عنوان مقاله [English]
Background and Objectives: Knowledge about land uses and their changes over time is a significant factor in land-use planning and management. This could be used to predict future changes and to take appropriate preventive actions. Public participation approach for land use planning and preventing improper land uses are important practical tools for optimizing water, soil and plant management. In this research, public perception on land use modification in Chehel-Chai Watershed, Golestan Province (Iran), was investigated through field surveys.
Materials and Methods: A questionnaire was prepared and its validity and reliability was confirmed by expert elicitation from academics and experts and Cronbach's alpha test (α = 0.87), respectively. The statistical population of this study includes villagers in Chehelchai watershed. The total population of this catchment area is 13,017 people, 373 of whom were randomly selected from among the total population. Descriptive techniques within SPSS software was used for data analysis. At first, factors that hinder the improvement and optimization of land use owned by the villagers and farmers were identified and scored. Then, the factors that promote the acceptance of land use improvement and optimization operations by farmers and villagers were investigated.
Results: The results indicated that the most important factors hindering land use optimization are the lack of financial power of the villagers, lack of support from banks and government institutions, farmers' lack of awareness and low value of agricultural land in terms of production per unit area. The most important factors that could improve land use modification are involvement of people in the formulation of solutions and planning, assurance of ownership of cropland, providing financial and spiritual incentives, farmers' convenient access to engineers and experts and organizing extension and training courses and classes. Finally, by comparing popular acceptance of land use optimization strategies, it has been shown that villagers are in agreement with the option of permanent crop cultivation to optimize landslide slopes, as well as the conversion of sloping croplands to gardens, and, if performed, and Land use improvement program The villagers are prepared to implement land reform programs and, if they plan, plan more than three quarters of their land for implementation of operations and programs.
Conclusion: Overall, the most important action to be taken before implementing the watershed programs in the villages is to increase the villagers' awareness of such programs and involve them in the early stages of the program implementation. Public acceptance of participatory programs are much higher.