Saturday, 15 July 2006

Instruments to Evaluate the Agroecological and Environmental Deterioration in Motatan River Basin, Venezuela.

José Mendoza1, Edgar Jaimes1, Neida Pineda1, Yalitza Ramos2, and Juana Linares3. (1) Soil and Water Reasearch Group, Los Andes Univ, Avenue Medina Angarita, Carmona Sector,, Trujillo, Venezuela, (2) Univ Bolivariana de Venezuela, Carretera Vía La Concepción, Maracaibo, Venezuela, (3) Univ de Los Andes, Avenida Isaías Medina Angarita, Sector Carmona, Trujillo, Venezuela

The agroecological and environmental deterioration of natural resources have been increasing in the last decades, among other reasons, for the scarce participation of the communities in the final decision making concurring the activities witch affect the soil, water and wildlife. That deterioration is observed in the loss of the productive properties of soils, the increasing deforestation and the decrease of stream and river flow as well as the loss of biological diversity. However, in the last years have emerged a set of methodological proposals to promote citizens participation in the decision making to attend diverse problems which unfavorable affect the utilization of natural resources. The main objective in this investigation is to propose methodological instruments which contribute to evaluate the agroecological and environmental deterioration in hydrographic basins, using the local knowledge of the communities, which inhabit and work in these basin, as the main source of information. The basic premise is to consider human being not just as a producer but also as a receiver of the impacts (effects) coming from his biophysical and social environment, keeping in mind that an important part of the negative impacts they receive are consequence of their own actions (causes), thus conditioning their life quality. The instruments which are briefly proposed are the following: 1) Matrix Cause – Effect, understanding as a cause any factor or natural process or antropic which act externally or internally against certain landscape or agroecosystem producing deterioration or degradation, expressed in terms of negative effects or problems. Nine causes and 7 effects were defined. Causes as well as effects can be identified through a series of indicators which are easy to describe measure and verify for any inhabitant of the river basin. The valuation of the relationship Cause – Effect is based on indicators of agroecological and environmental sustainability (Capacity of Human Charge). 2) Matrix Problem – Solution, understanding as a problem each one of the deteriorating effects of the environment or agroecosystem which have been previously valuated in the matrix Cause–Effect. The solutions are those which are necessary to manage or control the factors and processes which cause the environmental and agroecological deterioration in a river basin in a given period of time. To estimate the levels of feasibility in the execution of these actions (solutions) a series of valuation criteria are used, in terms of the minimal requirements to achieve an efficient control of the environmental and agroecological deterioration. 3) Global analysis of the environmental and agroecological deterioration. This is based on the information obtained from the application of the matrix Cause–Effect in the areas or hydrographic basic which are studied. In that sense, it is necessary to use empirical relationships which make possible to determinate the indexes of deterioration associated with cause and specific effects or the deterioration associated with a set of all causes or all effects whose relationship was quantified in the matrix Cause–Effect. There validation essays were conducted between 2003 and 2005, in three sample areas of the Motatan basin. According to the results, a definition of a set of actions from the communities and the entities responsible for environmental policies, was obtained, these take in to account the sustainable management of natural resources, in order to minimize the environmental and agroecological deterioration in water producer basins in Venezuela, mainly in the Andean region.

Keywords: environmental deterioration, Matrix Cause – Effect, Matrix Problem – Solution, Motatán river basin, Venezuela.

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