The use of multi-criteria evaluation and expert knowledge in developing protected area zoning plans in Jordan

Natalia M. Boulad
GIS Specialist, Conservation Monitoring Center, The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature,PO Box 1215, Amman 11941, Jordan
Abstract: Protected areas (PAs) in Jordan are managed through scientifically based management plans (MPs). Zoning plans are created as supporting plans to MPs when different management procedures need to be applied in different parts of a PA. A GIS-based zoning plan model was developed using spatial multi-criteria evaluation technique (MCE). The model was created to pro-vide a systematic repeatable approach to evaluate the conservation values and human threat, thus facilitating the decision making process for PA’s zoning in Dibeen forest in the northwest of Jordan. Cartographic modeling was used to combine datasets with different attributes by reclassifying them according to a common comparison scale, and finally adding them accord-ing to their assigned relative weights. The resulting weighted summation rasters identified areas with high conservation values-high human threat, high conservation values- low threat, and low conservation values- high hu-man threat. The PA was divided accordingly into three management zones: an intensive use zone where tourism and other human activities are allowed but restricted to a small area, a semi-intensive use zone where educational activities are allowed, and finally a wilderness zone that includes the most ecologically important and representative habitats of the PA where all hu-man activities are prohibited except wildlife research and monitoring. The zoning plan model developed for Dibeen Forest Reserve can also be applied to other  PAs in Jordan and within the region taking into consideration that the evaluation criteria and weights can be modified depending on the char-acteristics of each PA and the data available.
Key words: Protected Areas, Jordan, Forest, GIS, RSCN.

Jordan Journal of Natural History, 1, (2014), 165-180.

Other articles published in the same issue: Jordan Journal of Natural History, vol.1, iss. 1.
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