Sunday, April 1, 2012

Natural Protected Areas of Iran

As the final days of the Nowruz vacation are nearing, we see preparations for the 13th of Farvardin or the first 13th day of the year, traditionally called " Sizdebedar". Iranians flock out of homes to take refuge in nature. It is considered now, as the Day of Nature.  Iran harbors a very diverse and beautiful natural environment. Although I had visited many areas of the country before my tenure as the Head of The Department of Environment, but those 8 years provided me with a unique opportunity to visit some of the extraordinary attractive feats of nature in Iran. The DOE is responsible for 4 types of protected areas in Iran. As I began work in 1997, we had 4.75 percent of the land devoted to protected areas, by 2005 when I left this figure had rose to 7.5%.  This amounts to  16 National Parks, over 93 Protected areas, 24 Natural Monuments and  several Wildlife Refuges.

The DOE has about 4000 armed rangers to protect this vast landscape, but considering the large amount of arms among people and nomads and overpopulation in some regions, this number of rangers does not suffice. During those years we embarked on projects to train, educate and upgrade the facilities that rangers posses; we also worked on empowering and educating local communities and NGOs to assist in local protection activities.

We promoted certain priority areas such as the protection of wetlands and forests. During those days, more than 10% of total forest area was ruled as protected areas and a "Sustainable Forest Management" strategy was approved in the Supreme Council of the Environment. The Supreme Council, headed by the President was an important tool for promotion of protected areas in the country. Unfortunately, the Council was downgraded and annulled by Mr. Ahmadinejad during his first year as President.
The diversity of desert, forest, wetland , sea, range land, mountains and bush land , in the intersection of Eurasian and Asian climates,  has created a unique biodiversity of fauna and flora which demonstrates scenery and services not available in  other  locations. Iran is also famous for its migratory birds and for this reason is the home of the Wetlands or Ramsar Convention.

During the final months of my tenure at the DOE, we prepared the first Atlas of Protected Areas in Iran which was published a year after. The Atlas is a unique feat of professionals and academics who have produced this collection of invaluable information on Iran.
I hope that we all learn to protect and cherish the blessings of God and the superb nature that has been gifted to us .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We will see your beautiful nature after an aerial attack. Iranians are not worthy of this land.