Masal, a county in the western part of Gilan Province, encompases the upper valley of the Shanderman River and the whole catchment basin of the Masal River (also called Ḵālekāi) until its arrival into the plain. The local population, 48,000 inhabitants in 2006, speaks Talysh, Gilaki and Persian. Masal and Bazar Jomeh are the only cities in the county.
The main agricultural production is rice, cultivated in the lower valleys and the edge of the plain, in small holdings. Of the three usual complementary resources of the plain (namely sericulture, tobacco, and tea), sericulture is the only one to have had a significant but highly variable role. The impact on this area of the crisis of silk production in the late 2000’s is uncertain. The other main activity and source of income is stock-breeding.
Unlike the valleys adjacent to the north or to the south, this area has no temporary bazaars on summer pastures because of the strong attraction and relative proximity of the Friday bazaar in Shanderman and Saturday bazaar in Masal. In both cases, this commercial activity has launched an urbanization process by gradually gathering services and resident population around the commercial core.