History
 

History

Forestry dates back to antiquity in Iran. In 1823, the Ministry of Public Benefits was established, which marks the government's initial attention to natural resources management in Iran in early modern times. The ministry, in 1905, set up a bureau with the title of "Roads, Railways and Forests Bureau" mandated to manage forests and conserve natural resources throughout the country. The bureau evolved constantly in many ways since then.

In 1972, Forests and Range Organization (FRO) was established by the Parliament under the Ministry of Agriculture aimed at protection, conservation, reclamation, development and utilization of forests, rangelands, forested lands, natural woods and coastal areas.

In 2002, Forest, Range and Watershed Management Organization (FRWO) was officially formed upon the transfer of watershed management department from Ministry of Agriculture to Forest and Range Organization (FRO), pursuant to the Merger Act, mandated to manage all public lands covered by the Forest and Rangeland Nationalization Law. FRWO is the governmental agency under Ministry of Agriculture- Jahad, responsible for setting guidelines, planning and enforcing policies, legislation and regulations pertaining to land use, forestry, range management, desertification control and watershed management.

The first modern forest management plan was formulated and implemented in the Caspian area in 1959. Forestry plans covered only limited areas until 1963, when nationalization of forests led to the preparation of forestry plans for wood production on a large scale. The dominant silvicultural method used at that time in forest management plans was Shelter Belt system coupled with clear-cutting aimed at producing even-aged and pure stands to meet the industrial needs for wood. In the next six decades afterwards, considerable progress was made in silvicultural methods especially with the introduction of "Close-to-Nature Forest Management" and "Multi-Purpose Forestry" about two decades ago that emphasizes single tree selection, reduction of wood harvest, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.

However, despite of all new silvicultural methods introduced by FRWO to control heavy burden of exploitation in harmony with natural capacity in terms of regeneration and ecosystem services of the Caspian forests, the trend of deforestation continued unabatedly. This prompted the Government to introduce a temporary ban on forest harvesting operations in the Caspian forests aimed at reversing degradation trend through conservation, restoration reforestation and plantation measures.

Chronology

Establishment of Forest Management Bureau (1823)

In 1823, the Ministry of Public Benefits was established in Fath Ali Shah Period (Qajar dynasty), which marks the government's initial attention to natural resources management in Iran.
However, the official establishment of the bureau for the management of natural resources was postponed to the pre- constitution revolution era in Mozaffaraddin Shah Period (Qajar dynasty) in 1898, when a bureau was set up in the Ministry of Public Benefits under the title of the Bureau of "Roads, Railways and Forests".
In 1905, during the new cabinet of Mozaffaraddin Shah, the Ministry of Roads, Mines and Forests was established and mandated for the management of natural resources throughout the country.

 

Establishment of the Forestry Bureau (1920)

 In 1920, Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce formed a forestry bureau in Mazandaran province specifically mandated for mapping, cadastral survey, and identification of virgin and industrial forests  as well as degraded forests and other wooded lands.

In 1925, the council of ministers ratified the "Charter of Foresters of Iran" in 8 articles, the main 3 items of which are as follows:

1-All types of forests are state-owned and are considered as government property otherwise its private ownership is established by official legal documents;

2-The government exerts technical supervision for the development and conservation of all types of forests (private/public) through Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce;

3-Permits for forest lease, harvesting operation and utilization of forest by-products are solely issued by Ministry of Finance under the technical guidance of Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce.

 

Establishment of Forest Division (1940)

Following the reports of illegal cuttings in Gilan forests, the authorities in the Ministry Agriculture and Commerce were prompted to establish a division in the capital to handle the affairs. In 1938, the Forest Division was initially established in Agriculture Department of the Ministry; however, due to the importance of forestry issues, the Forest Division was officially promoted to Forestry Directorate in 1940.

 

Establishment of Forest Department (1942)

In 1942, the Forestry Directorate was transformed into Forest Department with four branch offices in the north part of the country, directly supervised by the Agriculture Department in the region.
The first forest law of Iran comprising of 18 articles and 7 notes was ratified by the Parliament in the same year and directives thereof was finalized in 1943 by the Cabinet.

 

Establishment of Forest Service (1949)
In 1949.the Cabinet ratified a motion submitted by Ministry of Agriculture for the establishment of Forest Service as an independent legal body under the Ministry of Agriculture for the protection and conservation of forests in Iran that transferred all state- owned forests and rangelands to it. Forest Service in addition to its responsibilities with regard to the conservation, reclamation, development and utilization of state-owned forests and establishment of wood industries and mapping, was also responsible for supervising and protection of private forests and partnership with private sector in utilization and wood industries.

Establishment of Forestry Organization (1960)

In 1960, Forestry Organization replaced Forestry Service with the following objectives and duties:

1-Formulation of the Forest and Range Nationalization Law that was ratified with 28 articles and 22 notes in 1963,
2. Formulation of Conservation, Protection and Sound Utilization of Forests and Rangelands Law in 1967,
3. Development of plantations as well as expansion of existing forests,
4. Conducting study projects with regard to soil erosion and other forest related issues,
5. Organizing training programs for forest and range experts,

 

Establishment of Ministry of Natural Resources (1967)
 
Following the inception of Ministry of Natural Resources in 1967, the organizational structure of the ministry was approved in April 1968.
According to article 2 of the organizational structure, Forestry Organization and its affiliated companies were transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources. Besides, article 5 of the organizational structure stipulates that all government agencies with overlapping duties with natural resources to be transferred to the ministry after the approval of both Houses of parliament. In this connection the Research Institute of Natural Resources and Rangeland Development Fund were transferred to the Ministry of Natural Resources in 1969 and 1970 respectively.

Establishment of Forests & Range Organization (1972)

In 1972, the Forests and Range Organization (FRO) and its provincial departments were approved by the government with the objectives as follows: protection, conservation, reclamation, development and utilization of forests, rangelands, forested lands, natural woods and coastal lands, throughout the country.
FRO was headed by a Deputy Minister advised by a High Council for Forest, Range and Soil and consisted of 5 Bureaus and 5 Departments at headquarters, plus 30 provincial administrations.
Forests and rangelands were administered according to the Forest and Range Nationalization Law (1963) and the Protection and Utilization of Forests and Rangelands law (1967). Operating under Ministry of Agriculture, the Forests and Range Organization (FRO) managed all public lands covered by the Forest and Range Nationalization law. In 1990, FRO was transferred to Ministry of Jihad-e- Sazandegi that was responsible for rural development. After the merger of Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of jihad-e- Sazandegi in 2000 by the approval of the Parliament, and formation of Ministry of Jihad Agriculture, FRO remained in the new ministry with the same status. In 2002 watershed management department was transferred to and merged in FRO and the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization was officially established.

Establishment of Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization (2002)

Forests Range and Watershed Management Organization was established in 2002 after the transfer of duties of watershed management from Ministry of Jihad Agriculture to FRO with the objectives as follows: protection, conservation, reclamation, development and utilization of forests, rangelands, forested lands, natural woods and coastal lands, as well as watershed management and soil conservation throughout the country.

 

 

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