The environment is the place we live, work, and play; it supplies the most basic human needs, as it is a thing that is becoming increasingly important every day. However, during his dominance over the earth, human beings have consumed the resources indiscriminately and in an unplanned manner. Many of the threats made against human society are merely associated with environmental issues. Although these threats have a non-security nature, in fact, they affect the national security of the countries. As human societies are facing with the growing trend of environmental degradation, it is essential to set some measures for environmental management and other critical resources. Therefore, to prevent irreversible damage to renewable sources, long-term management is a necessity. As rural areas play an important role in production, employment, within the geographical borders and population, they should have a special place in the development of the country. Climate changes and global warming, desertification and lack of fresh water are among the issues the study seeks to investigate. Proper management is essential for the protection of rural areas, but there are some challenges that the current study have tried to examine. The main question is: what are the main challenges in managing environmental resources in the study area?
Binaloud County (Torghabeh Shandiz) with an area of 1185.26 km2 is located in the center of Khorasan Razavi province, northeastern Iran and has a population of 69,640 people. Based on the latest administrative divisions of Iran, this county consists of two districts (Torghabeh and Shandiz) and four Dehestans (rural districts) including Jaghraq, Torghabeh, Abardeh and Shandiz. The county has 52 villages with a total population of 34,653 people in 10,905 rural households.
The study is an applied one, conducted using a descriptive-analytical method. To answer the research questions, we reviewed the literature and comments made by experts, and accordingly formulated the standards and features of effective environmental resources management. After setting the boundaries of the study area, the data was collected. The next step in the research process was to identify and verify the classification of the factors, and to explore the interrelationship between the indicators based on their effects on each other. Data analysis was conducted by Analytic Network Process (ANP), in which after discovering the inter-relations between indicators, similar to AHP method, the weight of the indicators must be determined compared to the target group, and the weight of each sub-indicator is determined compared to the relevant indicators. This was performed by designing questionnaires that were completed by 22 certified experts. According to their responses, the appropriate weight of each criteria and sub-criteria were determined.
The Analytic Network Process (ANP) is a multi-criteria decision making technique. Given the complexity of various environmental issues, ANP may produce better results. Looking at the related literature, the criteria and indicators were organized into 10 clusters. Within each cluster, relevant elements and criteria were divided. While elements of each cluster are interconnected, some of them may also be associated with elements of other clusters. According to the diagrams and table of the final weight of clusters, it was concluded that challenges in the cluster of laws and regulations with an impact factor of 0.237, is the biggest challenge to the management of environmental resources. Monitoring cluster was the second challenge affecting the management of environmental resources in the study area. The findings showed that issues such as lack of legal mechanism for the protection of environmental resources, weak laws and regulations on investment, lack of transparency of investment rules on environmental resources, and access to resources, services and facilities in rural areas and environmental degradation, a subset of performance cluster, is the least significant challenge to the management of environmental resources which has the impact factor of 0.037. The challenges related to economic issues and personal skills have the second and third least impact factors, respectively.
In this study, using ANP the authors analyzed the challenges for managing environmental resources and identified indicators which are among the most important challenges in managing environmental resources. Challenges, including the lack of screening in accessing the effects of environmental resources, lack of deterrence and executive guarantees of environmental regulations in evaluation of natural resources, lack of expert instructions for environmental assessment of the projects, lack of reform in making use of natural resources and curbing the unstable factors, lack of clarity about environmental resources on land use planning and its legal status are the most important challenges. On the other hand, lack of legal mechanisms for protecting the environmental resources, weak laws and regulations on investment, lack of transparency in investment rules about environmental resources, access to resources, services and facilities in rural areas and environmental degradation are the least important challenges to the management of environmental resources. Accordingly, in this study, it is recommended that the Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with other stakeholders, evaluate the efficiency of environmental laws and regulations, and report the performance, efficiency and achievement of legislations based on the indicators of environmental quality, and present it with suggestions for updating and promoting their efficiency.
The following could be among the responsibilities of the government towards the deployment of an environmental resources management system: to achieve consensus and coordination in various sectors of industry and production;
to set priorities in development, completion, and promoting the regulations;
to impose limitations or bans on the indiscriminate and irresponsible consumption of natural resources;
to define research projects to develop standards and guidelines;
to formulate and implement comprehensive programs of quality management and environmental resources;
to review the laws and regulations on protecting the environment and quality of resources;
to make managers sensitive to issues of environmental resources and their improper use;
to employ academic and practical methods to manage resource consumption;
to develop a risk management plan for resources against natural disasters;
to assess the environmental impact of projects.
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