A Combined Park Management Framework Based on Regulatory and Behavioral Strategies: Use of Visitors' Knowledge to Assess Effectiveness
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In light of the increasing mandate for greater efficiency in conservation of natural reserves such as national parks, the present study suggests educational approaches as a tool to achieve conservation purposes. Currently, the management of human–wildlife interactions is dominated by regulatory strategies, but considerable potential exists for environmental education to enhance knowledge in the short run and to prompt attitude change in the long run. A framework for conservation based on both traditional regulatory- and behavior-oriented strategies was proposed whereby the level of knowledge that park visitors have acquired comprises an obvious outcome and establishes a basis upon which the effectiveness of regulatory- and behavior-based regimes could be assessed. The perceptions regarding park-related issues of two distinct visitor groups (locals and nonlocals) are summarized from a survey undertaken in Vikos-Aoos national park. The findings suggest a superficial knowledge for certain concepts but little profound understanding of the content of such concepts, indicating that knowledge-raising efforts should go a long way towards establishing a positive attitude for the resource. Visitors' poor knowledge of the park's operation regulation contest the efficiency of the presently dominant regulatory management regime. While geographical distances did not appear to significantly differentiate knowledge between the two groups, wilderness experience (as certified by visits to other parks) was proved to be an impetus for generating substantial learner interest in critical park issues among nonlocal visitors. School education and media were found to be significant knowledge providers.
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