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J Environ Manage. 2010 Sep;91(9):1847-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2010.04.010. Epub 2010 May 23.

Local attitudes on protected areas: evidence from three Natura 2000 wetland sites in Greece.

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Biodiversity Conservation Laboratory, Department of Environment, University of the Aegean, 811 00 Mytilene, Greece.


Environmental policies aimed at the conservation of protected areas are significantly influenced by social factors revealing the importance of investigating local knowledge and perceptions during their planning and implementation. The present article aims to explore perceptions and awareness of citizens in three protected areas of Greece: The National Park of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace, the Wetland of Kalloni, and Lake Tavropou. The survey explores perceptions of individuals on environmental issues and alternative management scenarios referring to management actors, funding sources, and management schemes for the conservation of biodiversity. Differences between the three research areas are also explored. According to the results of the study, citizens are in general supportive of protected areas and present relatively high levels of knowledge of environmental issues. However, environmental awareness is not accompanied by active participation for the resolution of environmental problems. By exploring differences between the three research areas, it is revealed that the provision of information significantly influences individuals' perceptions on relevant issues. Also, a significant finding of the study is that citizens are supportive of some forms of participatory management. It is essential, to encourage public participation and deliberation in order to promote their sustainable management.

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