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Title: An emerging paradigm for managing protected areas with examples from Europe and the United States

Author: Absher, James; Mann, Carsten;

Date: 2010

Source: International Journal of Sociology 40(3): 86-103

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Parks and Protected Areas (PPA) have become increasingly important for societal well-being in Europe and the United States. Urbanization, detachment from nature, and demographic changes are fostering discussions about strengthening the social and cultural dimensions of management. The complexities and subtleties of incorporating PPAs into existing government and societal contexts are explored with a focus on institutional and governance principles and an emerging paradigm that might deal with some conflicts.

We present two examples, in their respective institutional contexts, that illustrate different ways to address one PPA aspect, recreation management. One example, from the Black Forest of southern Germany, has management principles that were developed jointly by public and agency representatives. Notable among the principles were shifts in management objectives, permanent participative planning approaches, and the assessment of institutional fit. A second example, from California, addressed recreation in a typical forestwide plan. People were engaged through public comment on, and reactions to, proposed directions prepared by forest staff. Specific recreation conflict potentials were left to emerge in later, more specific programmatic plans.

The examples show how the suggested new governance principles are addressed in practice and how they might contribute to a better scientific understanding of the social functions of recreation. The challenges of moving from existing planning models to this new paradigm are also recognized.

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Absher, James; Mann, Carsten 2010. An emerging paradigm for managing protected areas with examples from Europe and the United States. International Journal of Sociology. 40(3): 86-103.


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