Building a Multiple-Use Forest Management Framework to Conserve Biodiversity in the Caspian Hyrcanian Forest Landscape

What is the Project About?

Caspian Hyrcanian Mixed Forest Ecoregion - listed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as a Global 200 Ecoregion - is located in Northern Iran along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and Northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains

The project will conserve biodiversity in key landscapes within the Caspian Hyrcanian broadleaf deciduous forest ecoregion, which cover an area of approximately 1.8 million hectares. The ecoregion is recognised for its high levels of endemism; it is also an important storehouse of threatened species.

The project will trigger a paradigm shift from sector-focused management (timber-use oriented) to multiple use management, in order to reduce the conjunction pressures arising from different land uses.

The project will be responsible for achieving the following objective: “To put in place a collaborative governance system and know-how for managing a mosaic of land uses in the Caspian Hyrcanian forest that provides habitat integrity and helps maintain landscape level ecosystem functions and resilience”.

What Have We Accomplished So Far

The Capsian Forest in Mazandaran Province

The project document was signed in May 2013 but the following key activities were carried out during PPG and full project initiation:

  • Two consultation workshops held.
  • Several site visits to the candidate pilot sites conducted by the consultancy team.
  • Baseline studies for selection of final pilot sites conducted.
  • At least 3 pilot sites and 2 possible additional sites finalized.
  • Project Central office established.
  • Inception phase initiated.

Who Finances It?

Global Environment Facility (GEF) US$1,900,000
Government of I.R. Iran (Cost-Sharing) US$3,000,000

Delivery In Previous Fiscal Year


Project Highlights

  • Caspian Hyrcanian Mixed Forest Ecoregion, listed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as a Global 200 Ecoregion, located in Northern Iran along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains. These ancient broadleaf and mixed lowland and montane forests form unique and diverse communities and house a number of endemic and endangered tree, mammal and bird species.
  • The Caspian Hyrcanian forests contain remnants from the Tertiary period and are rich in relic and endemic species. Whilst in many parts of Europe and Siberia forests were unable to survive the cold temperatures, the climate near the Caspian Sea remained milder, which allowed the survival of much of the forest including some species which consequently became endemic to the Caspian Hyrcanian forests. There are currently around 150 endemic species of trees and shrubs in the Caspian Hyrcanian forests, including the Hyrcanian box tree (Buxus hyrcana), Caucasian pear (Pyrus communis subsp. caucasica), Caucasian oak (Quercus macranthera), Persian ironwood and Caucasian lime (Tilia x euchlora).
  • A total of 7.3 million people live in the Caspian Hyrcanian landscape, with a population density of 126 people per km2, which is 2.7 times greater than for the country as a whole.

Project Overview
Project Start Date:
May 2013
Estimated End Date:
April 2018
Geographic Coverage:
Caspian Hyrcanian Forests Covering about 1.8 mha, Including 3 Provinces: Golestan, Mazandaran & Gilan
Focus Area:
Mainstream biodiversity conservation and sustainable use into production landscapes
Project Officer:
Ali Nazaridoust
Forest Rangelands and Watershed Management Organizations (FRWO)