‘Integrated protected area development to strengthen participatory management, climate change adaptation and environmental education in the Islamic Republic of Iran’


The impending project aims to provide and establish a model towards integrated protected area management in Iran. The overarching goal is to enhance the proximity of the Iranian protected areas to the international management standards through incorporating climate change adaptation and promoting educational and communicational functions particularly in a pilot site (Ghamishlou National Park). The involvement of local communities, over and above, in the conservation and management activities as well as the creation of economic incentives will potentially reduce land use conflicts and promote regional development.


Iranian biodiversity, habitats and wildlife are under heavy pressure, especially due to intensive resource use and population growth. Lack of environmental and conservation awareness and above all climate change are leading to significant stress on natural ecosystems. On the other hand, the designation of most of the protected areas as hunting reserves (1953-1975) and excluding people along with the associated changes in the structure of use, have caused an extremely low acceptance among the local communities and frequent conflicts between traditional rights over land and nature conservation. A conventional approach, dividing man and nature, still corresponds with the protected area policy in Iran but there are efforts to enhance and update the policy. The Government of Iran (Department of Environment; DoE) has recognized the management challenges of the protected areas and is pushing for enhanced functioning involving civil society actors.


Ghamishlou National Park, located in the center of Iran in Isfahan province, is rich in plant and animal biodiversity and is of great importance for the protection of genetic reserves in steppes. This area that is among the oldest game reserves in Iran with about 150 years of protection, was designed as protected area in 1964, later updated as a wildlife refuge and finally, in 2007, an area of 29,886 ha was upgraded to the national park.


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The establishment of a National Park Visitor and Information Center through restoration of a
historical castle from the Qajar era supports the educational and communicational function of
the protected area. 

This project will be implemented by the Michael Succow Foundation in cooperation with the FINC Foundation and the Iranian National Environmental Fund as well the Iranian Department of Environment. This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.’



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