People, Environment

Planned Roadway Project Will Harm Paband National Park

Planned Roadway Project Will Harm Paband National ParkPlanned Roadway Project Will Harm Paband National Park

Construction of a road in the northern Mazandaran Province is threatening Paband National Park, according to a report by Mizan News Agency.

Quoting “reliable sources,” the news agency reported on Monday that huge construction equipment and machinery have been moved to the “edge of the protected site” and work is expected to begin soon.

Construction has not yet begun because the provincial office of the Department of Environment has not approved the plan, “but the department is under increasing pressure to give in and issue permits.” The news agency did not say who or what entity is putting the DOE under pressure.

If the plan is approved, the road will connect Bandban Village in Mazandaran to Dibaj Village in Semnan. This means that the road will become one of main routes connecting central Iran to the northern regions, causing irreparable damage to one of the three national parks in the Caspian Hyrcanian Forests’ region, the other two Golestan and Kiasar national parks.

Covering 18,253 hectares, Paband was designated a national park in 2003. The protected site includes diverse animal species such as the Persian leopard, brown bear, red deer, roe deer, wild boar, wild cat, fox, jackal and porcupine.

One of the main threats to the national park is the occasional wildfires which tend to get out of hand since the mountainous topography of the region makes it inaccessible to fire brigades and the region lacks well-equipped aircrafts to douse the infernos.

Iran is currently home to 278 protected zones, divided into four main categories: national parks, natural monuments, wildlife sanctuaries and conservation areas, with national parks receiving the highest level of protection as they host the largest numbers of fauna and flora species.