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People Parks Win-Win Framework: Integrating components that can influence people-park relationships

Abstract: Protected areas are often surrounded by impoverished communities. Biodiversity must be conserved while improving community well-being. Greater insight is required into what influences pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour in these communities. Much appears to rest on the relationships between protected area staff and local communities surrounding the parks, yet there is limited understanding of stakeholders’ perceptions and how to pragmatically achieve win-win solutions. With the current lack of a multidimensional framework to enhance understanding of this complex and dynamic relationships, this research aimed to construct a comprehensive integrated framework representing the components that can influence people-park relationships. The framework was constructed via a threefold approach, namely a broader literature review, a focused study of existing schemata and primary research regarding the attitudes and behaviour of three local communities bordering three different protected areas in South Africa. The resultant People Parks Win-Win Framework consists of four layers (each with its own components): ‘External context’, ‘Stakeholders’, ‘Community beneficiation’ and ‘Outputs’. Its unique arrangement focuses on beneficiation, inclusion of more stakeholders and their characteristics, the centrality of relationships and demonstration of outputs (how preceding layers can culminate in win-wins and how pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour fit into this). A simplified framework is also provided, for stakeholders to superimpose their own characteristics, benefits, influences and beneficiation principles. This research draws on the work of others as well as primary research to produce this multidimensional framework capturing the influences on people-park relationships with a focus on achieving both community well-being and biodiversity conservation. Conservation implications: Win-wins for community well-being and biodiversity conservation are complex. Yet potential exists for tangible and intangible beneficiation, which can foster positive attitudes resulting in pro-conservation behaviour and robust reciprocate relationships between parks and neighbouring communities. To this end, the framework serves as a practical tool for protected area managers and stakeholders involved in the people-park relationships, which can be customised to particular contexts.
Keywords: Win / attitudes / behaviour / influence people park relationships / biodiversity conservation / community well

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