Developing integrated wetland management plans based on ecosystem approach (Case studies: Lake Uromieh, Parishan and Shadegan Wetlands)

In spite of other ecosystems, wetlands management is highly dependent to the basin and upstream condition. Every developing and water supply projects within the basin may cause considerable effect on downstream wetlands.  To address this issue, developing management plans for wetlands should be based on integrated approaches and at the basin level. The most important and known approach which can provide a reliable support for developing management plan at the mentioned scale is “Ecosystem Approach”. Conservation of Iranian Wetlands Project applied this approach in a participatory process at the basin level and with cooperation of all national and local stake holders for developing integrated management plan for Lake Uromieh, Parishan and Shadegan Wetlands. Applying this approach provide a good basis for the convergence and cooperation of all stakeholders in wetland management. As a result, these management plans were approved at the cabinet and provincial planning councils as the highest decision taking structures at national and provincial levels and implementation was started by each responsible institution in the plan.  This is a new approach for managing wetland protected areas and institutionalizing it within department of environment and development plans will play a crucial role in sustainability of these valuable ecosystems. This article provides a review on methodology and CIWP experience on three Iranian wetlands, Lake Uromieh, Parishan and Shadegan wetlands.