Participatory Mapping of Community Use Zone in Dena District Adjacent to Dena Preserved Area
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Abstract:

Conservation planning needs to identify the perceptions of local communities about the distribution of uses. Required areas for supporting welfare of these communities within and around protected areas is called community use zone. Based on theoretical foundations and given that every place has value or values for local communities, it is possible to identify local values by combining participatory approach and explicit spatial approach. The aim of this study is to identify community use zone in Dena district and in the vicinity of the Dena protected area. In this regard, ethnography is applied by practices such as semi-open questionnaire, field observation and literature review and then is complemented by participatory mapping. Collecting data of local values (Subsistence, economic, cultural and conservative) is continued until the information saturation. Participants marked these hotspots of providing services on four basic maps. After digitizing the data, the spatial overlapping of these areas has been investigated. Community use zone is designated by counting the overlaps of subsistence, economic, and cultural values. Most of this zone is around rivers, roads and settlements. Within the Dena preserved area is influenced by economic and cultural uses. The conservative value identified outside the protected area requires participatory conservation planning, too. Dual-value and three-valued area in the community use zone should be a priority in educational planning and financial supporting for sustainable use. Future programs in Dena district should be focused on such actions: Prevention from firing and cultivating in the forests, prevention from land use change, increasing irrigation efficiency, proper cultivation management, prevention from irregular harvesting medicinal and edible plants, and prevention from illegal hunting of wildlife. Applying the method of this research provides a common language for the dialogue between conservation and community uses. It also provides the ground of training, empowering and attracting the participation of local communities and learning from them.

Introduction

Conservation planning needs to identify local community' perceptions about the distribution of uses. Required areas for supporting welfare of these communities within and around protected areas called community use zone. Given that Local communities value every place, it is possible to identify local values by combinatory and complementary methods. The concepts and methods of planning and managing protected areas and their surroundings have two main approaches: Area-oriented and process-oriented approach. The area-oriented approach is based on the science-based top-down land use planning experience and mapping with geographic tools has led to conflicts with Conservation which because of the ignorance of local communities. The most advanced method of this approach is the use of spatial information to make decision through ecosystem services mapping. The process-oriented approach includes soft social methods to create opportunities for dialogue, participation, adaptation and agreement, but its results do not lead to explicit spatial boundaries and regions, such as participatory rural appraisal and community-based conservation. Therefore, increasing the effectiveness of conservation planning requires the development of combinatory practices of the two approaches (area-oriented and process-oriented). In this regard, there are two confirmatory theories: The "Cartography, ethics & social theory" argues that the absence of social values in the content of the mapping has caused the mapping to be distanced from the democratic and human form of geographical knowledge. Also, "Cartographic semiosis" is a theory that knows map performance beyond description and representation and in communication and prescription form by deconstructing in the mapping and registering of place values. Such a map is a social product that finds institutional legitimacy by considering the perspectives of local communities. The aim of this study is to identify community use zone in Dena district and in the vicinity of the Dena protected area.

Materials and Methods

In this research, ethnography is applied by practices such as semi-open questionnaire, field observation and literature review which is then complemented by participatory mapping. Participants (some residents of settlements in Dena district) have been selected and collaborated voluntarily and by trying to balance the age, gender and population ratio of the settlements, during spring and summer of 1398 SH. Collecting data of local values (Subsistence, economic, cultural and conservative) is continued until the information saturation. Participants marked these hotspots of providing services on four basic maps. After digitizing the data, the spatial overlapping of these areas has been investigated.Community use zone is designated by counting the overlaps of subsistence, economic, and cultural values.

Results and Discussion

Parts of the Dena preserved area are affected by economic and cultural uses  which is especially noticeable around the Sisakht town. The conservative value identified outside the preserved area requires participatory conservation planning.  Local value overlapping shows the conservative local value depicted by the participants has no spatial overlap with other mapped values. Also, the largest overlap was between cultural and economic values and then subsistence and economic values. The overlap of economic and subsistence values was related to adjacency livelihood activities to income generating activities. Besides, the overlap of economic and cultural values is mostly related to the conventional livelihood of tourism revenue and the attractions of culturally valuable areas. The community use zone includes value areas which respectively have three types, two types or one type of three subsistence, economic and cultural values. The major distribution of this zone is close to and concentrated on the areas which have noticeable natural and human built features. In other words, the major surface of community use zone is at an altitude below 2500 meters and around rivers, roads and settlements. Dual-value and three-valued area in the community use zone should be given priority in educational planning and financial supporting in order to sustainable use. Future educational and participatory programs in Dena district should be focused on such actions:Prevention from firing and cultivating in the forests, prevention from land use change in gardens, increasing irrigation efficiency, proper cultivation management and waste control, prevention from irregular harvesting medicinal and edible plants, and prevention from trapping and illegal hunting of wildlife.

Conclusion

Applying the method of this research for other districts provides a common language for the dialogue between conservation and community uses. It also provides the training and empowering ground and attracting participation of local communities and learning from them. Such recognition can help reduce the scope of conflicts, increase compliance with conservation, strengthen the motivation for continued participation in conservation and finally make the resilience of land use allocation decisions between development and conservation.

Article Type:
Research/Original Article
Language:
Persian
Published:
Geography and Sustainability of Environment, Volume:10 Issue: 34, 2020
Pages:
53 - 68
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