Iranian nomadic pastoralists have undergone profound socio-economic and political changes over the last five decades. These changes are reflected in the dramatic decline of the nomadic population from 2.4 million in 1976 to 1.2 million in 2008, as well as in changes of annual migration patterns, livelihood, and tribal socio-political structure. The literature provides numerous explanations of these phenomena, including nomad/sedentary relations, state sedentarization and detribalization policies, diminishing natural resources and increasing integration of nomadic pastoralists into the national market economy.
This paper demonstrates and analyzes the significant role of the regional agricultural development in the transformation of the Shahsavan nomadic pastoralists. The data collected in our field study indicate the impact of the Moghan regional agricultural development on the gradual settlement process and livelihood changes in the Shahsavan tribal community. Among the major indicators of change are increased farming practices, employment in non-agricultural activities, rising educational and health standards, and adoption of new inputs in animal husbandry and farming.