Environmental Management

, 48:835 | Cite as

Exploring the Park–People Relation: Collection of Vaccinium Myrtillus L. by Local People From Kopaonik National Park in Serbia

  • Jelena TomićevićEmail author
  • Ivana Bjedov
  • Dragica Obratov-Petković
  • Marina Milovanović


Exploitation of certain resources within a protected area on a sustainable basis could contribute to higher living standards of rural people, particularly those in poor countries, and decrease conflicts between these populations and park authorities. This article presents data from a case study of Kopaonik National Park (NP), Serbia, which is a park with natural resources, most notably bilberries, which have always been relied on by local people. Vaccinium myrtillus traditionally has been collected for decades in Kopaonik NP and used by local people. However, little is known about the socioeconomic and ecological relations that affect the collection and use of this species. The aim of the present study was to understand how local people collect bilberries in Kopaonik NP and what their attitudes toward the park are. Household questionnaire data were used to examine how local people collect bilberries and how to improve the relations between local people and NP authorities. The survey questionnaire included 52 households from 7 local communities, and we applied a purposive sampling strategy. In addition, expert interviews were conducted, and from these data we obtained a broader understanding of the relation between local people and NP authorities. The results indicate that in Kopaonik NP, there is a conflict between pickers and NP authorities. Sustainable management should be directed toward the protection of bilberries. Education of local people is a key element in the sustainable collection and protection of natural resources.


Attitudes Collection Kopaonik National Perk Local people Sustainable management Vaccinium myrtillus 



We thank all of our interviewees in the communities of Ravnište, Žiljci, Graševci, Blaževo, Paljevštica, Vlajkovci, and Brzeće. We especially thank the Popović family from the Žiljci community for helping us to establish contacts with our interviewees. We thank the Ministry of Science and Technology for providing funding for the doctoral research of our colleague, Ivana Bjedov at the Faculty of Forestry of the University of Belgrade. We express our gratitude to the experts included in this study: Radosav Novčić, Ana Turčinović, and Aleksandar Mijović. We also thank three anonymous reviewers for constructive and useful suggestions and comments. In addition, we thank Clara Luce for editing the initial manuscript. We are grateful for the financial support from the EFI-FOPER project on forest policy and economics for the publication of this manuscript. This manuscript was realized as a part of the project Studying Climate Change and its Influence on the Environment: Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation (43007) financed by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia within the framework of integrated and interdisciplinary research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jelena Tomićević
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ivana Bjedov
    • 1
  • Dragica Obratov-Petković
    • 1
  • Marina Milovanović
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Belgrade - Faculty of ForestryBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Union UniversityBelgradeSerbia

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