The Economic and Biological Benefits of Non-wood Forest Products to Local Communities in Iran

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This study estimates the value per hectare of the Arasbaran deciduous forest based on returns from 17 fruit-providing species and mapping their economic value. We also studied the main influencing social drivers of collecting non-wood forest products (NWFPs). A biological inventory was carried out for all fruit-providing trees within the 6,484 hectares (ha) with registration of the geographical position of trees. Based on total fruit produced annually per hectare and the market price of each species, the economic value of each species in terms of the fruit produced was calculated and depicted. Results showed that the distribution area of fruit-providing species was about 10 percent (684 ha) of the studied forest area. In total, the annual sustainable production of all species was 52.6 thousand kilograms. The economic value varied from USD 6 to USD 983 per ha in different areas. The revenue of collected fruit-providing species varied from USD 0.9 to USD 14,903 per year for all involved households. The average contribution of NWFP income to household income was 21 percent. The collection of NWFPs had a negative correlation with the education of the household head, opportunity cost, and household wealth; on the other hand, NWFP collection had a positive relation with fruit price and yield. Forest management strategies can focus on the areas with the highest economic value. This research can help inform decision-makers regarding the selection of eligible forest areas for conservation and enforcement of regulations.

Full reference:
Sajad Ghanbari, Seyed Mahdi Heshmatol Vaezin, Taghi Shamekhi, Ivan L. Eastin, Nataša Lovrić, Matthew M. Aghai: The Economic and Biological Benefits of Non-wood Forest Products to Local Communities in Iran. Economic Botany 11/2019;, DOI:10.1007/s12231-019-09478-9.