Assessment and prioritization of protected areas management strategies in Hamadan province
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)
Introduction In this study, the protected area of Hamadan province was investigated and a four-stage decision-making method was used. In the defined model, SWOT analysis is used as the basis for environmental status analysis. Scenarios are analyzed by experts using the ANP method as one of a set of multi-criteria decision-making methods. The purpose of this study is to develop a systematic approach and identify, analyze and rank the proposed scenarios to enhance the potential of the protected area with an emphasis on its role as a key factor in the development of the western region of the country. Protected areas in regional development have been evaluated positively and based on multiple criteria (Mohammadi Deh Cheshme, 2014), Conflicts between key stakeholders that influence the development of protected areas and the management of those areas are a major obstacle to the development of areas in many countries (Coria and Calfucura, 2012). In order to achieve stakeholder collaboration and management of protected areas, a partnership is needed based on the achievement of shared goals (Ghorbani et al, 2015). The use of multi-criteria decision-making models clearly illustrates many of the indicators and risks of activities in protected areas. Risk Ranking Helps Experts Adopt Policies and Strategies to Reduce Risks (Malekhosseini, 1). Risk factors include the destruction of protected areas. Identifying and assessing risks is an appropriate factor to deal with the crises ahead. Environment as an important part of people's lives has attracted the attention of many experts and policymakers. In many countries, laws are in place to reduce activities that lead to pollution and environmental degradation and activities that cause irreparable environmental damage are forbidden (Qavam Abadi, 2013). In the meantime, attention to protected areas and wildlife sanctuaries seems necessary (Majnoonian, 1363). Materials & Methods Hamadan province is located in the west of Iran with an area of more than 19,000 square kilometers. (Figure 1). Hamadan protected areas are a significant part of the western part of the country, well known for its natural diversity and historical values. Management issues in protected areas need to be up Taking into account community needs and economic and environmental principles and ensuring the utilization of all regional development capacity (Bulatović and Marković, 2015), through rational resource utilization, efficient allocation of revenues and assets and improved tourism. Figure 1. Hamadan Protected Areas (Source: Hamadan Environmental Protection Agency) It is very difficult to plan and develop the conditions of a region without considering all the internal and external stakeholders protected area management requires multi-disciplinary research on a wide range of issues, this set of factors depends on the development and implementation of clear and effective management strategies (Montasseri & Ashrafzadeh, 2016). SWOT analysis is a tool for generating and ranking strategies in combination with multiple MCDMs will be significantly enhanced and significantly more applicable. In other words, combining strategy-based approaches such as SWOT with methods used to rank and analyze decisions it enables the expert opinions to be shared with the public as well (Kheirkhah et al, 2014). An integrated global model can be used to rank the proposed scenarios in realizing business prospects based on the integration of strategic goals and SWOT factors, using ANP for multipurpose decision making (Reihanian et al., 2012). The ANP method is one of the multifunctional decision-making techniques widely used by experts in various fields, with the ANP as the best solution for defining a network decision model for achieving predetermined goals in multiple models. The criterion is known (Hamidi et al., 2014). In addition, the advantage of the ANP method over other methods is the ability to measure the relationships between clusters of network structure and the elements within them by adding potential interactions, interdependencies, and decision-system feedback (Sevkli et al., 2012). Protected area management often requires a multidisciplinary approach to the decision-making process. The decision-making process based on the combination of SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat) analysis and network analysis (ANP) methods has been presented as a very useful tool in numerous surveys (Back et al., 2015). The main purpose of this study is to develop a strategic decision model that can be used to evaluate alternative scenarios against SWOT factors and strategic goals. The structure of the proposed approach comprises a network with the following clusters: 1. Outlook, 2. Strategic Goals, 3. SWOT Agents, 4. Suggested Scenarios. In order to generate priorities in the (proposed) scenarios, the multi-criteria analytical network decision-making process approach has been used in the study of protected areas. This study provides a model with the possibility of selecting the proposed scenario for achieving a defined perspective based on the interaction between the strategic goals and the SWOT sub-factors. Realizing the proposed approach it is done through four steps. These include: 1) identifying elements, 2 - interacting criteria in the model, 3 - comparing alternatives and sub-factors, 4 - extensive analysis of ANP results. Discussion of Results & Conclusions In addition to SWOT analysis, participants were asked to develop and analyze seven strategic objectives under consideration: 1) Conservation of biodiversity and cultural heritage; 2) increase the level of employment and people's lives; 3) Reforming the social outlook on tourism and the economics of protected areas; 4) Development of small and medium enterprises; 5) Sustainable use of natural resources; 6) Promoting tourism and increasing the number of tourists; 7) Improving cooperation between the private and public sectors. Based on the results of the study, four proposed conservation strategies that were practically feasible were identified as proposed strategies. The strategies examined are Current status, sustainable development, industrial-economic development, and green protection. Reducing the tensions and disparities caused by the interaction between the tourism industry, visitors, the environment and society helps to preserve natural values in protected areas. The primary precondition, appropriate rules, and oversight of the planning and management of protected areas (Grošelj et al., 2015). In addition, an important part of this strategy is in the form of educational activities on nature and cultural heritage aimed at raising awareness of all institutions in the region. The final ranking of the alternative scenarios in the last step of the proposed model was determined by a general analysis of the results of the previous step using the ANP method. The results are presented in Table 1. According to Table 1, it can be deduced that the current situation is the last option backed by experts. The experts do not see the current situation as favorable and believe that the conditions should continue to change and improve strategies. Table 1: Final Priorities for Alternative Development of Hamadan Protected Areas. Table 1: Alternative Ranking Priority Options Priority Ranking current status 0.141 4 Sustainable Development 0.332 1 Green Conservation 0.239 3 Development of industrial-economic structure 0.288 2 Overall the analysis shows that is a feasible and reasonable alternative to protected areas management to replace the "Sustainable Development" option with the one currently in place. To have a positive impact on regional development focusing on tourism. Green conservation is the second alternative that emphasizes environmental protection but does not focus on the economic development of the region. The intensity of environmental protection is very important. Development of industrial-economic structure affects short-term economic growth, but it does not emphasize environmental protection whereas protecting natural areas needs to meet the needs of the next generation. Existing status is rated as the last option in the list of available scenarios and this indicates the existing inefficient status because the weaknesses on which the model is based exist in the same conditions and have been very traumatic. SWOT analysis presents the strategic goals of sustainable development to tourism as the only possible and rational strategy for managing protected areas of Hamadan province. Keyword: SWOT Matrix, Analytic Network Process (ANP), Sustainable Development, Green Conservation, Tourism.
Journal of Environmental Studies, Volume:45 Issue: 4, 2020
625 - 643
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