Unplanned Development of Tourism and its Impact on the Environment of the Lakes (Case Sample: Gahar Lake, Lorestan)

Document Type : Applied Article


1 MA Student, HSE, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad Branch

2 University of Lorestan, Faculty of Literature and Humanities


Ecotourism is a considerable economic opportunity for the regions. Gahar Lake and Oshtorankh with special biodiversity is one of the glacial traces of Iran and one of the major areas of Lorestan ecotourism. The low thresholds for vulnerability, poor environmental conditions, lake tourism and the belief in the role of risk management in spatial development planning are the necessities of this research. This research was conducted by analyzing the state of failure and its effects on the environment (EFMEA). Its aim is to identify, rank and compare the most important environmental risks, and the risks, which is resulted from the tourism in the region.
This research can lead to the reduction or elimination of human and natural damaging effects and contribute to the development of spatial development in this environment. For this purpose, the most important risks of the region were first identified, and they were based on the three variables; "probability and severity of the occurrence and dimension of the effect", and the numerical values of each risk were determined. Based on the range of changes, the grades were ranked in five categories. The results showed that among the environmental risks of the region, there are three risks that are at the priority or infinite risks with an average of 86.7.  They are "injuries due to the number of tourists, motorcycle traffic, and forage growth".
In tourism-related risks, the "large number of tourists, the seasonal limitations of the tourism, and the type of traffic and walking route" are three items with an average of 86.7 in the first place. Therefore, based on the need for mutual action, these risks require immediate action, quick corrective actions, and prohibitions. From the set of priority risks of grade one, the risk of "a large number of tourists" is among  both "environmental risks" and "tourism risks", therefore; as the most important threat to the area, it needs  planning and controlling and immediate action.
Tourism as the most extensive service industry in the world has a special place in the economic, cultural, social and political spheres [9]. Tourism development is sustainable, which is not destructive and continues indefinitely [14].
Oshtorankooh as an ecotourism zone of Lorestan is one of the areas "under management for the protection of habitats and species" [5]. Unfortunately, today, environmental conditions, relations and political-administrative conflicts over the interests of tourism in Oshtrankooh and Gahar Lake between neighboring cities have imposed new risks and conditions on the lake and the environment. [13].
The current state of the conservation and management of the Gahar Lake is alarming, and the lake is on an upward trend in the pathway of premature aging. Therefore, the vulnerability of the lake is high and needs to be reviewed and appropriate policies [12]
Due to natural and climatic constraints, the lake tourism season is limited to May, September, and October [10]. To avoid threats and reduce damage, tourism risk management in Lake Ghahr is absolutely vital.
The aim of this study was to identify the factors threatening the Lake Ghahar, and to distinguish between these factors and the environmental and tourism risks. By rating these factors, the most important risks in each region were determined and ranked. It will also provide a rational basis for sustainable development for spatial development planning in the tourism sector.
Research method and analysis
Gahar lake is located in north east of Lorestan and southern Oshtorankooh. This range in Zagros is part of the fault-elevation wall [6]. According to the reason for the formation of the Gahar lake landslide, in other words, Gahar is a fault lake [7], investigations also consider this lake glacial [20, 21]. Gahar Lake is located in the catchment area of ​​the Dez, with a length of 1800 and an average width of 500 meters [10].In this research, topographic, geological maps and 7-band of the ETM + Landsat 7 satellite with a 30 meter spatial resolution were used. The information obtained from these documents was evaluated in field works, then by using purposeful and systematic sampling, 12 experts familiar with the environment and subject were used. So the required data and regional risks were listed.
Data analysis was performed by analyzing the failure modes and its effects on the environment (EFMEA). Based on this method, the risks are based on the three criteria of "severity, likelihood and extent of effect" in the distribution tables so that based on the product of the above three criteria, each of the risks is considered as a numerical value as a threat factor.
The risks and damages of the region were categorized by experts as follows:

Environmental risks

The tourist risks

Number of tourists


A lot of tourists in ...


Construction operations
Road construction
Waste (environmental health)
Motorcycle on the road
Nomadic livestock
Destruction of vegetation
Hunt and remove the wow

Restriction of health facilities

The cost of lake tourism

Construction operations

Road construction

Road safety and danger

Waste and environmental health conditions

Lack of local markets

Climate change
Growth of the reeds
The decay of trees ...
Melting down the second lake


Physical Environment and Natural Form



Restricting the season of tourism

drowning in the lake


Type of walking and …


The difficulty of the direction.

A lot of tourists in ...

Restrictions on health facilities

The cost of lake tourism

In order to rank the risks in terms of three criteria of severity, the likelihood of the occurrence and extent of the effect on the basis of the tables of each risk in each criterion is obtained from 1 to 5 degrees. The numerical product of the three above criteria determines the final score of each risk. The values ​​of each of the risks were calculated according to their valuation. Risk classification and final valuation (RPN) risk were determined to determine the level, priority and actions required. Because the maximum score in each of the three criteria (severity, probability and magnitude of the effect) is 5, the maximum possible number for each risk is 125. The results of the tables show that in both groups the environmental risks and risks from tourism, the risk of "number of tourists" with the highest score of 100, and the "tourism cost of the lake" with the lowest value of 8. By reducing the number 8 out of 100, the range of changes is 92, and the number of classes is determined in five categories [1].The categories, limits, priority numbers and risks in each category represent the limits of the risks. These limits include the following categories: risk-free (priority 5), low risk (priority 4), medium risk (priority 3), high risk (priority 2), infinite risk (priority 1).
In environmental risk, three cases, "the number of tourists, motorcycle traffic and the growth of forks," with an average of 86.8 are the most important risks and are in the top priority (H1). Therefore, in accordance with the need for mutual action, these risks require immediate action and rapid corrective actions. "Road construction, degradation of vegetation, illegal hunting and climate change" with a mean score of 60 are ranked second (H2) environmental risks of the region and require corrective action and control.
In tourism-related risks, the three risks; the number of tourists, the season's tourism season, and the type of traffic and the pedestrian route "are ranked one (H1).
The end result is that
 In the first priority risks (H1), "a large number of tourists in the tourist season" both in the "environmental risks" group and in "tourism risks" is the most important threat to the region.
The results of fieldwork and analysis of this paper are as follows:
- There are 12 environmental risks and 14 tourism-related risks in the Gahar Lake, which could be a source of threat and damage to the lake.
- The most important environmental risks: "the number of tourists, motorcycle traffic and growth of reeds," and the most important tourist risks, "the large number of tourists, the season of tourism, and the type of traffic and walking paths."
- From the priority risks of a "large number of tourists" in the two groups, the "environmental risks and tourism-related risks" are similar and common. Therefore, this risk is considered to be the most significant threat to Gahar lake, and more than ever, it requires immediate, control and planning.


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