Ecosystem management best way to protect forests: expert

September 30, 2019

TEHRAN – Ecosystem management is the best way to protect forests, land, water and biological resources, Ahmad Nouhegar, University of Tehran faculty member, has said.

Ecosystem management is a process that aims to conserve major ecological services and restore natural resources while meeting the socioeconomic, political, and cultural needs of current and future generations.

The principal objective of ecosystem management is the efficient maintenance and ethical use of natural resources, which is a multifaceted and holistic approach that requires a significant change in how the natural and human environments are identified.

Several approaches to effective ecosystem management engage conservation efforts at both local and landscape levels and involves adaptive management, natural resource management, strategic management, command and control management.

“This type of management is the way to sustainability and fair use of nature,” Nouhegar noted, ISNA news agency reported on Monday.

“In ecosystem management, people and their lives are the most important factors in decision making,” he said, adding that using ecosystem management to preserve the ecosystem leads to increased quality of life.

“This is what makes it different from the traditional perspective.”

The destruction of only a forest bush can have devastating effects, so the disappearance of vegetation or wildlife can result in human disappearance which cannot be renewed. To do so, creative plans and functions are needed to protect the forests, he explained.

He went on to say that the Hyrcanian forests have been finally designated as a World Heritage site by UNESCO, it however requires further efforts to preserve the valuable heritage for future generations. 

“This protection requires a new stronger tool and database. People are the main beneficiaries and need to be trained with a new forest conservation method because education and proper behavior can lead to forest development and conservation,” Nouhegar stressed.

Referring to the wildfires haunting the precious forests like Arasbaran, he emphasized that “We inevitably have to technological advances to protect forests and natural resources against natural or man-caused accidents such as fires.”

Massive wildfire swept through protected areas of northwestern Arasbaran forests on August 20, which was burning the forest for over a week.

“There is no need neither for walls to protect the forest nor for building a fence. The only protection way is to use applied research.”

Referring to the destruction of more than 2 million hectares of forests over the last half of the century, he said that water and soil are the main capital for a country, one of the best ways to protect them is respecting the forest and nature.

Reza Bayani, an official with Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, said in April that approximately 12,000 hectares of forests across Iran is wiped out annually.

Referring to illegal logging as the leading cause of forest degradation, Bayani noted that timber smuggling steadily proceeding in the forests poses a serious threat to the country’s ecology for a minor population benefits.

Yousefali Ebrahimpour, commander of the protection unit of natural resources and watershed management department of West Azarbaijan province, said in February that over 450 tons of smuggled log has been seized in the forests in the province, which were being smuggled to the northern provinces of the country.

According to climateandweather.net, forests store up to 100 times more carbon than agricultural fields of the same area, it is estimated that more than 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide are released to the atmosphere due to deforestation, mainly the cutting and burning of forests, every year.

Over 30 million acres of forests and woodlands are lost every year due to deforestation.

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