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Vulnerability assessment of wetland landscape ecosystem services using driver-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR) model

Malekmohammadi, B., Jahanishakib, F.
Ecological indicators 2017 v.82 pp. 293-303
drought, ecosystem services, ecosystems, highlands, humans, hydrology, landscapes, mining, models, multi-criteria decision making, population growth, probability, qualitative analysis, risk assessment, tourism, urban areas, water requirement, wetlands, Iran
Wetlands exist in complex ecological conditions that are changeable in time and space in terms of function and structural diversity. In recent decades, wetlands have been exposed to a wide range of threats. Assessment of these threats is essential to develop an understanding of the state of a wetland ecosystem and to develop a suitable management strategy. This paper discusses wetland vulnerability in terms of analysis of human and environmental systems from application of the driver-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR) framework. This assessment presented a systematic methodology for assessment of wetland vulnerability in a social-ecological approach applying broad-scale ecosystem services and vulnerability functions. The method combined the hydro-geomorphic approach with estimations of vulnerability indicators and DPSIR analysis. The aim of this paper was to assess vulnerability of wetland ecosystem services and to characterize the threat indicators according to importance, severity, and probability of occurrence. Quantitative and qualitative methods were applied to characterize values for these three indicators. The Multi Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) method was used to prioritize threats and impacts of the wetland on the basis of experts’ opinions. The proposed methodology was applied to the Choghakhor international wetland landscape in south-western Iran. Vulnerability assessment revealed that water requirement of the lowland and the water transfer system were the most important factors threatening the wetland. Agricultural activities, settlements and urban areas, drought, tourism, population growth, and mining activities in the upland were the next most important priorities, in that order. Hydrological balance was determined as the most vulnerable function and was considered as the most important function in the Choghakhor wetland. The DPSIR model was used to determine a management strategy to reduce vulnerability of ecosystem services in response to drivers, pressures, states and impacts indicated by modelling.