Volume 11, Issue 39 (Spring 2022 2022)                   2022, 11(39): 147-162 | Back to browse issues page

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Ghorbani A, Joudi Damirchi M, Motiei N. An Investigation into the Effect of Environmental Capability on Economic Development of Rural Areas in Isfahan Province. SPACE ECONOMY & RURAL DEVELOPMENT 2022; 11 (39) :147-162
URL: http://serd.khu.ac.ir/article-1-3805-en.html
1- M.Sc. Graduate of Rural Development, Tehran University, Karaj, Iran. , asiye.ghorbani@ut.ac.ir
2- M.Sc. Graduate of Agricultural Management, Tehran University, Karaj, Iran.
3- Assistant Professor, Department of Agriculture Management and Development, Tehran University, Karaj, Iran.
Abstract:   (1083 Views)
The first step in spatial planning is the recognition of the environment and its latent capabilities. However, planning for development, especially rural development, should be based on a real understanding of the potential and talents of rural areas. Evidently, a major factor implicated in the failure of rural development planning is the negligence of the environment; indeed, any geographical space has its own potential, capabilities, and facilities for development. Human communities cannot survive apart from economic, social, and physical factors and depend on nature, especially the environment, to meet their basic needs.

The research was an applied, non-experimental, library, and document based study with a quantitative paradigm. The statistical population was composed of rural areas in Isfahan Province of Iran. The study was conducted at the county level so that 24 counties in Isfahan Province were investigated in terms of rural economic development. The research had two sets of variables.  a dependent variable, i.e., rural economic development, and independent variables including human resources development, access to infrastructural factors, and environmental capability, which were all quantitative. The data were both quantitative and imagery, collected by the library and document method. The ecological capability section was analyzed by Dr. Makhtoum’s multi-factor evaluation method. The criteria of the ecological capability were assigned with weights using the pairwise comparison technique of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). Then, the criteria were integrated using the weighted linear combination method. Ultimately, the final fuzzy map was classified based on the mean and standard deviation (SD) of the value of its pixels in the ENVI5.1 software package. The aggregated index calculation method was employed to estimate other parameters including rural economic development, human resources development, and access to infrastructural factors. Eventually, the multivariate regression method was applied to explore the effect of independent variables on rural economic development. The software packages used in the research included SPSS and MS-excel for statistical analyses and the calculation of aggregated indices, Super Decisions for assigning weights to the environmental capability criteria by the pairwise comparison technique, ENVI5.1 for standardizing information layers of the criteria and categorizing land-uses based on the mean and SD of the pixel values, ArgGIS 10.1 for aggregating and preparing information layers, estimating the areas of each section, and producing the output maps, and SHAZAM for performing the regression analysis and testing the estimator hypotheses of ordinary least squares (OLS).

Discussion and Conclusion
According to the results, Isfahan County had the highest and Semirom County had the lowest rate of economic development in their rural areas. Naeen and Dehaqn Counties showed the highest and lowest levels of human resources development, respectively. The highest and lowest access to the infrastructural factors were related to the counties of Khomeynishahr and Semirom, respectively and Chadegan and Khour-va-Biabanak Counties had the highest and lowest ecological capabilities, respectively. A closer look at the results revealed that although some counties such as Chadegan, Bueen Miyandasht, and Semirom had high ecological potential; however, they were at the lowest level of the economic development of rural areas. In contrast, counties like Isfahan, Ardestan, Aran-va-Bidgol, and Naeen with weaker ecological capabilities were at higher levels of economic development in their rural areas.
Based on the analysis of the effect of variables on economic development with multivariate regression, the coefficient of determination (R2) was estimated at 0.806 for the model. The statistic shows that 80.6% of the variance in rural economic development is accounted for by three variables of ecological capability, human resources development, and infrastructural factors and 19.4% is related to other factors not included in the model. The results of the regression analysis show that the relative importance or effectiveness of the ecological capability is 0.23 whereas the relative importance of the access to infrastructural factors is 0.65 and the relative importance of the human resources development is 0.35. According to the results, rural economic development in Isfahan province is mainly affected by the variable of access to infrastructural factors and least affected by ecological capability. This is an unexpected result because the rural economy is based on ecological resources and capability since most of the people in the rural areas are employed in agriculture and related activities. Also, the results showed that the variances in the three independent variables are not consistent, reflecting the fact that the policies adopted by development planners have not distributed infrastructure endowments in accordance with environmental potential. If they were distributed proportionally, regions with higher environmental capability should have had more infrastructural facilities. Therefore, infrastructure development and credit distribution are influenced by factors other than environmental potential.
In general, if capabilities and facilities are considered for rural economic development, it will be possible to realize economic development in villages and achieve an optimal level of economic development in these areas. It is, therefore, necessary to adopt policies and strategies for rural development that are consistent with environmental potential.

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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2022/06/18 | Accepted: 2022/05/31

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