Farmers’ Perspective Regarding the Impact of Rangeland Management Projects on the Diversification of Rural Farmers' Livelihood Strategies in the Mahneshan Township

Document Type : Research Paper


1 MSc of Agricultural Extension and Education, University of Zanjan, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Agricultural Extension, Communication and Rural Development Department, University of Zanjan, Iran

3 Assistance Professor of Agricultural Extension, Communication and Rural Development Department, University of Zanjan, Iran,


Sustainable utilization of natural resources have a determinant rols in rural community welfar and livelihoods. But they are in a critical condition due to their excessive use of them led to policy makers to adapt the policies for sustainable management of them that had been different consequences in different dimensions of farmers livelihood such as livelihod strategis. the aim of this research is to assess rural beneficiaries' perspective regarding the impacts of rangeland management projects on rural farmers' knowledge and activities regarding the livelihood strategies diversification in Mahneshan Township of the Zanjan Province.
Materials and methods
This study was conducted using a quantitative paradigm and a descriptive- correlational research methodology. The study was done in rural communities in the Mahneshan Township, located in the Zanjan Province in the North West of Iran. These communities depended on sheep and goats holding and rangelands. Rangeland management projects either had been implemented or were implementing in their lands. A sample of 204 rural households (in 10 villages) out of 1280 rural livestock holders (in 24 villages) was randomly selected through a multi-stage sampling technique and structurally interviewed using a questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed according to the research objectives, previous studies, the documents related to rangeland management projects and an initial exploratory case study through semi-structured interviews with natural resources management experts of the township and the province. This initial study identified some factors, such as location and the activities of rangeland management projects, relevant rural livestock keepers, and the measures. The content and face validity of the instrument was established by a panel of experts consisting of agricultural extension, rural development and natural resources experts and academic members. A pilot test was also conducted with 30 rural households to assess the reliability of the questionnaire and testing its constructs using the Cronbach’s Alpha measure (the coefficient for different constructs between 0.75 and 0.95 showing appropriate measures consistency). Moreover, the construct validity analyses were utilized using the convergence validity (with the emphasis on the Component Loadings above 0.5, % of construct variance above 50 and the amount of Cronbach's Alpha), and through applying the Principal Components Analysis for categorical data (CATPCA). Finally, the quantitative data were analyzed using the SPSS software for Windows.
Results and discussion
The analysis of demographic information showed that 98.5% of the respondents were male and 91.25% were married with the household size of 4.9 people. The respondents’ age ranged from 21 to 78 years with a mean of 52.1. Almost 54% were illiterate. Moreover, 48.5% of the respondents had membership in at least one of the locally based community organizations and only 6.4% in two institutions. All of the respondents had small scale farming lands (cultivating 3.6 hectare irrigated and 3.2 hectare rain fed arable lands as well as0.48 hectare permanent crops/ orchards on average).Land farming and livestock keeping were recognized to be the main job of 84% and the second job of 16% of the respondents. Overall, only 17.2% had a second job. In addition to land farming and livestock holding as the source of their livelihoods, some households had other income generating activities, such as selling dry fruits and home-made products to tourists and bee keeping. Moreover, 75.5% of the households weaved carpet as a complementary non-agricultural activity of their livelihoods. the results showed that this project had been more conservation approaches and they had been very low impacts on farmers livelihood strategies and that diversification. while considering the results, according to this actions by the policymakers will cause to increasing the farmers knowledge and actions and can be expected that being reduced pressure on rangelands due to single livelihood strategies diversification and reduction dependency on rangelands. a step wise regression analysis revealed that 29.5% of the impacts on rural households livelihood strategies diversification actions can be determined by five variables of livelihood strategies diversification actions by households, number of beehives, revival and conservation action by external organize, information obtain from extension films and radio. Also, A step wise regression analysis showed that fore variables of the participation can be determined by six variables of revival and conservation action, information obtain from journals, number of training courses, information obtain from extension television, can be determining 23.8% of all of the impacts on rural households livelihood strategies diversification knowledge.
Rangeland management policies and programs have paid less attention to the livelihood diversification of livestock holders dependent on rangelands in their projects. It is necessary to take appropriate actions for managing the factors can escalate unsustainable use of natural resources. One of these actions can be referred to the diversification of livelihood strategies to reduce dependency and overpressure on rangeland. There may be impossible to change the full dependency on rangelands to other activities due to the geographical location of the community, the constraints for linking to urban markets and the natural capitals available in the area. However, through diversification, it is possible to utilize alternative livelihood strategies as supplementary activities to reduce livestock number and overpressure on rangelands, increase employment, improve livelihoods and conserve natural resources. This approach is considered as a method for governing natural resources to use rangelands, arable lands and permanent lands sustainably. This perspective requires the support of external actors.


Main Subjects

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