The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Attitudes of rangeland holders towards sustainable range management in Iran: a case study of the Semnan rangelands

Leili Abolhassani A D , Gerhard Oesten A , Sandra Rajmis B and Hossein Azadi C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Institute of Forestry Economics, University of Freiburg, Germany.

B Institute for Ecological Economy Research, IÖW Office, Berlin, Germany.

C Department of Geography, Ghent University, Belgium.

D Corresponding author. Email: leiliabolhassani@yahoo.com

The Rangeland Journal 35(4) 435-443 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ11079
Submitted: 20 November 2011  Accepted: 24 July 2013   Published: 14 October 2013

Abstract

Rangeland depletion is a persistent problem in many developing countries and is often a result of inappropriate management activities such as overstocking, particularly in the regions of West Asia and North Africa (WANA). To convert to a sustainable system of range management, programs aimed at improving rangeland condition, such as range management or livestock development plans, which are mainly based on the range succession model, have been developed and implemented by several governments. A primary objective of these programs is to maintain stocking rates at a sustainable level. However, in many cases, rangeland users’ ignorance of socioeconomic factors has caused ineffectual implementation and thus a reduction in the effectiveness of these programs overall.

In this study, a survey was conducted on rangeland communities in central northern Iran where the livestock population is 15% above the proposed carrying capacity 20 years after the inception of the Range Management Plan (RMP). The focus of this study was to investigate reasons that the RMP has not been successful, from the perspective of the rangeland holders. The data were collected using open-ended interviews.

The data analysis indicated that the primary barriers to the successful implementation of the RMP are quite well matched with the description of the ‘diffusion of innovations’ theory. The three characteristics of the RMP innovation, including the lack of high relative advantages, incompatible structure of the RMP with the traditional rules, and lack of observability of short-term benefits from the RMP, were realised as the main barriers to the success of the RMP adoption. An additional concern for the rangeland holders was drought, which they felt was not adequately addressed or dealt with in the RMP. Lastly, the government’s failure to fulfil the initial commitments of the RMP, for instance financial supports, has resulted in a loss of confidence of rangeland holders in the enforcement agency and governmental policies.

Additional keywords: compatibility, diffusion of innovations, relative advantage, observability.


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