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ŠUMARSKI LIST 9-10/2010 str. 72     <-- 72 -->        PDF

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

were found to influence people’s attitudes on conservation.
Both gender and the education also exhibited an
influence on the attitude to conservation. Males had a
more positive perception of the national park than females
(seeTab. 2). Sah &Heinen(2001) showed that in
Nepal, the variable gender has a significant influence on
attitudes towards conservation. Also, education had a

Results of Expert Interviews –

Resource managers were selected to interview as
experts in charge of Tara National Park (five experts
were selected: manager of the national park, head of
department for national parks, forestry authorities and
environment ministry and a nature conservationist
from the Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia).
The designation ofTara as a biosphere reserve can have
a great influence on socio-economic issues, and therefore
play an important role in relation to poverty reduction.
In many cases, biosphere reserves are ‘source of
hope for local communities and indigenous peoples
that perceive them as a viable option for enhancing
their livelihoods’ (Marton-Lefevre 2007: 12).

The concepts of the Biosphere Reserves and national
park management were explored during interviews
with ‘experts’regarding the participation of local people
in the management of the National Park, the conflicts
between the local people and the utilization of
natural resources, and the future ofTara National Park.
The purpose for expert interviews was not only to understand
their personal attitudes towardsTara National
Park, but also to explore the institutional environment
linking stakeholders.

The major challenge facing protected areas in Serbia
is to develop management systems that deliver both environmental
sustainability and tangible long-term benefits
for the local people. In general, experts identifiedTara
National Park as a very valuable asset to the area, mainly
in terms of biological and geological diversity. More precisely,
the report ‘Proposal to support the Tara Mountain
Biosphere Reserve nomination’ (Institute for Nature
Conservation2003)focused on “the features of theTara
ecosystems, primarily their conserved conditions and
their high diversity in terms of landscape, ecosystem characteristics,
species and consequently, genetic attributes,
that make this part of Serbia a region of in ternational importance
for conservation of biodiversity.” (Institute for
Nature Conservation of Serbia 2003: 1).The results of
the interviews showed that only people from environmental
authoritiesand experts from the nature conservation
agency were aware of the of Biosphere Reserve
concept.The National Park managers and other government
authorities were not aware of this international concept.
Due to their lack of familiarity with the Biosphere
Reserve concept, and because the management option
was imposed by the State (already a good indication of
positive influence on the attitudes towards conservation.

Education has also been cited elsewhere as a main rea

son for positive attitudes towards protected areas. Edu

cation is just one variable, but can have a powerful effect

on attitudes towards conservation (Fiallo &Jacob


Rezultati intervjua sa ekspertima

barriers within the institutional context of governance),
the interviewees were not asked to compare the pros and
cons of Biosphere Reserve designation forTara, but were
simply asked whether in their opinionTara National Park
should be proclaimed a Biosphere Reserve.

Despite their unfamiliarity with the Biosphere Reserve
concept, all of the experts answered affirmatively.
Most of the experts agree – once they understood
the idea of a Biosphere Reserve program – that the nomination
of theTara area as a Biosphere Reserve could
be a means for integration of local people in management
of natural resources. In particular, they expressed
positive expectations were for improvement of the livelihoods
of the local people in theTara area. The experts
from the nature conservation agency emphasised that
in the local context, “the re-designation ofTara National
Park as a Biosphere Reserve can represent for managers
of protected areas and local communities the
easiest way to succeed in their projects, which are in
harmony with the strategy of sustainable development”
(Director of Nature Conservation Institute).Additionally,
the Director of the Nature Conservation Agency
added, “if local people have a better economic status
then they will have a more positive attitude towards
protected areas” (Tomićević 2005: 138).

From the perspective of the environmental authorities,
the concept of Biosphere Reserve is viewed positively,
and “a particularly important reason to support the
concept from a Serbian perspective is the interaction
between protection and development” (Head of Department
for National Parks in the Ministry for Protection of
Natural Resources and Environment). Forest ecosystems
represent a high percentage of the area ofTara National
Park, and the environmental authoritiescomplain
to the forestry lobby about their attitudes towards management
in protected areas and especially in their attitudes
towards the concept of sustainability (Head of
Department for National Parks in the Ministry for Protection
of Natural Resources and Environment).As foresters
value the natural resources in terms of income from
the forest, we found similar complains towards foresters
in expert interviews with managers fromTara National
Park. Director of the Public Enterprise National Park
Tara emphasized: “If we want to establish National
Parks and achieve the concept of Biosphere Reserve,
which will have an international significance, then it