Impact Assessment of Natural Resources and the Watershed Management Comprehensive Project in the West Part of Shiraz County on the Local Environment as Perceived by Its Beneficiaries

Document Type : Original Articles


1 M.Sc. Student Agricultural Extension and Education, Faculty of Agricultural, University of Shiraz, Shiraz

2 Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Faculty of Agricultural, University of Shiraz, Shiraz


Environmental impact assessment is a planning tool that estimates the environmental impact of projects on the environment. This research was conducted to assess the environmental impact of the Natural Resources and Watershed Management Comprehensive Project in the west of Shiraz county (Bunrode Zangeneh sub watershed) from its users’ viewpoint. The results are intended to provide solutions to enhance the appropriateness of the project, in the aspect mentioned, using qualitative and quantitative research methods, survey techniques and semi-structured interviews. The sample group in this study included 268 members of the local Natural Resources and Watershed Management Cooperative. Stratified random sampling was used to select cooperative members. In the qualitative section of the research, according to the users’ viewpoint, internal and external factors affecting the project were recognized and classified using SWOT analysis. Twenty members of the cooperative were selected as the sample group for the qualitative part of the research. The findings of the quantitative part of the research revealed that the project did have an affect on environmental factors (soil quality, water and vegetation), based on the users’ viewpoint. Internal analysis of the project, based on the users’ viewpoint, revealed that the following factors were recognized as the important environmental strengths of the project: Reduction in surface flow, nutrient leaching and soil erosion, whereas, the important environmental weakness of the project included an inability to determine the precise boundaries between areas. External analysis of the project from the users’ viewpoint revealed that an important opportunity provided by the project included determination of the limits of national territories and the separation of private land, whereas, important environmental threats of the project included the shortage and poor distribution of rainfall. Several recommendations have been presented at the end of the paper for better project management in the future.