Spatial Assessment of the Relationship between Environmental Vulnerability and Rural Community Resilience in East-Azerbaijan Province

Document Type : علمی


Tarbiat Modares University


Extended abstract
Resilience and vulnerability represent two related yet different approaches to understanding the response of systems and actors to environmental changes. Rural community resilience assessment can be regarded as a recent development in the field of resilience assessment and the last decade has been a proliferation of works focused on this topic. Research into vulnerability and resilience to hazard is increasingly growing during the last decades. Vulnerability and resilience can be viewed as separate but often linked together. Vulnerability is a degree of harm in a system that exists before events like disasters or contributes to the amount of risk of exposure, while resilience is the condition that helps systems to absorb, deal with, and adapt to hazard and disasters. The purpose of this study is to develop an innovative integrated approach to deal with natural hazard and to promote rural community resilience capacity in terms of rural planning. Under the grounded main approach of this research, the entire paper attempts to answer this question: is there any significant relationship between environmental vulnerability and rural community resilience capacity? If so, where and which spheres are most vulnerable in the environmental condition or where is the most resilient in the term of rural communities? To answer these question East-Azarbijan is used as study area.
While the tree concepts of resilience, adaptive capacity, and vulnerability have developed isolation, they have to converge within different disciplinary fields. The concept of vulnerability is used among a variety of fields and disciplines such as disaster management, ecology, development, economics, anthropology, geography, global change, and environmental studies. Vulnerability does not only show exposure to hazards, but also it exists in the resilience of the systems experiencing the hazard. In the term of social-ecological system introduced four clusters of factors which seem to be important in building resilience. These factors include 1) learning to live with change and uncertainty 2) fostering diversity in the variety forms 3) promoting learning with multidisciplinary approach, and 4) making opportunity for self-organization.
Environmental vulnerability spheres identification is an important step for sustainable environmental protection framework.
In order to explore the relationship between environmental vulnerability and rural community resilience, we developed an innovative research methodology by using vulnerability and resilience assessment literature review. In this sense, EVI and RCRI Indies were used to gain insight of the distribution of environmental vulnerability and its relation with rural community resilience. It was decided that to better understanding of the linkage between EVI and RCRI, GIS-based analysis had to be used. Therefore, six criteria for each one of the aforementioned indices were selected. The selection of evaluating criteria plays a pivot role in an environmental vulnerability and resilience assessment, and should be operational, indicative and representative.
In the next step, fuzzy normalization and pairwise comparison (AHP) for weighting criteria separately in each phase were used.
The above method yielded important results, which are presented below, focusing first on environmental vulnerability, then rural community resilience followed by classification of resilient condition in rural area at rural district units. Finally, the relationship between environmental vulnerability and rural community resilience have been argued.
The analysis of results indicates that the most vulnerable areas are located in the low level of rural resilience capacity. Regional differences in the distribution of community resilience and environmental vulnerability was also found with the west being particularly resilient. The Southeast and central region of study area are prone to low levels of resilience and high level of vulnerability.
This paper elaborated two new empirical frameworks (EVI and RCRI) that address the critical question of why and how rural communities should do in order to move toward a more resilient state in the future.
This article contributes to the disaster literature by assessing and linking two concepts that are highly related. To do so, environmental vulnerability and rural community assessment in counties across the East Azarbijan province was measured. The results show that the study area is threatened by environmental vulnerability in central area which encompassed in Heris, Varzegan and Tabriz counties. The environmental vulnerability increased with reduction of rural community resilience capacity. On this basis, there is a significant relationship between environmental vulnerability and rural community resilience which needs to be more considered in the local planning and rural development challenges. In other words, the findings show that there is a correlation between high levels of vulnerability and low levels of resilience capacity. However, this method still needs further attention to be improved for reducing the subjectivness of judgments. In applying this method in other regions, it is need to pay attention to what factors seem to be important in determining the local environmental vulnerability, but it is eristic to need a coherent approach to choose appropriate rural or even community resilient factors.


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