Assessment of the log smuggling causes in Caspian forests, north of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper


Forestry Department, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Guilan, Sowmeh Sara, 1144, Guilan, Iran



Undoubtedly, log smuggling is one of the most significant factors in quantitative and qualitative reduction of the Caspian forests in north of Iran, while it has received less attention in forest studies. This study was conducted to identify the causes of log smuggling in Guilan Province, Iran. A team of 24 experts from Forest Protection Department, Natural Resources and Watershed Management Organization, Guilan Province was selected, and the study was carried out in three phases by questionnaire and Delphi method. According to the frequency of responses to the first open-ended question in the first stage of Delphi method, number of 24 various specialists’ ideas were identified as the causes of log smuggling. Greed of profiteers, unemployment and the need for income especially among young people, lack of planning in each forest area, poverty in forest communities, easy access to forest areas through forest roads, and closure of forestry plans had the highest frequency among responses. Based on the results from phase two of Delphi method, unemployment and the need for income especially among young people was the notable cause of log smuggling. Systematic corruption, greed of profiteers, poverty in forest communities, failure to deal effectively with log smuggling agents, buying and selling smuggled wood without any trouble are ranked second to sixth, respectively. The Kendall's W test showed no concordance between experts on the questions in relation to the comparison between the ranks among the variables. The results of the tests also showed that the “unemployment and the need for income especially among young people” factor was the first rank, while the “timber industry dependency on certain types of wood” was the last one. The summary of interviewee's opinions after the Kendall's W test illustrated that the most principle log smuggling causes are as follows: unemployment and the need for income especially among young people (94%), systematic corruption (89%), greed of profiteers (86%), and poverty in forest communities (84%), and failure to deal effectively with log smuggling agents (82%). By identifying the factors affecting log smuggling, the necessity of using a strategy to deal with these factors in Guilan Province is felt more than ever.


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