to combat drought and desertification in countries experiencing serious droughts and/or desertification, Particularly in Africa. UN Press, New York.

Walker, M., A. Thers, 1996. Drought as a natural hazard. Drought: A Global Assessment, 1(5); 3-18.

Wang, Y., Y. Hao, X, Cui, H. Zhao, C. Xu, X. Zhou, 2014. Responses of soil respiration and its components to drought stress. J. Soils Sediments, 14; 99-109.

Wilhite, D.A., 1992. Preparing for drought: A guidebook for developing countries. Climate Unit Press, United Nations Environment Program, Kenya.

Wilhite, D.A., 2000. Drought as a natural hazard: Concepts and definitions. Drought: A Global Assessment, 2(3); 58-71.

Wilhite, D.A., 2000. Drought. Drought: A Global Assessment, 1(2); 429-448.

Wilhite, D.A., M. Glantz, 1987. Understanding the drought phenomena: The role of definitions. Planning of Drought: Towards a Reduction of Societal Vulnerability, 12; 11-27.

World Meteorological Organization, 1975. Drought and agriculture. WMO, Geneva, Switzerland. Report number: 138, 114 p. 

Yevjevich, V., 1967. An objective approach to definitions and investigations of continental hydrologic drought. Hydrology, 23; 1-18.