Ten years of co-management in Greek protected areas: an evaluation
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- Vokou, D., Dimitrakopoulos, P.G., Jones, N. et al. Biodivers Conserv (2014) 23: 2833. doi:10.1007/s10531-014-0751-1
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The present study attempts an evaluation of the first co-management framework that has been adopted and implemented in Greece over the last 10 years for the management of its protected areas. To get insight as to how efficient it has been, we evaluate the performance and outcomes of the 28 management authorities of the protected areas of the country that substantiate it and the conditions under which they have been operating. The study involved a large part of the Greek conservation community. It was conducted via a questionnaire dealing with issues of financing and administration, environmental management and guarding, and connection with the local community. For co-management, it is essential that the actors involved undertake their share of responsibility, which should be clearly defined and delimited; this was not usually the case. Decentralization of the power of management requires capacity building locally and active involvement of the local community; these have been addressed and achieved only to a limited degree. Most importantly, the support and commitment to conservation of state actors were often missing. Funding discontinuities, delays in responding to needs associated with biodiversity monitoring and protection and inefficient guarding were the major problems resulting from the inadequacies detected. Despite its weaknesses, the co-management framework contributed considerably to the conservation of environmental values of Greece. We propose improvements and measures that can substantially increase its overall effectiveness towards nature conservation. However, under the severe crisis that the country has been facing, its future is currently unknown.