Using human-environment theory to investigate human valuing in protected area management

Inglis, Judi (2008) Using human-environment theory to investigate human valuing in protected area management. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Caring for the environment has become a global issue, and the role of national parks in preserving species and environments has taken on renewed importance. Many consider that national parks are places to learn and experience nature, and from this experience can come positive conservation behaviour. A dilemma facing park agencies is their capacity to manage the park system with limited resources and funding. A park system that allows human access as well as preservation of biotic communities requires planning and resources. The view that the community may assist with conservation or management of discrete areas was cited in the literature, and assessing the possibility of community involvement is the focus for this study. The research used a case study strategy to examine Human-Environment theory, which refers to the study of humans and their environment. The theory encompasses both the built and natural environment, and the concepts of place attachment and environmental ethics. Although the theory takes in both the built and the natural environment this study did not include the built environment. The study examined the Human Natural World Relationship and conservation behaviour and was placed within an ecosystem management framework. This framework allowed the human-environment interaction to be examined so that human values could be assessed alongside economic, environmental and other values. The study examined the Human Natural World Relationship and conservation activism to establish if the community could contribute to the conservation and management of the national park. The community’s views, values and place attachments were gathered through focus groups, interviews, and the distribution of a self-administered survey to the whole community. The location for the study was Croajingolong National Park and Biosphere Reserve in Gippsland, Victoria. The location was chosen because there was minimal research on the community from the towns of Mallacoota, Cann River and Bemm River, who are the main users of the park. The study found that the identity of the community was deeply connected with the identity of the national park and that several aspects related to the town and the national park affected the community. This has implications for management to ensure that the status of the national park as well of the town of Mallacoota is protected so that the unique identity of the community and the bond they have to the park is preserved. A suggestion by one participant, who expressed the sentiment of many in the community, was that the town should be zoned as a park town has much merit. The study also found that the majority in the community held ecocentric views and were suited to involvement in conservation and management of the national park. Management can use the results of this study to inform strategies for policy and decisions making that take into account the views and values of the community in the validation of park classification, governance, funding, marketing, conflict resolution and communication with the community

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Tourism and Services Research (CTSR)
Historical > RFCD Classification > 300000 Agricultural, Veterinary and Environmental Sciences
Keywords human ecology, community-based conservation, environmental ethics, ecosystem management framework, Gippsland, Victoria
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