Zoning is an important tool used in the management of protected areas and wetlands. It has been developed to apply conservation objectives at different levels of management where conflicting uses can be taking place. GIS is increasingly used to solve land allocation problem with techniques based on zoning, varying from simple overlays to complex multi-criteria evaluation techniques (MCE). This study presents a new approach to the development of zoning plans for Ramsar sites that exhibit major seasonal variations in conservation value and human use and threats. It employs a well-defined GIS-based MCE technique which involves both expert judgment and a set of criteria based on ecological and potential threats. A GIS model using the additive approach in MCE was developed to evaluate Sabkhat Al-Jabboul the only Ramsar site in Syria. The model was applied separately for the spring and winter to accommodate seasonal changes in the intensity and spatial distribution of conservation areas and threats across the site. Separate zoning plans were developed for each of the two main seasons. The zoning plan of the spring season, which is the birds breeding season, included three management zones; the special conservation zone, the conservation buffer zone, and the wise use zone. The winter zoning plan, where the bird feeding activity was the major activity includes two zones: a special conservation zone and a wise use zone. Thus, in cases like Sabkhat Al-Jabboul, where the wetlands are subject to significant seasonal variations, in their ecology and human utilization, it is recommended that flexible seasonal zoning plans are developed to assist in the organization of permitted activities, and to reduce the potential human impacts throughout the year.
Wetlands Ecology and Management – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 21, 2017
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