'Recoupling' People and Parks
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The challenge of managing protected areas in the 21st Century is perhaps more about managing people than managing nature. There are many examples of protected landscapes around the world which have experienced tensions in reconciling effective conservation and the demands of expanding populations. This poster presentation will explore some of those tensions using two examples from diverse cultural and environmental perspectives. We will present the idea that there has been a decoupling between human needs and the needs of wildlife conservation. The establishment of protected areas, such as National Parks, originates from multiple drivers including conservation of specific ecosystem types, protection from development, and the provision of recreation access and tourism. Often these drivers are derived from the need to address a specific environmental problem but fundamentally result in much broader impacts on both people and ecosystems, often leading to conflict. Solutions come from understanding the wider context that has led to the environmental problem and finding ways to address it which encourage and support the ‘re-coupling’ of people and protected areas. Clearly this is no easy task as some of problems/pressures stem from countries and practices well beyond the reach of the protected areas themselves. However, without proper recognition that these issues are complex and interwoven with political, cultural and economic factors, there is little chance of making any significant impact in resolving them.
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