Rangelands cover 84.8 million hectares (52.3%) of Iran. Mobile pastoralists manage 35 million hectares and raise some 23 million head of livestock of 28 different breeds. Iran has 4–5 million pastoralists, 1.2 million of them mobile or semi-mobile. They play a vital role in Iran’s food security and national economy. They produce 53% of the country’s meat), and contribute to cultural diversity and environmental conservation within their territories.
Mobile and transhumant pastoralists move their herds along migratory routes between summer and winter pastures. Their ability to do this has been eroded since the past century. Their “territories of life” (customary territories) and migration routes have been fragmented through land-use change and inappropriate development.
Pastoralists need more supportive policies, including the recognition of their customary territories, their rights to use land, and their customary governance systems. They must be involved in making decisions that affect them.