Isfahan Department of Environment
History of Environmental Protection in Iran
The legislation of the protection bill and the establishment of the Iranian Center for Hunting in 1956 are considered as the first documented actions taken toward protecting the Iranian wildlife population and diversity. The main duties of the centre as an independent organization were defined to be the protection of game and monitoring the enforcement of the relevant regulations. These foremost experiences of the enforcement of the bill revealed that the protection of the wildlife could only be achieved through protecting their habitats. This led to the formation of a new governmental organization in 1967 entitled the Hunting and Fishing Organization. This organization superseded the Center for Hunting in the same year serving as an independent governmental organization under the supervision of the Supreme Council of Hunting and Fishing. In laws pertaining to this organization, provisions were made to allow for the allocation of parts of the country for national parks (called wildlife parks at the time) and protected areas with predefined definitions. Therefore, the year 1967 marked the pioneer attempts for the foundation of the Iranian protected areas, 95 years after the establishment of the first national park in the world (Yellowstone National Park in the USA) and 19 years after the foundation of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). In this year, the proposal for the foundation of three national parks and 15 protected areas was approved by the Supreme Council for Hunting and Fishing as the first series of protected areas in Iran. Other duties of the Hunting and Fishing Organization included conducting research relevant to wildlife and wildlife reproduction and propagation.

A broader concept of environment and the need to pay more attention to its protection resulted in the foundation of the Iranian Department of the Environment in 1972, amalgamating the Hunting and Fishing Organization into it. The legislation of the Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Bill in 1974 awarded the Department of the Environment new duties and responsibilities almost commensurate with the industrial and economic development requirements of the time. The title "wildlife park" was officially modified into "national park" in the same year. Two new classes of protected areas namely wildlife refuge and national natural monument also come to existence.

Following the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and in the period when the Constitution of the Islamic Republic was being drafted, a contemporary action in protecting the environment was taken and the article 50 of the constitution was approved putting considerable emphasis on the protection of the environment. In this article, it is considered a public duty to protect the environment and any form of activities that causes pollution or irreparable damage to the environment is prohibited. Accordingly, the Environmental Protection and Rehabilitation Bill as one of the structural and managerial laws of the Department of the Environment was amended and legislated in its final form in 1992. Some of the duties of the Iranian Department of the Environment include the identification of areas with unique ecological characteristics, the identification of the country’s ecosystems related to environmental issues, and the identification of valuable, rare and endangered animal and plant species and their habitats.

Based on what mentioned above, since 1974 the Iranian protected areas have been classified into four groups of national parks, national natural monuments, wildlife refuges and protected areas, according to the official definitions and criteria of the system of the classification of areas. Legal authority for the management of the protected areas of the country has also been transferred to the Department of the Environment. In addition to these classes which conform to the IUCN classes and are known as the "four areas", other areas named no-hunt areas (hunting-prohibited areas), wetlands, international wetlands and biosphere reserves are also under management. While international wetlands and biosphere reserves are among the defined classes of international environmental protection societies, the no-hunt area is considered a national innovation.
Update history: 2016/04/17
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