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Original Article

Nomads’ Perceptions on Nomadic Rangeland Management in Two Provinces of Iran (An Application of Grounded Theory)



In Iran, rangeland management is based on grazing licenses that were introduced in 1963. Following the nationalization of the country’s forests and rangelands, the Iranian Government began approving grazing licenses to eligible users. However, evidence suggests that this strategy was not effective in utilization and improvement of the rangelands. This study aimed to answer the question, from the nomads’ perceptions, whether the grazing licenses in the optimal rangelands management have been effective or not? The study location was the territory of the Bakhtiari pastoral nomads, who were engaged in animal husbandry in Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari and Khuzestan provinces, Iran. Data were collected using the grounded theory technique and semi-structured interview. The sampling method was purposeful and theoretical and data collection continued until theoretical saturation was reached. Content analysis was used to identify categories. Data were analyzed using open, axial and selective coding. Findings showed that six key categorizes emerged from the data: i) Grazing management is necessary to improve rangeland condition ii) the need for strict implementation of the license rules, iii) The number of livestock on the grazing license must be sustainable, iv) The problem of presence of urban dwellers with livestock grazing licenses and some real herders without grazing licenses, v) Nomads should protect natural resources, and the Government should support them, vi) the current system of livestock grazing licenses is not sustainable in balancing between livestock number and rangeland production. The central category was, “Inefficiency of animal grazing license in creating balances between livestock and pasture”; as a result, the creation of jobs for surplus herders in outside of pastures was introduced as an important strategy to solve the problem. The findings suggest a new management regime needed to achieve a balance between grazing and rangeland management.