People's attitudes toward protected areas matter - but at what scale?
Management effectiveness of protected areas is dependent on the actions of people living in close proximity to their borders. Thus, gaining insights into people's attitudes toward protected areas, both positive and negative, is integral for conservation efforts. However, understanding and summarizing attitudes across large spatial scales can be difficult. Teri Allendorf, Nick Keuler, and Volker Radeloff are seeking to understand if spatial scale matters in understanding people's attitudes toward protected areas, and if this information can be used to tailor conservation planning and management strategies.
http://silvis.forest.wisc.edu/research/story/Park-people-relationships-a...), Dr. Allendorf first identified how protected areas were perceived by individuals within villages, and then assessed opinions at the village, protected area, and country scale. Teri Allendorf and Nick Keuler wanted to identify which spatial scales had the largest amount of variability in perceptions of protected areas, and within what context. Essentially, understanding if people feel the same about protected areas overall or if it varies from village to village could be a key step in improving conservation goals in these regions.What they found was that different perceptions seem to be affected by dynamics at different spatial scales. For example, at the country level, only people in Nepal perceived recreation benefits, such as taking picnics in the protected areas. This may highlight cultural differences between the two countries, and identifies the potential opportunity for public education on recreational opportunities that protected areas offer.