Volume 10, Issue 36 (summer 2021 2021)                   Serd 2021, 10(36): 213-234 | Back to browse issues page

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Ghobadi L, Moameri M. Factors affecting on rangelands degradation among ranchers in Namin County's rural areas. Serd. 2021; 10 (36) :213-234
URL: http://serd.khu.ac.ir/article-1-3703-en.html
1- M.Sc student in range management, University of Mohaghegh Ardabili, Ardabil, Iran
2- Associate professor in rangeland Science, University of Mohaghegh Ardabibli, Ardabil, Iran , moameri@uma.ac.ir
Abstract:   (687 Views)
Rangelands are lands covered mostly with indigenous vegetation such as grasses, grass-like plants, forbs, or shrubs, which are managed as a natural ecosystem. They are one of the most fundamental natural ecosystems in the world, and they play an important role in protein production and the ecosystem balance. Rangelands are largely used as a feed source for livestock. However, they provide other secondary resources such as firewood, wild edibles, medicinal plants, and water.
Today, one of the most serious and recent difficulties facing development initiatives is the degradation of natural resources (rangeland ecosystems are included) and their excessive use. Reduced forage production, less plant cover, soil degradation and erosion, water loss and increased rate of runoff and flood, loss of biodiversity, decreasing small ruminant productivity, increased invasive plants, and reduction of ecotourism areas are all consequences of quantitative and qualitative rangeland degradation. In recent decades, confronting the causes of forest and rangeland degradation and attempting to restore these resources has become a fundamental and necessary step toward sustainable development. Given that the vast area of forests and rangelands, and the high labor requirement for conserving and restoring these resources, it appears that stakeholder participation is the most effective strategy to develop these resources. Namin county in Ardabil Province contains a large area of​​ rangeland, which is the most important source of income for rural communities in the region. In other words, livestock husbandry in rangelands is one of the main activities of the local people, who rely on rangeland for forage. However, in recent years, the region's rangelands have been damaged for various reasons resulting in a reduction rangelands area. As a result, it appears that the reasons of rangeland ecosystems degradation should be identified in order to support rangeland ecosystems and reduce their degradation. So, the main purpose of this research is to investigate the economic and social factors affecting the rangelands degradation in Namin County's rural areas.
The research was conducted in Namin County's rural areas (including - Saqsloo, Aghzamankandi and Tifiyeh). The county of Namin is located in mountainous areas with an average elevation of 1700 meters above sea-level.
The research method is descriptive using survey and analysis.  In the three villages of Saqsloo, Aghzamankandi, and Tifiyeh, the statistical community for this study was 1279 individuals, with 326 beneficiaries. A questionnaire was used as the research tool in this study, and 21 beneficiaries (households) were interviewed using stratified random sampling. The validity of the questionnaire was assessed based on expert opinions, and its reliability was determined using Cronbach's alpha coefficient test.
A questionnaire was created based on three indicators: social factors affecting rangeland degradation with 13 questions (S1, S2, S3, … S13), economic factors with 10 questions (E1, E2, E3, … E10) and other effective factors with 10 questions (O1, O2, O3, … O10). Furthermore, each question was graded on a five-point Likert- scale. Based on accessibility, cost and the researchers’ capacity, the total number of the questionnaire in each village was selected according to about 5 to10 percent of the total number of the households (preferably heads of households). In the target villages, questionnaires were filled out through face-to-face visits, observation, and interviews.
The sample size for each village was then determined based on the number of households. As a result, in the village of Saqsloo, Aghzamankandi, and Tifiyeh 11, 4 and 6 questionnaires were completed, respectively. Data were analyzed using SPSS software Ver.22.
Discussion and Conclusion
The results revealed that economic factors such as insufficient annual income and social factors such as a lack of essential training and extension courses, limited participation of beneficiaries in rangeland project implementation, and a lack of proper management and sense of responsibility are the most effective factors in rangeland degradation. Rangeland degradation was primarily influenced by the quantity of beneficiaries and the technique of exploitation. In addition, the number of livestock and living expenses, as well as the economic position of rangeland beneficiaries in the community are important determinants. According to the results, the level of knowledge and awareness, improving the situation, income and livelihood, the effectiveness of training courses, and the participation of stakeholders and local organizations all had an impact on rangeland degradation. Therefore, because the villagers are in need of rangelands to supply fodder for their livestock, it is possible to reduce rangeland degradation by assigning rangeland management plans and projects of improving rangelands to stakeholders by following the laws and implementing planned management. In general, Department of Natural Resources and Watershed Management of Ardabil Province can act to reduce rangeland degradation of Namin County's rural areas by devolution of the implementation of rangeland management, improvement, and development projects to beneficiaries, involving beneficiaries in planning and implementation of projects, providing loan facilities to them, holding training and promotion courses by experienced natural resources experts to increase ranchers’ knowledge.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2021/08/21 | Accepted: 2021/08/1

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