Evaluation of Alternative Livelihoods Status in Arid and Semiarid Regions of Iran to Improve Sustainability

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article


1 Ph.D. Student of Rangeland Sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran (Corresponding Author)

2 Faculty of Rangeland Sciences, Gorgan University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran

3 Ph.D. Student of Rangeland Sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan, Iran


Abstract. From the perspectives of many environmental and conservative policy makers, improving and diversifying the livelihoods have been found as a mechanism to promote the livelihoods and persuade people to avoid the overexploitation and degradation of natural resources. Due to the fragility of the environment and inconsistency of incomes, the alternative income sources may be promised to warrant inhabitant's earnings. The noticeable example for this is arid and desert area in central and eastern Iran. This paper presents the conceptual underpinnings of this method with some examples of how innovative ways for creating livelihoods can help alleviate the pressure on marginal arid lands. Three case studies put forwarded considering activities undertaken within an integrated international project formwork called sustainable management in marginal dry lands. At first, introduction of chicken farming to farmers in Hunshundake Sand land in northern China has minimized pressure on grasslands and led to the restoration of these ecosystems. Secondly, to develop desert-based farming on the edge of Cholistan desert in Pakistan has provided a new income source for rural people. Thirdly, the development of a new income-generating activity in terms of soap production from olive in Dana Biosphere Reserve in Jordan has proved that traditional olive farming can be associated with community-based initiatives to create a market for goods and commodities. Also the conditions for introduction of similar alternative approaches to Iran are evaluated through evaluating existing socioeconomic and climatic backgrounds. Collaboration with communities for creating new and sustainable ways to reduce pressure on the land in arid and marginal desert areas can be a powerful tool to overcome poverty and struggle desertification and its resiliency.


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