Fatemeh Babazekri, Mehdi Nooripoor, Zeinab Sharifi,
Volume 3, Issue 2 (3-2017)
Background and objectives: Forests and rangelands are the most important natural resources of a country. In addition, they have a special position in the ecosystem of the earth, and, thus, they play an essential role in soil conservation as well as climate moderation. However, serious and, sometimes irreparable, damage has been ocuured by both natural and man-made factors. One of the areas where degradation of rangelands and forests could clearly be recognized over the past years is the central District of the Dena County. Therefore, the purpose of the current study was to identify and analyze factors affecting the degradation of rangelands and forests in the central District of Dena County.
Materials and methods: A mixed research method including qualitative and quantitative methods was used in two phases, using interview and questionnaire as instruments. In the first phase of the study, the population comprised the villagers and officers of the Department of Agriculture, Dena County and also the Provincial Department of Natural Resources in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province. In the second phase, the population consisted of the academic faculty members of local universities who were native and were familiar with the region. Snowball sampling technique was adopted in both phases of the study.
Results: Factors affecting the degradation of rangelands and forests were identified in the first phase of the study. These factors comprised organizational factors (monitoring, supportive and administrative), infrastructural, socio-cultural, legal, economic and natural factors. Following that, in the second phase of the study, the participants were asked to rank the factors identified based on AHP procedure principles. The results showed that lack of grazing management in monitoring factors, less governmental support for natural resources in supportive factors, administrative corruption in administrative factors, road construction in infrastructural factors, poor cultural patterns in socio-cultural factors, lack of appropriate legal actions when faced with illegal possession in legal factors, rural poverty in economic factors, and finally drought in natural factors were the most important factors contributing to the problem of degradation.
Conclusion: Finally, out of the recommendations made to prevent the degradation of forests and rangelands, one can mention the employment of native people to improve the management of rangelands and forests in areas of guarding and conservation affairs of natural resources. In addition, for the purpose of constructing roads, building power plants, etc. it is necessary to seek the expert advice of engineers with expertise in road construction, civil engineering and rural development.