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Leitinger G.,University of Innsbruck | Leitinger G.,European Academy Bolzano Bozen EURAC | Walde J.,University of Innsbruck | Bottarin R.,European Academy Bolzano Bozen EURAC | And 3 more authors.

For the effective management of protected areas in inhabited and cultivated areas it is indispensible to know the factors on which the acceptance of the protected area depends. This study aimed at analysing the acceptance of the local population within one of the historical national parks of Italy, the Stilfserjoch National Park (NP). This NP is particularly suited to such an investigation for a number of reasons: it presents a very complex landscape and a wide altitude range; it is characterized by strong human influence and different land management types; some of the inhabitants within the NP belong to the Italian-, others to the German-speaking ethnic group and the NP covers three Italian regions, each with its own past and cultural history. We identified determinants of influence on the basis of a representative survey. Explorative analyses with discriminant analyses as classification method revealed a subordinated role for achieving acceptance of both the attitude towards nature and the work of the National Park Administration (NPA). According to our findings, perceptions in the local population are formed in a three-step-process starting with environmental education to identifying and answering the social needs of the residents to acknowledging personal needs by minimizing disadvantages for individuals. All in all, the results show that a survey of the population carried out in the presented way can make a major contribution to focusing the work of the NPA and to minimizing activities in 'fruitless tasks'. Source

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