Ecosystem Management Approach at Center of Biodiversity Conservation Project

04 Jun 2013

The Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project co-organizes a workshop on the introduction of ecosystem approaches and their application in integrated management of wetland areas.

About half of global wetlands have become dried up and damaged in the past decade © Abas Aleyasin

Containing a high level of biodiversity, wetlands are considered the most productive ecosystems in the world after rain forests.  However, as world population increases wetlands have come under pressure – both directly and indirectly.

As a result of unsustainable development and unwise use of resources, about 50 per cent of global wetlands have either dried up or have seen their ecosystems damaged over the past decade.

One of the goals of the United Nations has been to protect and sustain the environment and conserve biodiversity – including wetlands.

In Iran, UNDP has supported the government to protect its wetland areas.  In 2005, UNDP and the Iranian government launched a joint project, titled “The Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project”.  This initiative has built on earlier lessons learned in managing Iran’s Wetland Protected Areas.

There are now 272 protected areas in Iran.  They encompass an area greater than ten per cent of the total surface of the country. UNDP’s project provides the necessary support and knowledge for the Iranian government to systematically lessen and remove threats to important biodiversity of national wetlands by demonstrating sustainable ecosystem approaches in three pilot wetlands: Lake Urmia, Lake Parishan and the Shadegan wetlands.

 


Map of project sites

With the end of the first phase of the project in 2012, the second 18-month phase began with the expansion of the original three wetlands zones (listed above) to another eight sites. In this phase, one of UNDP’s activities is to promote a globally accredited ecosystem management approach to be applied by the Department of Environment, NGOs, stakeholders, academics and other related groups.

In line with this, the project – in partnership with the Water Engineering Research Institute of Tarbiat Modarres University – co-organized a workshop on 27 May 2013, on the introduction of ecosystem approaches and their application in integrated management of wetland areas.


The workshop was held at Tarbiat Modarres University on 27 May, 2013 with about 30 academics in attendance

The national project manager and about 30 professors and students from a number of Universities attended the workshop, which was held in the Faculty of Agriculture at Tarbiat Modarres University.

Among the issues discussed were methods of establishment of ecosystem approach in wetland management, the necessity of more cooperation with scientific and academic center and the need for communication, education, participation and awareness for integrated management of wetlands.


Lake Urmia is one of CIWP's main demonstration sites. The massive salts on the poles reflect the impacts of evaporation and the lake's high level of salinity © Mahsa Jamali