Exploring beneficiary adaptation behaviour to drought effects in Shadegan wetlands: application of the vulnerability theory

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, Ramin Agricultural and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan, Ahvaz, Iran.


As the largest international wetland in Iran, Shadegan Wetland is one of the most important and valuable wetlands in the country and, even, the world. The widespread nature of the wetland, its natural character, high abundance of plant species, animals and its habitats has brought tremendous value to the wetland. In recent years, this valuable wetland has been exposed to drying up and destruction due to natural and human factors. The livelihood of rural households in the area is in all respects indebted to Shadegan Wetland: The death of the wetland will be accompanied by the death of their livelihood. One of the ways to reduce the vulnerability of marginalized people in Shadegan Wetland is to emphasize on their adaptation behaviors. In this regards, the present study aimed to explore beneficiaries Conservation Behavior against drought effects in Shadegan Wetlands based on vulnerability theory.
Material and methods:
The present study in terms of its nature and objectives is practical, in terms of data collection, is a descriptive survey and, in terms of analyzing the data, is a correlation study. The total population were the rural operators living in the central part of the town and Khnafereh village in Shadegan City, Khuzestan Province (Iran). They consisted of eight villages with 2319 household operators (N=2319). A random-quota method was used as sampling (n=124) and data were gathered via the use of a research-based questionnaire. The reliability of the questionnaire was confirmed by calculating Cronbach’s alpha coefficient as greater than 0.76. The validity of the questionnaire was confirmed by a panel of experts, and the data were analyzed using SPSSv20 and AMOSv20.
Results and discussion:
According to the results, 47.6 percent of the beneficiaries of the wetland show an irresponsible behaviour towards the vulnerability of natural and human hazard and 52.4 percent of them have responsible behaviour. Results of the study showed that sensitivity has a significantly positive effect on vulnerability (β=0.377) and conservation behaviour (β=0.208). Exposure has a significantly positive effect on vulnerability (β=0.492) and conservation behaviour (β=0.3). Also, the results revealed that exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity predict a 41% variation in vulnerability. Exposure, sensitivity and vulnerability predict a 20 % variation in conservation behaviour.
Thus, it can be concluded that exposure of the beneficiaries to the drought conditions of Shadegan Wetland and their sensitivity to drought have resulted in vulnerability and adaptation behaviour among them. Hence, exposure to wetland droughts can have both direct and indirect effects on their lives. For example, changing product performance in response to drought can be one of the direct effects of this phenomenon. Also, an increase in unemployment resulting from the drying of the wetland due to the reduction of Karun and Jarahi rivers is one of its indirect effects. Therefore, the residents of the area are going to respond to these and this will lead to the adaptation behaviour of the beneficiaries.


  1. Afzali, M. and Afzali, A., 2013. Determination of drought condition in Shadegan Wetland. In Proceedings 1st Conference on Protection of Iranian Wetlands and Ecosystems, 24th July. Hamadan, Iran, pp. 108.
  2. Anonymous, 2010. Plan of Conservation of Iranian Wetlands in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Protection, Khuzestan. Shadegan wetland management plan. February 2010.
  3. Antwi-Agyei, P., Dougill, A.J., Fraser, E.D.G. and Stringer, L.C., 2012. Characterizing the nature of vulnerability to climate variability: Empirical evidence from two regions of Ghana. Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. Working Paper, No. 105
  4. Arbuckle, J.L., 2010. IBM SPSS AMOSTM 19 User’s Guide. Available online at: http://www.amosdevelopment.com/download/amos.pdf
  5. Aymone Gbetibouo, G. and Ringler, C., 2009. Mapping South African farming sector vulnerability to climate change and variability. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Discussion Paper 00885.
  6. Bekele, W. and Drake, L., 2003. Soil and water conservation decision behavior of subsistence farmers in the eastern highlands of Ethiopia: a case study of the Hunde-Laffto area. Ecological Economics. 46, 437-451.
  7. Bicard, S.C. and Bicard D.F., 2012. Defining behavior. Available online at: http://www.iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/case_studies/ICS-015.pdf
  8. Brody, S.D., Zahran, S., Vedlitz, A. and Grover, H., 2008. Examining the relationship between P.V. and public perception of global climate change in the United States. Environment and Behavior. 40 (1), 72-95.
  9. Cafiero, C. and Vakis, R., 2006. Risk and vulnerability considerations in poverty analysis: Recent advances and future directions. Social Protection Unit, Human Development Network. The World Bank, Washington, D.C. Discussion Paper 0610.
  10. Cocozza, J. and Senior, P., 2009. Economic and environmental benefits of Wetlands. Available online at: http://www.co.dutchess.ny.us/CountyGov/Departments/Planning/planonitoctnov2009.pf
  11. Cutter, S., Barnes, L., Berry, M., Burton, C., Evans, E., Tate, E. and Webb, J., 2008. Community and regional resilience: Perspectives from hazards, disasters, and emergency management. Columbia, South Carolina: Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute. CARRI Research Report 1.
  12. Elrick-Barr, C., Preston, B., Thomsen, D. and Smith, T., 2014. Toward a new conceptualization of household adaptive capacity to climate change: applying a risk governance lens. Ecology and Society, 19(4), 12-24.
  13. Fatemi, M., and Karami, E., 2010. Case study of analysis of the causes and effects of drought. Iranian Journal of Agricultural Extension and Education, 6 (2), 96-77.
  14. Hooper, D., Coughlan, J. and Mullen, M., 2008. Structural equation modelling: Guidelines for determining model fit. The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6 (1), 53–60.
  15. http://www.csiro.au/org/ClimateAdaptationFlagship.html
  16. Karimi, K., Taqi Beygi Nasiri, M. and Karimi, A., 2011. Analysis of effects of interaction between dust and drought on livestock production. In Proceedings 1st International Congress deal with the phenomenon of dust and its harmful effects, Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Ramin in Khuzestan, 26th – 28th February, Ahvaz, Iran, pp.285-279.
  17. Kazmierczak, A. and Handley, J., 2011. The vulnerability concept: use within GRaBS. Available online at: http://www.grabs-eu.org/Kazmierczak_Handley_vulnerability_review.docx
  18. Kelly, P.M. and Adger, W.N. 2000. Theory and practice in assessing vulnerability to climate change and facilitating adaptation. Climatic change, 47(4), 325-352.
  19. Keshavarz, M., Karami, E. and Zamani, Gh., 2010. Vulnerability of family’s farmers from the drought: A case study. Iranian Journal of Agricultural Extension and Education. 6(2), 32-15.
  20. Khajehpour, M., Golabkesh, Sh., and Ghiyasi, M., 2010. The importance of international Shadegan wetland (values, threats and ways of its improvement). National Conference of wetlands and their role in Integrated Water Resource Management, Water Resources Management Company, 25th Jan, Tehran, Iran, P. 108.
  21. Khosravi, M., 2012. Analysis of a dust source: how does Houralazim change to Houralsaghier. Dust storms Climatology Blog. Available at: http://www.duststorm.mihanblog.com/post/37
  22. Malone, E., 2009. Vulnerability and resilience in the face of climate change: current research and needs for population information. Washington, DC. Population Action International.
  23. Mironga, J.M., 2005. Effect of farming practices on Wetlands of Kisii District, Kenya. Ecology and Environmental Research, 3(2), 81-91.
  24. Monfared, N., Tavakoli, K. and Nasori, M., 2011. Studying of economic damage of drought and dust on plants of the Bushehr province. In proceeding 1st International Congress deal with the phenomenon of dust and its harmful effects, Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Ramin in Khuzestan, 26th – 28th February, 321-317.
  25. Moradzadeh, M., 2012. Building a plant in the Shadegan Wetland. Jaam Jam Newspaper, No. 3465, 2 August 2012, 15.
  26. Naumann, G., Barbosa, P., Garrote, L., Iglesias, A. and Vogt, J., 2014. Exploring drought vulnerability in Africa: an indicator based analysis to be used in early warning systems. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 18(2), 156-160.
  27. Omann, I., Jager, J., Grunberger, S. and Wesely, J., 2010. Report on the development of the conceptual framework for the vulnerability assessment. SERI, Vienna, Austria: The CLIMSAVE Project.
  28. Preston, B. and Stafford-Smith, M., 2009. Framing vulnerability and adaptive capacity assessment: Discussion paper. CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship Working paper No.2. Available online at:
  29. Rajabi, G. and Karjo Kasmaie, S. 2012. Adequate psychometric indices Persian version of Beck Depression Second Edition (BDI-II). Journal of Educational Measurement. 10(3), 139-157.
  30. Reinard, J.C., 2006. Communication research statistics: Part V: Advanced statistical applications: Chapter 16: Confirmatory factor analysis through the Amos Program. California: Sage Publications.
  31. Scheinkman, M. and Dekoven Fishbane, M., 2004. The vulnerability cycle: Working with impasses in couple therapy. Family Process, 43, 279-299.
  32. Sima, S. and Tajrishi, M., 2006. Estimating of water needs of Shadegan Wetland. Available at: http://www.ewrc.sharif.edu/pdf_folder/Shadegan%20EWR-Sima.pdf
  33. Smit, B. and Wandel, J. 2006. Adaptation, adaptive capacity and vulnerability. Global Environmental Change, 16, 282-292.
  34. Whitmarsh, L., 2008. Are flood victims more concerned about climate change than other people? The role of direct experience in risk perception and behavioral response. Journal of Risk Research 11 (3), 351–374.
  35. Xiaoqian, L., Yanglin, W., Jian, P., Kbraimoh, A. and He, Y., 2013. Assessing vulnerability to drought based on exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity: A case study in Middle Inner Mongolia of China. Chinese Geographical Science Journal, 23(1), 13-25.
  36. Zahran, S., Brody, S.D., Grover, H. and Vedlitz, A., 2006. Climate change vulnerability and policy support. Society and Natural Resources, 19(9), 771-789.