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Opportunity for inclusiveness in conservation planning for protected areas

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Many socio-demographic groups, such as people with disabilities and ethnic minorities, are underrepresented among visitors to protected areas due to institutional barriers, a new study finds.

Protected Areas (PA) offer visitors many benefits, including knowledge about mental and physical health and the environment. However, some of these benefits are not widely integrated into overarching management structures. Social benefits in particular are often overlooked.

The study by Rachael Edwards and her supervisor, Professor Brendon Larson, both of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, examined the links between management approaches and inequalities in access in the UK by examining governance documents for UK PAs and assessing PA managers. to research.

The finding shows that the institutional factors contributing to barriers to access to green spaces still remain underexposed.

“Due to similarities in the history and ideologies behind the formation of the PA in the United Kingdom and Canada, it is likely that some of these institutional barriers can be seen in Canada as well,” said Edwards, a Ph.D. graduated from Waterloo’s School of Planning. “Anglocentric views on human-nature relationships continue to influence policymakers’ decisions, and many communities are left out of vital conversations about planning PAs and green space.”

The researchers argued that to see change, diversity and inclusion of all groups must be more deeply rooted in management frameworks so that PA governance reflects national diversity priorities.

“We suggest that an organizational shift is needed to move beyond these Anglo-normative management approaches,” Edwards said. “Alternative worldviews should be embraced within PA governance structures through participatory approaches.”

The researchers further suggest that PA managers are not indifferent to the lack of representation of certain user groups. They also found that managers were highly aware of national diversity goals and concerned about taking steps to address entry barriers. Nevertheless, certain dimensions of access have become more widely recognised.

The researchers propose that PAs should provide a wide variety of recreational opportunities that match the different interests of potential visitors. In addition, policy makers should strive to explicitly identify the many avenues through which PA satisfaction is derived within management plans.

The study was recently published in the journal Landscape and urban planning.

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More information:
Rachael C. Edwards et al, Accounting for Diversity: Exploring the Inclusiveness of Recreational Planning in the United Kingdom’s Protected Areas, Landscape and urban planning (2022). DOI: 10.116/j.landurbplan.2022.104361

Provided by the University of Waterloo

Quote: Opportunity for Inclusive Recreational Planning for Protected Areas (2022, Aug. 10) retrieved Aug. 10, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-opportunity-inclusivity-recreation-areas.html

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