The role and function of monitoring within the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of reafforestation projects : a Greek case study
The present thesis examines the role and function of monitoring of reafforestation projects within EIA process. The first part presents the development and evolution of research in the field of environmental monitoring within EIA processes. It sets out the problems encountered when reafforestation projects are considered in a monitoring framework. The first contribution of the thesis is to propose a monitoring design applicable to reafforestation projects. The proposed monitoring design overcomes certain difficulties and malfunctions of traditional designs by adopting a new approach to the problem of monitoring reafforestation impacts. The suitability of the proposed design is examined and tested in a case study area in Greece by monitoring impacts of reafforestation on soil, landscape and the local economy. Two sets of results are reached. The first concerns with detection of reafforestation impacts on the three parameters of environment that were examined. The second concerns with the role and function of the proposed monitoring design. Reafforestation was found to have several impacts on the three parameters of the environment. Impacts on soil include changes in selected physical and chemical properties. Impacts on the local economy refer to the financial and economic efficiency of reafforestation projects including a sensitivity analysis. Moreover, impacts on economic activity, economic equilibrium, individual welfare, and local government are assessed. Impacts on landscape refer to impacts on "near view" and "vista" scenes that follow reafforestation projects. It is considered that the proposed monitoring design is superior to the old traditional monitoring systems for reafforestation. The proposed design produces scientifically valid research due to the use of standard methodology. It produces very good forecasts of impacts and secures the decision making process of an EIA. Finally, a computerised database for environmental information retrieval and storage is designed and demonstrated.