Socioeconomic Impact Assessment of Deforestation of Hyrcanian Forests on Local Communities

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of Environment, Islamic Azad University, Shahrood Branch, Shahrood, Iran

2 Department of Environment, Islamic Azad University, North Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran


The present study was conducted to assess socio-economic impacts of deforestation of Hyrcanian forests in two basins of Do-Hezar and Se-Hezar, northern Iran. To this end, changes in the forest area were detected over the period between 1990 and 2006 based on land use land cover maps derived from Landsat and IRS satellite images. The land use changes were investigated by enhancement of the images at each time interval. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was also used to evaluate the density of the land cover in the form of six greenness classes. Subsequently, the socioeconomic impacts of deforestation in the basins were estimated using rapid assessment matrix. Depending on the extent of destruction, the socioeconomic parameters affected by destroyed or decreased forest area were identified and scored by RIAM Software. The obtained results indicated that the greatest changes in forest area was occurred due to urban development and expanded farmland areas within over years 2000-2006, when the greenness degree was also decreased. Acceding to the RIAM results, 3% of the deforestation impacts in two basins was very negative (-E) while, 23% was moderately negative (-c). Besides, slightly negative (-A) impacts include 27% of the total negative effects. Although the adverse effects of deforestation on socioeconomic status of the residents were not very destructive, however, the impacts on the rural community could be important and noticeable.


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