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Ashrafzadeh M.R.,Khoramshahr University of Marine science and Technologies | Batvandi Z.,University of Management and Economics | Karimi H.,Khoramshahr University of Marine science and Technologies | Soroushnia R.,Khoramshahr University of Marine science and Technologies
Journal of Environmental Studies | Year: 2011

Introduction Protected areas (PAs) are well known to act as sources for food, fuel, clothing, and medicines. Unfortunately, as these resources diminish outside Pas, the pressure on them becomes more intense. For this reason, landscape approaches are required to protect and restore the ecosystem services of PAs. This is especially critical due to the fact that by 2025 over 60% of the world's "absolute" poor will live in rural areas, depending directly on the natural resources around them. There are many instances where PAs support local requirements while discouraging commercial interests of outside from rapidly depleting resources. PAs also directly contribute to increased resources - for example-in agriculture, through services such as pollination, or in fisheries through the creation of "no take" zones that allow fish stocks to recover. All over the world, PAs are established by governments, nongovernmental organizations and private entities with the aim of conserving biodiversity, and in most cases, without considering how PAs would affect the interested parties and their livelihoods. As a result, today PAs are seen as controversial tools for biodiversity conservation, since according to the mainstream narrative, they have caused the impoverishment of the local population through evictions and denial of access to natural resources. Taking this into account, the linkages between PAs and well-being of people living in or around them has therefore become a practical and ethical necessity. It is a practical necessity, because to survive and achieve their conservation objectives, protected areas need the support of local population and international community. It is an ethical necessity, because as it is widely recognized, conservation objectives cannot be pursued at the expenses of people's well-being. Protected areas such as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are physically shared by ecologically important flora and fauna, tourists, government officials, scientists and communities living in and around them. The benefits of protected areas extend to users at different scales, from local people who depend on particular species for their livelihood, to nations that depend on abundant freshwater and global community that depends on nature's capacity to regulate climate. Worldwide, many countries and regions, rich in biodiversity and poor in economy, have been vigorously promoting ecotourism as a conservation tool in their PAs since 1990s. PAs have played significant roles in tourist attraction in many countries since their establishment. Tourism can be an effective tool in the conservation and management of PAs. It can provide financial and political supports to conservation, and lead to a greater understanding of the value of PAs - which in turn can lead to more areas being protected. There is a wide range of opportunities for ecotourism in PAs. Such opportunities are revenue generation (i.e., user fees, entranced fees and donations), employment opportunities, and justification for protected areas, healthier economy, environmental education, and improved conservation efforts. In addition, Participatory development is consistence with planners in the direction of "with and for people" planning. Identifying what types of ecosystem services a protected area provides, who captures the benefits, what would happen if the services were lost, who would pay to replace them or who would suffer, is a good starting point. Material and methods: This study is based on a survey to study the importance of Ghale Shadab Prohibited Hunting Area (GSPHA), 30km north of Dezful in Khuzestan Province, from the perspective of stakeholders. This region (5000ha) was established as Prohibited Hunting Area in 2008. Maximum and minimum absolute temperatures are 28.5°c and -6.5°c, respectively, whereas average annual precipitation is about 474mm. typical large mammals include Ursus arctos, Panthera pardus, Capra aegagrus, Hyaena hyaena. Also, notable bird species include Alectoris chukar and Ammoperdix griseogularis. People living in or around GSPHA are mainly engaged in animal husbandry, agriculture, fishery and tourism. Findings revealed that 38% of visitors are unemployed. To collect data and information, a query was conducted in the study area. Stakeholder's survey was conducted to evaluate the importance of GSPHA. Stakeholders were divided in three groups including tourists, local communities and organizations. Also, three types of questionnaires were prepared. A total of 750 respondents were interviewed representing different socio-economic and occupational groups. The respondents were selected randomly to avoid serious bias. The aim of the survey was to gather information related to demography of stakeholders (e.g., age, education and occupation), willingness to environment and wildlife, sustainable use of environmental resources, willingness to participate in environmental conservation, study of problems in GSPHA, and tourism potential of the region. Descriptive statistics were derived to summarize the property of the dataset, while analytical methods (correlation and chi-squared test) were used to analyze the data and test their differences (at 95% level of significance). Analysis was conducted using SPSS ver. 11.5 and Excel. Results and Discussion: Establishment of PAs has been the most widely accepted means of biodiversity conservation so far, supported by national and international agencies. Most communities have developed their identity and cultural characteristics over time by devising and applying a strategy to cope with a given environment, and manage its natural resources. They possess a distinctive form of social organization, and their members share in varying degrees of political, economical, social and cultural characteristics (in particular language, behavioral norms, values, aspirations and often also health and disease patterns). They also function, or have functioned in the past, as micro-political bodies with specific capacities and authority. Findings showed that stakeholders use wide range of environmental resources in this region. Study findings showed that 61.5% of tourists, 78.7% of local communities and 92% of organization personnel were male and the rest were female. This study also showed that 66.5% of tourists, 16% of local communities and 64% of organization personnel had college educations. Findings revealed that 46.4% of tourists, 41.3% of local communities and 35% of organization personnel belonged to young groups between the ages of 20-30. 50.7% of local communities were farmers, husbandmen and fishermen. Furthermore, 38 % of these communities were unemployed. The results revealed that the tourists are varied by age, sex, education, culture and occupation. In general, the number of male visitors is higher than that of female visitors in outdoor recreation and youth groups are more interested in outdoor recreation. The visitors belonged to more than 21 provinces of Iran. High percentage of younger groups and visitors with college education indicates a high tourism potential of this region. The results also revealed that education can play a vital role in determining the demand for recreational activities at the GSPHA. Lake of Dez Dam, beautiful landscapes, rivers and springs beauty, wilderness region and wildlife, Shadab historical castle and living methods of local communities were important factors for tourist attraction. This finding corresponds with the opinion of Ceballos-Lascurain (1993) that green spaces with their landscapes, flora and fauna as well as their cultural elements form attractions for tourists. According to the visitors, the remarkable problems are insufficient toilets, accommodation problem, nonavailability of drinking water, and lack of proper communication facilities, lack of sufficient safety, security and guiding, lack of parking spaces for motor vehicle. Studies on people participation in outdoor recreation found that it revitalizes human spirit, restores people's initiatives of life, and produces feeling of well-being, satisfaction, creativeness and physical conditions. Government can create opportunities to develop the tourist industry based on natural resources and protected areas (ecotourism). Tourism as a tool for wildlife and wilderness areas conservation can be promoted, and from a community perspective it is expected to provide benefits that ultimately enhance local support for the conservation of natural resources. GSPHA's resources provide a wide range of products that are used for income and subsistence by the local communities. The majority of local communities (gt;70%) believed that their dependence to GSPHA is high and very high. Supplying the forage for livestock, outdoor recreation, water supply, exploitation of wild growing medicinal plants, firewood supply, food supply, handicrafts production and Exploitation of sand and gravel are the most important uses of indigenous communities in this area. An increasing number of studies show this type of correlation between household status and livelihood dependence on ecosystem goods and services, often sourced from protected areas. Estimates of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services can provide powerful and much needed arguments to leverage additional protection for natural ecosystems which are important for development and poverty reduction. Unfortunately, economic planning has still largely failed to internalize the importance of protected areas for poverty reduction. Source

Hasanati M.,University of Marine science and Technologies | Savari A.,Khoramshahr University of Marine science and Technologies | Nikpour Y.,Khoramshahr University of Marine science and Technologies | Ghanemi K.,Khoramshahr University of Marine science and Technologies
Journal of Environmental Studies | Year: 2011

Introduction: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are globally distributed environmental contaminants which attract considerable attention because of their known toxic and bioaccumulative effects on animals. They are among the most carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic contaminants found in most coastal areas of the world. PAHs with two rings are more soluble in water and more volatile than PAHs with three rings or more, which have low solubility in water and a low vapor pressure. As molecular weight increases, the solubility and vapor pressure of PAHs decrease, while the carcinogenicity increases. Thus, heavier PAHs become more toxic and lipophilic. Sixteen individual PAH compounds have been identified as highpriority pollutants by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) due to their toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic properties. Although PAHs in the environment come from both natural and anthropogenic sources, the major sources of PAHs are anthropogenic. PAHs may be generated by three main processes: combustion of organic matter at very high temperature; release of petroleum; and diagenetic processes (degradation of organic matter). Only pyrolytic and petrogenic PAHs have quantitative importance in marine ecosystems and are the only ones addressed here. Incomplete combustion of organic matter at high temperature will release PAHs to environment as airborne particulates, or as solid or liquid byproducts of pyrolytic processes. This usually produces high molecular weighted PAHs. Low molecular weighted PAHs come into aquatic system through accidental leakage of oil spills or natural seepage. Several methods have been used to identify the sources of PAHs in marine ecosystems, one of which includes paired isomeric ratios. The objective of this study is to determine the sources of PAHs through the ratios of Low Molecular Weight/High Molecular Weight, Phenanthrene/ Anthracene, Fluoranthene/pyrene and Benzo(a)anthracene/Chrysene. Materials and Methods: Mousa Inlet is located in the northwest of the Persian Gulf. In October 2009, 3 locations were selected in Mousa Inlet, namely, Jafari (SI), Ghanam (S2) and Ahmadi (S3). Sampling of subsurface sea water, phytoplanktons, zooplanktons, and two types of fish, mullet (Liza abn), and sea bream (Acanthopagrus latus) were carried out in each station. Water samples were collected from each site using prewashed dark glass bottles. Samples were immediately refrigerated, avoiding exposure to light, and rapidly transported to the laboratory to be kept refrigerated until the extraction procedure begins. Phytoplankton samples were collected using plankton net with 55 mm mesh. Zooplankton samples were collected using plankton net with 100 mm mesh. The plankton samples were retrieved frozen (-20°C) in prewashed glass jars, and transported to the laboratory. The fish were collected by trawling (fish trawl net). Immediately after capturing, the fish were put in aluminum foils, labeled, kept in ice boxes and brought to the laboratory for chemical analysis. In laboratory, the fish samples were stored at -20°C before analysis. About 2 grams of each organism samples were submitted to saponification with 10 ml of 1 M KOH in an ethanol solution for 3 hours at 80°C. Then, 20 ml of cyclohexane was added. Samples were mixed by a shaker for 20 minutes and stabled for 10 minutes. The hexanic phase was recovered and the polar mixture was rinsed twice with two aliquots of cyclohexane. The extracts were filtered through filter paper, filled with sodium sulphate anhydrous and run-on a column filled with Florisil. The eluates were dried under a flow of air and dissolved in 1 ml of acetonitrile before the analysis. The sea water samples were filtered through filter paper. Afterwards, 10 ml of cyclohexane was added to 20 ml of each sample. Other phases of extraction were the same as other samples. Quantitative analysis of PAHs was carried out using HPLC equipped with UV detector. The software used was Chromgate, version 3.17. PAHs were separated at ambient temperature using a 25 cm long CI8 inverse column and a gradient elution program with a flow rate of 2 ml/min. At the beginning of the mobile phase, water was 60% and acetonitrile was 40% in HPLC. Acetonitrile was then gradually changed to 100% in 20 min, held at 100% for 27 min, and then decreased to the initial phase in 30 min. Statistical data analysis was performed with Excel and SPSS (ver. 16). Normality of data was assessed by means of Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. Discussion of results: The PAH concentrations of samples for 3 stations were obtained. In this study, the ratios of low molecular weight/high molecular weight (LMW/HMW), phenanthrene/anthracene (Phe/Ant), fluoranthene/pyrene (Fla/Pyr) and chrysene/benzo(a)anthracene (Chr/BaA) were assessed. Petrogenic sources are characterized by the dominance of low molecular weight aromatic compounds. High molecular weighted PAHs are mostly from pyrolytic origins. Phenanthrene is a more thermodynamically stable tricycle aromatic isomer than anthracene. Petroleum contains more Phenanthrene than anthracene. Thus, petrogenic PAHs are generally characterized by high Phe/Ant ratio. On the contrary, high temperature processes can result in low Phe/Ant ratio. Therefore, the ratios of LMW/HMW<1, Phe/Ant<10, Fla/Pyr >1, Chr/BaA>l tend to indicate that the PAH contamination has pyrolytic origin and is from combustion processes and LMW/HMW>1, Phe/Ant>10, Fla/Pyr <1, Chr/BaA>l indicate petrogenic originated pollution. The results showed that for all samples, values of LMW/HMW lower than 1 (between 0.05 and 0.67) except water sample of S2 (1.20), indicated pyrolytic originated pollution. In order to better characterization of PAH distribution, other molecular indices were used. For all samples, values of Phe/Ant were lower than 10 (between 0.18 and 7.95). This indicates pyrolytic originated pollution. Ratio of Fla/Pyr (between 0 and 1.44) indicates that these 3 stations were contaminated by both petrogenic and pyrolytic PAHs. Finally, the results showed that for the majority of samples (except for 2 samples), values of Chr/BaA lower than 1, indicate pyrolytic originated pollution. Therefore, PAHs in these 3 locations originated from both pyrolytic and petrogenic inputs, predominantly from pyrolytic origin. Mousa Inlet is highly industrialized and includes Imam Khomeini and Razi petrochemical organizations. Local sources rather than long-range air transportation were responsible for PAH contamination. This would originate from fossil fuel combustion particulates emitted by commercial ships. Combustion-derived PAHs in the atmosphere can enter the water column directly by gaseous exchange across the air-water interface, dry deposition of airborne particulate matter, or wet deposition by rainfall, and indirectly by urban runoff. Domestic and industrial wastewater and sewage are other sources of PAHs in this area. Accidental spills of crude oil and its refined products can result in petrogenic PAHs. which were more observed in water and plankton samples, because PAHs with low molecular weight are more water soluble. Conclusion: The ratios of low molecular weight/high molecular weight (LMW/HMW), phenanthrene/anthracene (Phe/Ant), fluoranthene/pyrene (Fla/Pyr) and chrysene/benzo(a)anthracene (Chr/BaA) showed that PAHs in Mousa Inlet originated from both pyrolytic and petrogenic origins while pyrolytic sources are dominated. Source

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