Mapping Natural Resources Vulnerability to Droughts Using Multi-Criteria Decision Making and GIS (Case Study: Kashkan Basin Lorestan Province, Iran)

Document Type: Research and Full Length Article

Authors

1 Forestry Department, Agriculture and Natural Resources Faculty, Lorestan University, Iran

2 Assistant professor of Lurestan University

3 Rangeland and Watershed Management Department, Agricultur and Natural Resources Faculty, Lorestan University, Iran

Abstract

Zagros Mountains in west of Iran are covered by unique forests and rangelands. Increasing population, low level of development and high dependence of local people on natural resources for primary livelihood needs resulted in degradation of Zagros forests and rangelands. Along with these factors, since the last decade, climate change including severe drought is an important issue in the world, particularly in semi-arid natural areas of Iran including Zagros. This research was conducted to develop an integrated method for mapping vulnerability of natural resources to droughts in Kashkan basin Lorestan province, Iran in 2015. Hence, a combined method including AHP as a Multi-Criteria Decision Making method and GIS was used. Based on literature review, study area conditions and experts’ opinions, six criteria and nineteen sub criteria were determined. The weights of this initial set of criteria and sub criteria were determined by experts using pairwise comparisons and weights of them were calculated. Then, maps of different sub criteria were analyzed in the GIS environment using calculated weights. Results showed that the most important criteria in drought sensitivity were hydro climate, physiography, and vegetation cover. Annual mean precipitation and temperature, vegetation cover were the most important sub criteria. Findings of research also indicated that 17.11%, 26.28% and 7.67%, of the studied area were classified as low, moderate and high vulnerable areas, respectively. In addition, 8.50% of the studied area is classified as extremely high vulnerable to droughts. This study introduces a combined method to mapping vulnerability of natural resource to droughts. Findings of this study could be considered by managers to develop proper plans for vulnerable areas.

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