Iran - Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change in Dena Biosphere Reserve

Dena Biosphere Reserve, located in Western Iran, is the 10th registered biosphere reserve of the country. The biosphere reserve’s territory spreads over the three provinces Isfahan, Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad and Charmahal-Bakhtiary and includes some 255,537 hectares of Central Zagros Mountain. It contains significant biodiversity and hosts a vast range of higher plants and several endangered and endemic animal species. In addition, for thousands of years, the Dena Mountains have been a place for different tribes, leading to a significant cultural biodiversity. Currently, wildlife as well as vital ecosystem services of the BR are at risk due to a combination of issues. This situation is made even more difficult by the effects of climate change. Land-use and livelihoods are very complex and ignoring to engage all the stakeholders (including local communities) has led to intensified degradation and complex conflicts within the biosphere reserve considering that often these local communities have to rely on the nature for their subsistence.


To this end, the “Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change in Dena Biosphere Reserve; Piloting Participatory Land Use Planning in Kohgilouyeh Boyerahmad region” is developed to bring more sustainability to this biosphere reserve through applying an approach where conservation and climate adaptation action are stipulated at the level of village people. This project aims to enhance the capacity of community members in six villages to understand climate change and sustainable water & land use through direct training and elaborated local land use plans that will potentially lead to more sustainable land use (with less overgrazing, less forest degradation and less unsustainable water use) and adapted to potential climate change. These experiences potentially lead to influence the overall management plan of Dena BR and improve management of the BR as a whole.


During this one year project the activities include holding series of workshops each in six communities to increase their capacities concerning ‘sustainable natural resource use’ and ‘climate change adaptation’ especially for women and young people but also for the rangers of DENA BR, developing local land use plans through a moderated participatory way and establishment and empowerment of community-based organizations (CBOs) in the target villages. The training also suggests alternatives to current, unsustainable land use approaches. Then, the results of working with local communities and the lessons learned together with suggestions to improve the overall DENA BR management plan will be submitted to the MAB committee and to DoE by the end of February 2017.


As the first step of this project, two back-to-back workshops - inception workshop and climate vulnerability assessment- were held in Yasuj, Iran from 11- 13 April. They were complemented by a field-trip to the Dena mountains. As a result, stakeholders gained a joint understanding of the goals of the project, the current man-made threats to the area and how climate change intensifies these threats.


The project is financed by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through GIZ and is implemented by Michael Succow Foundation (MSF) and Payeshgaran Mohitezist Association (PAMA).


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Morvarid Kamali, email: morvarid.kamali(at)