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The Conservation of Biodiversity in Iran: Threats, Challenges and Hopes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2022

Houman Jowkar
Department of Environment, Tehran
Stéphane Ostrowski
Wildlife Conservation Society
Morad Tahbaz
Persian Wildlife Foundation in the United States
Peter Zahler
Asia Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society


Because of its diverse geological formations, climates, and soils, Iran is home to outstanding biodiversity. National conservation started in Iran over fifty years ago and today nearly 10 percent of the country is protected. However, biodiversity in Iran is threatened, with about 100 species of vertebrate fauna vulnerable or endangered. Increased population and human activity, climate change, drought, desertification, agriculture, poaching, and economic sanctions have helped create this crisis. Many of these causes can be mitigated through better planning, sustainable policies, and increased civil society and local engagement. Promoting awareness about the impacts of human practices will also be important for the long-term sustainability of Iran’s ecosystems. Iranian conservation NGOs have already taken an active role in preserving biodiversity.

Copyright © Association For Iranian Studies, Inc 2016

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In Iran the Wildlife Conservation Society has been working as an advisory organization to the Asiatic Cheetah Conservation Project since 2000. This commitment would not have been possible without the sustained and welcoming support of the Department of Environment of the Islamic Republic of Iran and administrative authorizations from the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury of the United States of America. At the United Nations Development Program, country resident representatives and Mr. Mehdi Kamyab have been dedicated and efficient promoters of this collaboration since the beginning of the project. Finally, WCS work in Iran would not be possible without the sustained and generous support of the Flora Family Foundation and Dr. Amir Farman-Farma. This paper is dedicated to Mr. Eskandar Firouz.


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