Analyzing Effective Factors on Rangeland Exploitation by Using A'WOT (Case Study: Aq Qala Rangelands, Golestan, Iran)

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article


Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Gorgan


Rangelands are known as one of the main income resources for their exploiters.
In the recent century, management of Iran rangeland has undergone vast transformations
because of vulnerable socio-economic conditions of pastoralists. A study was done to
provide a clear picture of the status and utilization of Aq Qala rangelands via assessing
internal and external environmental factors affecting the utilization of rangelands. Thus a
SWOT was adopted to identify and assess the positive and negative factors in internal and
external environments. Data were collected through free and brainstorming interviews with
an emphasis on the knowledge and experience of rangelands’ exploiters. After content
analyzing of primary collected data, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and spectral
questionnaires were respectively used for range management technicians and exploiters to
quantify gathered qualitative information. Based on the results, priority of the main factors
of SWOT related to the rangelands utilization was respectively identified for opportunities,
threats, weaknesses, and strengths. The results revealed that chance of income extension
from livestock productions (weight= 0.102) had the first priority in the opportunities
section. In the threats section, drought and its consequences in rangeland exploitations
(0.095) had the highest threats from pastoralists and technicians views. Lack of water
resources and their uneven distribution (0.028) and the importance of rangelands and their
exploitation in the livelihood and economy (0.022) were respectively the main factors in
the strengths and weaknesses sections.


Ananda, J., Herath, G., 2003. The use of analytic hierarchy process to incorporate stakeholder preferences into regional forest planning. Forest Policy and Economics, 5: 13–26.

Arzani, H., Mahdavi, S. K., Nikkhah, A. and Azarnivand, H., 2007. Determination of animal unit weight and animal unit requirement of Dalagh breed (Case Study: Aq Qala Region). Iranian Jour. Range and Desert Research, 13(3): 236-247. (In Persian).

Barani, H., 2004. Reckoning an analyzing of custom orders in order to range management unites. The 3th international congress of range and range management, Tehran, Iran, 283-288 p. (In Persian).

Brooks, M. L., Matchett, J. R., Berry, K. H., 2006. Effects of livestock watering sites on alien and native plants in the Mojave Desert, USA. Jour. Arid Environments, 67: 125-147.

Bruce, J. and Mearns, R., 2002. Natural Resource Management and Land Policy in Developing Countries. Lessons learned and New Challenges for the World Bank, London, IIED, 115 p.

Chambers, R. and Conway, G. R., 1992. Sustainable Rural Livelihood: Practical Concepts for the 21st Century, No. IDS Discussion, 296 p.

Cochran, W. G., 1977. Sampling techniques. 3nd edition, Whley and Sons, USA, 428 p.

Coppock, D. L., 1993. The Borana Plateau of southern Ethiopia: Synthesis of Pastoral Research Development and Change, 1980-91. Addis Ababa: International Livestock Center for Africa, 374 p.

Fernandez-Gimenez, M. E. and Le Febre, S., 2006. Mobility in pastoral systems: dynamic flux or downward trend? International Jour. Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 13(5): 341-362.

Guy, B., 2006. People, land and water: participatory development communication for natural resource management, Earth Scan, 313 p.

Heydari, Q., 2010. Factors influencing the participation of pastoralists in implementation of range management projects (case study: In Baledeh summer rangeland, Mazandaran province), Ph.D thesis, University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Gorgan, Iran. (In Persian).

Ho, W., 2008. Integrated analytic hierarchy process and its applications – A literature review. European Jour. Operational Research, 186: 211–228.


Janssen, M. A., Walker, B. H., Langridge, J., Abel, N., 2000. An adaptive agent model for analyzing co-evolution of management and policies in a complex rangeland system. Ecological Modelling, 131: 249–268.

Kahraman, C., Demirel, N. C. and Ates, N. Y., 2008. A SWOT-AHP application using fuzzy concept: Government in Turkey, Fuzzy Multi-Criteria Decision Making Book-Edited By Cengiz Kahraman, Springer Science-Business Media, 16: 85-117.

Kajanus, M., Kangas, J. and Kurttila, M., 2004. The use of value focused thinking and the A’WOT hybrid method in tourism management. Tourism Management, 25(4): 499–506.

Kangas, J., Kurtila, M., Kajanus, M. and Kangas, A., 2003. Evaluating the management strategies of a forestland estate-the S-O-S approach, Jour. Environmental Management, 69: 349-358.

King, J. M., 1983. Livestock water needs in pastoral Africa in relation to climate and forage. International Livestock Centre for Africa, ILCA Research Report, No.7: 20-22.

Kotler, P., 1988. Marketing management: Analysis, planning, implementation and control (6th ed.). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice- Hall International Edition, 776 p.

Kotzé, E., Sandhage-Hofmann, A., Meinel, J. A., du Preez, C. C. and Amelung, W., 2013. Rangeland management impacts on the properties of clayey soils along grazing gradients in the semi-arid grassland biome of South Africa. Jour. Arid Environments, 97: 220-229.

Krejcie, R. V. and Morgan, D. W., 1970. Determining sample size for research activities. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 30: 607-610.

Kurttila, M., Pesonen, M., Kangas, J., Kajanus, M., 2000. Utilizing the analytic hierarchy process AHP in SWOT analysis a hybrid method and its application to a forest-certification case. Forest Policy and Economics, 1: 41-52.

Lee, J. W. and Kim, S. H., 2000. Using analytic network process and goal programming for interdependent information system project selection. Computers and Operations Research, 27: 367-382.

Lynam, T. and Smith, M. S., 2003. Monitoring in a complex world: seeking slow variables, a scaled focus and speedier learning. African Jour. Range and Forage Science, 21: 69-78.

Nathan, F. S., 2004. Viewpoint: The Need for Qualitative Research to Understand Ranch Management. Jour. Range Management, 57: 668- 674.

Reid, R. S., Galvin, K. A. and Kruska, R. S., 2008. Global significance of extensive grazing lands and pastoral societies: an introduction. In: Galvin, K. A., Reid, R. S. J., Behnke, R.H., Hobbs, N.T. (Eds.), Fragmentation in Semi-Arid and Arid Landscapes: Consequences for Human and Natural Systems. Springer, Netherlands, 1–24.

Saaty, T. L., 1977. A scaling method for priorities in hierarchical structures. Jour. Mathematical Psychology, 15(3): 234-281.

Saaty, T. L., 1996. Decision Making with Dependence and Feedback: The Analytic Network Process, RWS Publications, Pittsburgh, 370 p.

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), 2004. Akwé: Kon Guidelines.

Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), 2010. Pastoralism, Nature Conservation and Development: A Good Practice Guid. Montreal, 46 p.

Shinno, H., Yoshioka, H., Marpaung, S. and Hachiga, S., 2006. Quantitative SWOT analysis on global competitiveness of machine tool industry. Jour. Engineering Design, 17(3): 251–258.

Shrestha, R. K., Alavalapati, J. R. R. and Kalmbacher, R. S., 2004. Exploring the potential for silvopasture adoption in south central Florida: An application of SWOT-AHP method. Agricultural Systems, 81(3): 185–199.

Steuer, R. E. and Na, P., 2003. Multiple criteria decision making combined with finance: A categorized bibliographic study. European Jour. Operational Research, 150(3): 496–515.

Vaidya, O. S., Kumar, S., 2006. Analytic hierarchy process: An overview of applications. European Jour. Operational Research, 169(1): 1–29.

Wheelen, T. L., Hunger, J. D., 1995. Strategic management and business policy. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Williams, C. A. and Albertson, J. D., 2006. Dynamical effects of the statistical structure of annual rainfall on dryland vegetation. Global Change Biology, 12(5): 777–792.

Yuksel, I. and Dagdeviren, M., 2007. Using the Analytic Network Process (ANP) in a SWOT analysis a case study for a textile firm. Information Sciences, 177: 3364-3382.

Zhang, C., Li, W. and Fan, M., 2013. Adaptation of herders to droughts and privatization of rangeland-use rights in the arid Alxa Left Banner of Inner Mongolia. Jour. Environmental Management, 126: 182-190.