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Environ Manage. 2007 Apr;39(4):515-25. Epub 2007 Jan 29.

Environmental policy beliefs of stakeholders in protected area management.

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  • 1Department of Ecology, School of Biology, Aristotle University, 54124, Thessaloniki, Greece.


Although the importance of understanding stakeholder beliefs regarding environmental policy has been noted by many authors, research focusing on the heterogeneity of stakeholder views is still very scarce and concentrated on a product-oriented definition of stakeholders. The aim of the present study is to address this gap by examining environmental policy beliefs of stakeholder groups engaged in protected area management. Questionnaires containing 73 five-point Likert scale items were administered to eight different stakeholder groups involved in the management of Greek protected areas. Items referred to core beliefs on environmental policy, namely, the value framework and sustainable development, and secondary beliefs, that is, beliefs on social consensus and ecotourism development. Our study used as a starting point respondent recruitment on the basis of a traditional product-centered approach. We investigated whether environmental policy beliefs can be used to effectively segregate stakeholders in well-defined segments, which override the product-oriented definition of stakeholders. Indeed, K-means clustering revealed an innovation-introduction and an implementation-charged sample segment. The instrument utilized in this research proved quite reliable and valid in measuring stakeholder environmental policy beliefs. Furthermore, the methodology implied that stakeholder groups differ in a significant number of belief-system elements. On the other hand, stakeholder groups were effectively distinguished on a small set of both core and secondary beliefs. Therefore, the instrument used can be an effective tool for determining and monitoring environmental policy beliefs of stakeholders in protected area management. This is of considerable importance in the Greek case, given the recent establishment of 27 administrative bodies of protected areas, all of which are required to incorporate public consultation into management practices.

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