Small-scale Forestry

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 107–121 | Cite as

The Impact of National Policies on Traditional Community Forestry: Forest Proprietorship and Management in Chetan Community, Mazandran, Iran

  • Taghi ShamekhiEmail author
  • Mohammad Avatefi Hemmat
Research Paper


This paper traces the evolution of forest management around Chetan village in the northern part of the Elburz Mountains of north Iran, an area of broadleaved temperate forest in the Caspian region, during three distinct time periods. Since the 18th century the forest, pasture and agricultural land were administered under common rights, with a clear financial relationship between descendants of the dominant family and other families, until the constitutional revolution of 1906. Some decades of instability preceded establishment of various regulated and non-regulated orders by new powers. Finally, the Forest Nationalization Law 1963 established new institutions that continue today with some small variations, the government now being the main policy and decision-maker. The paper highlights the differences between the three periods; the third one expresses the impact of national policy on forest proprietorship and management at the village level and the interruption of traditional and transitional processes of management.


Caspian forest Endowment Historical context New institutions Land tenure Hyrcanian forest Local scale 



The authors are grateful to Dr. Steve Harrison for his patience, valuable comments and helpful suggestions that improved the draft very much; they acknowledge also two referees for their wise advice. Also they will never forget the kindness and hospitability of Chetan villagers.


  1. Adib Hajbagheri M, Parvizi S, Salsali M (2006) Qualitative research. Boshra Publications, Tehran in PersianGoogle Scholar
  2. Amid MJ (2002) Agriculture, poverty and reform in Iran, translated to Persian by Amininejad SR. Nashreney Publications, Tehran in PersianGoogle Scholar
  3. Amirnejad H, Khalilian S, Assareh MH, Ahmadian M (2006) Estimating the existence value of north forests of Iran by using a contingent valuation method. Ecol Econ 58:665–675Google Scholar
  4. Avatefi Hemmat M (2006) Investigation on rural people’s knowledge about their natural resources surrounding (case study Chetan). Thesis submitted to the graduate studies office in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in forestry, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  5. Avatefi Hemmat M, Shamekhi T (2006) Traditional knowledge and techniques of forest villagers in utilization of some non-wood forest products (case study in Chetan village). Q J Soc Sci 34–35:149–174 (in Persian)Google Scholar
  6. Azkia M (1995) An introduction to sociology of rural development, Etelaat, 4th edn, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  7. Azkia M, Darbane-Astane A (2003) Applied methods of research. Keyhan Publication, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  8. Berkes F (1993) Traditional ecological knowledge in perspective. In: Inglis J (ed) Traditional ecological knowledge, concept and cases. International program on traditional ecological knowledge and International Development Research Center, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  9. Elbakidze M, Angelstam P (2007) Implementing sustainable forest management in Ukraine’s Carpathian Mountains: the role of traditional village systems. For Ecol Manag 249(1–2):28–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations (2006) Global forest resources assessment 2005: progress towards sustainable forest management, FAO forestry paper 147, RomeGoogle Scholar
  11. Forest and Rangeland Organization (1993) A collection of laws and regulations. Legal Office, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  12. Javanshir K (1999) History of natural resource sciences of Iran. Agricultural Research, Education and Extention Organization Publications, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  13. Johann E (2007) Traditional forest management under the influence of science and industry: the story of the alpine cultural landscapes. For Ecol Manag 249(1–2):54–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kaschula SA, Twine WE, Scholes MC (2005) Coppice harvesting of fuelwood species on a South African common: utilizing scientific and indigenous knowledge in community based natural resource management. Hum Ecol 33(3):387–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kasravi A (1977) The history of constitutional system of Iran. Amir Kabir, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  16. Lahsaeizadeh A (1990) Social movements in the villages of Iran. Navid, Shiraz (in Persian)Google Scholar
  17. Lambton AKS (1998) Landlord and peasant in Persia; a study of land tenure and land revenue administration, translated to Persian by Manoochehr Amiri, Elmi va Farhangi corporation, 4th edn, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  18. Marey-Perez MF, Rodrıguez-Vicente V (2008) Forest transition in Northern Spain: local responses on large-scale programmes of field-afforestation. Land Use Policy. doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol, accessed 2 Feb 2008
  19. Marvie Mohajer MR (2005) Silviculture. Tehran University Publications, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  20. Ministry of Justice (1951) Court of Tonekabon decree, copy of written judgment no 266, Unpublished, Tonekabon, IranGoogle Scholar
  21. Moller H, Berkes F, Lyver PO, Kislalioglu M (2004) Combining science and traditional ecological knowledge: monitoring populations for co-management. Ecol Soc 9(3):2 [online] URL, published 16 July 2004Google Scholar
  22. Muhammed N, Koike M, Haque F (2008) Forest policy and sustainable forest management in Bangladesh: an analysis from national and international perspectives. New Forests 36(2):201–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Organization of Plan and Budget (1994) The law of second economic, social and cultural plan of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  24. Ramakrishnan PS (2007) Traditional forest knowledge and sustainable forestry: a north–east India perspective. For Ecol Manag 249(1–2):91–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rostami Atuei A (1991) Investigation on temporal, spatial, and conventional situations of herders of first district of Neka. Thesis submitted to the graduate studies office in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in forestry, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  26. Sagheb-Talebi K, Sajedi T, Yazdian F (2004) Forests of Iran. Research Institute of Forests and Rangelands, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  27. Scotti R, Cadoni M (2007) A historical analysis of traditional common forest planning and management in Seneghe, Sardinia—lessons for sustainable development. For Ecol Manag 249(1–2):116–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shamekhi T (2004) Caspian forest and grazing: an assessment of the current situation. In: Buttond G, Solberg B, Tikhanen L, Pajari B (eds) The evaluation of forest policies and programes, EFI proceeding no. 52. European forest institute, JoensuuGoogle Scholar
  29. Silverman D (2002) Qualitative methodology and sociology, translated to Persian by M. Salasi. Tebyan publications, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  30. Sineka Family (1704) Vaghfname, Copy of endowment manuscript obtained from one of the members of Sinaka family in Chetan, UnpublishedGoogle Scholar
  31. Soltani Largani M (2006) Public culture of Largan. Arvan Publications, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  32. Spradley J, McCurdy D (1993) The cultural experience: ethnography in complex society, translated to Persian by B. Mohammadi. Institute of Cultural Study Publication, TehranGoogle Scholar
  33. Statistical center of Iran (2006) Reports of house and population census, accessible at:
  34. Strauss A, Corbin J (1998) Basics of qualitative research: techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Sage Publications, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  35. Taleb M (1997) Rural management in Iran, 2nd edn. Tehran University Publications, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  36. Usefineya A, Vaez-Tonekaboni A (2001) A glossary of names and famous person of west Mazandaran: Ramsar, Tonekabon, Lenga, Chaloos, Kojoor and Kalardasht. Kiana Publications, Tehran (in Persian)Google Scholar
  37. Varghese J, Krogman NT, Beckley TM, Nadeau S (2006) Critical analysis of the relationship between local ownership and community resiliency. Rural Sociol 71(3):505–527CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Steve Harrison, John Herbohn 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forestry, Faculty of Natural ResourcesUniversity of TehranKaradjIran

Personalised recommendations