The relative importance of different biotic and abiotic variables for estimating forest productivity remains unclear for many forest ecosystems around the world, and it is hypothesized that forest productivity could also be estimated by local biodiversity factors. Using a large dataset from 258 forest monitoring permanent sample plots distributed across uneven-aged and mixed forests in northern Iran, we tested the relationship between tree species diversity and forest productivity and examined whether several factors (solar radiation, topographic wetness index, wind velocity, seasonal air temperature, basal area, tree density, basal area in largest trees) had an effect on productivity. In our study, productivity was defined as the mean annual increment of the stem volume of a forest stand in m3 ha−1 year−1. Plot estimates of tree volume growth were based on averaged plot measurements of volume increment over a 9-year growing period. We investigated relationships between productivity and tree species diversity using parametric models and two artificial neural network models, namely the multilayer perceptron (MLP) and radial basis function networks. The artificial neural network (ANN) of the MLP type had good ability in the prediction and estimation of productivity in our forests. With respect to species richness, Model 4, which had 10 inputs, 6 hidden layers, and 1 output, had the highest R 2 (0.94) and the lowest RMSE (0.75) and was selected as the best species richness predictor model. With respect to forest productivity, MLP Model 2 with 10 inputs, 12 hidden layers, and 1 output had R 2 and RMSE of 0.34 and 0.42, respectively, representing the best model. Both of these used a logistic function. According to a sensitivity analysis, diversity had significant and positive effects on productivity in species-rich broadleaved forests (approximately 31%), and the effects of biotic and abiotic factors were also important (29% and 40%, respectively). The artificial neural network based on the MLP was found to be superior for modeling productivity–diversity relationships.