Degradation Mitigation Management of Recreational Watersheds by Selecting the Most Suitable Action Plan Based on Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Methods
Mir Masoud Kheirkhah Zarkesh1, Esmaeel Sharifi2, Nahid Almasi1
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1Department of Environment and Energy, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
2Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Research Institute, Tehran, Iran
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2012;21(5):1481–1487
Watersheds have been the foundation of all human activities for ages. There always has been a sustainable equilibrium among the ecosystem components in nature. Such a sustainable equilibrium can be disturbed by human manipulation. Tourism is included among the potential land uses established in a watershed. Any kind of recreational use without regard for environmental considerations will be followed by extensive damage to watersheds. The current study aims at presenting the most suitable action plan to mitigate degradation caused by unplanned recreational use. Accordingly, a region of 7,181 ha located on the Dohezar Watershed was selected as a case study. The criteria, including planning, legislation, structural features, and supportive factors, were recognized as the most important action plans for achieving sustainability in the watershed. Factors consisting of elevation, erosion, distance from surface water, pedology, land cover density, and distance from the fault were known to be the most important characteristics of the area affecting the selection of the action plans in the third level. Finally, five map layers including physical design, carrying capacity, evaluation standards and regulations, local organization, and evaluation and basic data guide the model toward successful degradation mitigation management. The Hierarchical Additive Weighting (HAW) method, a compensatory method of the multi-criteria decision-making model, was used to weight the action plans situated in the fourth level. By integrating the weighted matrices, the legislation plan (with the highest preference vector weight of 37.6%) was selected as the most suitable action plan to mitigate degradation in the study area.