Satellite image – Shadegan, Iran

The Shadegan wetlands of south-west Iran cover about 400,000 hectares, making this the largest wetland area in the country. The wetlands are composed of a system of ponds, shallow lagoons and marshes, some of which form drainage patterns that resemble tree branches extending from cerulean stems.

Located in a fertile crescent of Iran, the Shadegan wetlands are surrounded by date palm orchards famed for their sweet dates, livestock farms and sugar plantations. Shadegan is also known for its biodiversity; the Shadegan Wildlife Refuge provides sanctuary to animals such as the marbled teal, a diving duck classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.