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ŠUMARSKI LIST 9-10/2010 str. 68     <-- 68 -->        PDF

J. Tomićević, M. A. Shannon, D. Vuletić: DEVELOPING LOCAL CAPACITY FOR PARTICIPATORY... Šumarski list br. 9–10, CXXXIV (2010), 503-515

not yield inappropriate results. Biosphere reserves are
indeed special places for people and nature.They are internationally
recognized, nominated by national governments
and remain under sovereign jurisdiction of the
states where they are located. Biosphere reserves perform
three main roles: conservationin situof natural and
semi-natural ecosystems and landscapes; demonstration
areas for ecologically and socio-culturally sustainable
use; and logistic support for research, monitoring, education,
training and information exchange. Biosphere
reserves are organized into three interrelated zones,
known as the core area, the buffer zone and the transition
area. This zonation is applied in many different
ways in the real world to accommodate geographical
conditions and local constrants.

‘Inherent in biosphere reserve concept are the ideas
of both conservation and change – conservation of biological
diversity as well as traditional ecological knowledge
and resource managment know-how, but also
change in the way that societies use their rural environments
and their natural resources’(UNESCO 2000: 7).
It is important to emphasize that the concept of Biosphere
reserves takes into account human beings as ‘an integral
part of the ecosystem and recognizes the necessity
of involving local inhabitants in conservation activities’

(Kothari etal.1997: 276). It is this full integration of
the human dimension of biosphere reserves that makes
them special, since the management of a biosphere reserve
essentially becomes a ‘pact between the local
community and society as a whole’(UNESCO 2000: 6).

Despite the international principles for participatory
management, and thus the need for local community
participation and cooperation, Serbia has a long history
of centralized planning for and management of protected
areas. In particular, national park planning and
management has been characterized by a top-down approach.
As a result, local people living near and within
the boundaries of the proposed area were marginalized
during the process establishing Tara National Park in
1981. In 2003, the Serbian Institute for Nature Protection
proposed that National Park Tara be declared a
Biosphere Reserve (Institute for Nature Conservation
2003).This proposal was simply handed to the park managers
without consultation with other stakeholders who
found it interesting – but really did not know what it
might mean in practice. Since the concept of a Biosphere
Reserve includes social and cultural benefits along
with nature protection, managers now needed research
on the people living in communities located within National

RESEARCH METHODS – Metode istraživanja

This study was initiated to understand the local population
living withinTara National Park, in particular the
socio-economic conditions of local people, local relationships
with land and natural resources, local participation
in park management, and local attitudes about
National Park conservation goals and management.To
carry out the institutional analysis, experts in the relevant
agencies and management organizations were interviewed.
In addition, plans and other policy documents
were analyzed.

Assessing local capacities for participatory management
is an important first step towards creating effective
institutions and processes for local participatory
management. Our research in National ParkTara was
the first time that researchers focused on the social,
economic, and institutional environments rather than
just on the biophysical environment. Thus, the study
included basic descriptive information as well as questions
and analysis aimed at assessing local capacity to
engage in participatory management within the Park.

This case study focused two villages - Rastište village
has 107 households and 285 inhabitants and Jagoštica
village has 53 households and 163 inhabitants that
are fully-surrounded by the Park and geographically
isolated due to poor transportation infrastructure.
This allowed us to focus on places of high dependency
on local natural resources, high influence of Park management
and policies, and low access to education and
other sources of livelihood.These two communities are
the most isolated rural villages in the national park and
NPTara has never been accepted by these two local
communities therefore we chose villages Jagoštica and
Rastište for this research.The field work was conducted
in 2004 and in Rastište village, sixty-five household
interviews were conducted which represents 60% of
the total number of registered households and in Jagoštica,
there were thirty-seven household interviews,
corresponding to 70% of the total number.

The household interviews included: general demographic
information about the household; their attitudes
towards rural life; perceptions of nature and their landscape;
their relationship withTara National Park authorities;
and questions regarding their livelihood strategies
historically, currently, and their expectations for the future
(Tomićević 2005: 86).The questionnaire included
a mixture of open, fixed response, and multiple
response questions.The household interviews were all
conducted within the homes and fields of the residents,
thus allowing the respondents to often demonstrate to
the interviewer how their work and lives were manifested
within the landscape. This means that they could
also easily explain how institutional changes influenced
their willingness to cooperate with Park managers and
their hopes or dreams for future livelihood strategies.

Household interviews were fully transcribed. The
data acquired from the household interviews were ana