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PhD ceremony Ms. N.A.J. Mehnen: Protected landscapes - the great hope of European area protection policies? A comparative study of governance in IUCN category V areas

When:Mo 18-11-2013 at 14:30

PhD ceremony: Ms. N.A.J. Mehnen, 14.30 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Protected landscapes - the great hope of European area protection policies? A comparative study of governance in IUCN category V areas

Promotor(s): prof. D. Strijker, prof. I. Mose

Faculty: Spatial Sciences

Protected areas have a high societal value and are acknowledged as cornerstones of nature protection policies. The number of protected areas in Europe is increasing; this is especially true for protected landscapes (IUCN category V). Today the state is withdrawing from some of its traditional tasks, other actors have to take over. In that situation it is difficult to ensure that the interests of these new actors are equally considered and balanced; economic interests should not overrule nature and landscape protection. Issues of governance and management thus become the focus of research and theoretical debates. The research of Nora Mehnen examines the governance processes of four IUCN category V areas in Europe: the Nature Park Lauenburgische Seen (Germany), the Nature Park Steirische Eisenwurzen (Austria), the Peak District National Park (England) and the Regional Nature Park Livradois-Forez (France). The case studies show that the parks have often to deal with similar problems such as demographic changes, funding cuts, growing numbers of visitors, tasks, and actors with multiple interests, and simultaneously increasing demands on quality etc., but governance structures, institutional contexts and approaches to solve the existing problems are different. For example, the Peak District National Park has a long history of networks and partnerships, but only recently some actors such as the Farmers Union were included in decision-making processes. In general, commitment of all actors (civil society, economy and government actors), and transparent decision-making processes are important for the successful planning, development and management of protected landscapes.

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