Evaluation of the Vulnerability of Rural Settlements Against Environmental Hazards: A Case Study of Birjand and Khosf

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate professor of Geography, Department of Geography, ,Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Birjand University, Birjand, Iran.

2 Assistant professor of Geography, Department of Geography, ,Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran.


Natural hazards over time lead to the destruction of natural and human infrastructures in rural areas. The spatial analysis of hazards and their relation to the man-made environment can explain our perception of space in spatial relationships. This research first seeks to discover the natural hazards in the study area and then identify the villages that are unstable in the face of natural disasters. The study was carried out in two steps. First, a database was created of the most important environmental hazards (i.e. drought, earthquake, frost, dust, salinity and water hardness) in the GIS environment. Through the fuzzy weighing method, the final map of the hazards in the area was plotted, its hot and cold spots were identified, and the risk patterns were detected. Then, the population base of 540 villages in the region was analyzed for six census periods (1977-1987-1997-2007-2012-2017). This was done by collecting data on the severity, frequency of hazards and the level of rural resilience. The data collection tool was a specific questionnaire on the environmental hazards of the region. The results show that 250 villages have a zero or negative population growth. The southern and northern regions are severely vulnerable. Also, through a combination of the hazard sets, 47% of the area was found to be in a high-risk zone, which includes 67 villages.


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