Increasing comprehensive knowledge about mountain issues, the initiative proposed by the Mountaineering and Sport climbing Federation of Iran


Increasing comprehensive knowledge about mountain issues, the initiative proposed by the Mountaineering and Sport climbing Federation of Iran

Project Status: Since 2014

The main goal of this project, run by Mountaineering and Sport climbing Federation of Iran (MSFI), is to inform the mountain community (climbers – mountaineers – coaches – mountain guides) about the principles of preservation of environment. More than 55’000 mountaineers and eco tourist come every year in Iran and this can be a huge potential and opportunity to protect the mountain environment of Iran. Many mountain practitioners do not have enough information or education knowledge about the environment. As a result, they cannot protect adequately the mountain and can destroy or spoil even involuntarily mountain areas. The awareness of the importance and sensitivity of mountain environments will not only stop them from harming mountains but also encourage them to protect the environment. Giving information about the value of mountain ecosystems is crucial and MSFI has taken the decision to oblige all mountaineers and guides to pass a one-day theoretical course.

Currently this course is being held all over the country by 34 provincial mountaineering boards and hundreds of mountaineering groups under supervision of the Federation. At the moment there are 10 environmental experts with experience in climbing who are teaching the course in different parts of Iran. Maximum participants in a one-day course is 30 people. According to statistics in recent years more than 40 training courses have been held in about 30 cities and provinces across Iran and more than 1,100 people have completed the courses. It is predicted that the number of participants in the course next year is going to reach 2,000 people.

The topics proposed are:

  • mountain ecosystems (role of mountain in ecosystems, biodiversity in mountain etc)
  • mountain and water resources (role of mountain in preserve and produce the fresh water in the world and in Iran as a dry climate area)
  • mountain and ecotourism (role of ecotourism in protect the mountain etc.)
  • leave no trace in mountain area ( some of leave no trace rules in nature)
  • mountain glaciers, erosion, drainage in the mountains, mountain lakes, mountain jungles
  • global warming and Climate change
  • main mountain pollutants (solid waste, batteries, air pollution, noise pollution etc), waste management
  • decomposing- reuse- reduce- recycle
  • greenhouse effect- climate change- global warming- hunting
  • mountain forests mountain communities (role of local people to protect the mountain and how we can collaborate them) other related subjects
How does it contribute to mountain protection

The most important role of this project in protecting the mountains is informing and alerting the users who are climbers and tourists. The effects of this training course can be defined in two layers: A- Those who have been directly trained (in the course) would undoubtedly make less damage to the environment in various programs of mountain climbing and will try to preserve it. Example: After each climbing season, Mountaineering Federation had to dispose tons of waste from shelters down. But by training climbers to carry their garbage and waste management in mountains according to the Mountaineering Federation, the garbage dump in recent years, especially in Mount Damavand shelters has significantly reduced.

B) After passing the course as unofficial cultural promoters, the instructors and mountain guides will show their students and clients in action. All coaches (rock climbing – climbing – mountain skiing and mountain guides) are required to pass the course to continue their activities. This has been required by sending official letters to all clubs.

By training mountaineers and guides with type of course, the idea is to increase knowledge and improve practices and behaviours, while being increasingly aware of mountain challenges. Providing information about the value of mountain ecosystems can be a useful step to starting a way to protecting the mountains. For example, when MSFI talked about decompose time in the nature, many of mountaineers didn’t realize about it! Giving a realistic and updated information about such related topics, we can encourage them to carry solid waste themselves and even ask others to carry waste down to the mountain.

Collaboration with local communities and authorities

We teach climbers when entering a natural area, to respect the culture, customs and traditions of local communities. We teach tourists that it’s us who enter into the life of local communities, so we should respect their rules, use their services and if possible help their economies. Local communities in harmony with the mountain climbers and tourists can be effective in protecting the environment. Given that the training course will be held in different parts of the country, in each course the examples of interaction with local communities are given taking into account the customs and traditions of the local communities.

Example: Many local and rural communities of Iran live in western and northern parts of mountains. And climbers can encourage these communities to preserve mountain environments, and use natural resources in a correct way. Also stop them from excessive hunting and grazing

Through the publication and distribution of a mountain protection booklet, the MSFI tries to show the huge role of local communities in the protection of mountains. Some local communities in Iran have not a good relation with mountaineers. Thanks to the booklet, mountaineers are taught how to respect the local’s customs. In addition, a lot of people go to mountain areas as a mountaineer or tourist and they can be a good way to convey crucial information and encourage local communities to help and protect the mountain environment.

Going further than “Business as Usual”

This course can attract many educated and experienced people who have experience in mountains and environment related education and provide new jobs or opportunities. This course can be organised in all Iran for any mountain clubs, groups or NGOs. In this project, every people after passing the Protecting Mountain Environment Training Course can be a volunteer participate for promote and encourage other people to protect the mountain.

Mountain guides can have a huge role for encourage their clients to protect the mountain area. We teach the mountain guides about the environment friendly and sustainable ecotourism. Mountain trainers can promote the protecting rules to their students and this can be the first step of beginners’ mountain education.