To understand and manage ecosystem complexity, it is important to determine the relationships between soil characteristics, human activities, and biodiversity. This study analyzes the relationships between vegetation, soil, and man-made damage with regards to land use change in the Fereydan region, Iran. Soil physical properties such as sand and silt content, clay, saturated soil’s moisture content, and gravel percentage as well as chemical properties such as lime content, pH, electro conductivity (EC), and organic matter content were measured. In order to trace these variables, the principle component analysis (PCA) was applied. The study area was divided into three states of conditions; i.e., good condition rangelands, poor condition rangelands, and abandoned rain-fed area. Based on the results there was a significant difference between species diversity in good condition rangelands compared with two other sites. The results further revealed that among soil chemical and physical characteristics, only soil organic matter had a significant difference between different rangeland sites. According to the results, the rangelands with good conditions had the highest amount of organic matter (1.43–1.50%) compared with two other studied rangelands (poor conditions: 1.02–1.09%; abandoned rain-fed: 1.2–1.46%). The most influential factor on the species diversity index was the distance to village parameter that revealed the important role of humans in degrading rangelands and reducing species diversity.
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