Policy for harmonizing national park management and local business development

This project aims at studying the need for and consequences of changes in the management of protected areas in Norway. The role and legitimacy of protected areas is questioned in most countries in the world, and there is a quest for new management models and policy regimes capable of integrating regional development and conservation goals (e.g. Mose 2007).

Norway can in many ways be seen as a hotspot in these developments, as shifts in management responsibility from the national government to local/regional organisations are tested in many areas. These changes are multifaceted, indicating a high degree of complexity in the ongoing processes. In this project, we will focus on a number of processes that can be seen as representative of some of the most important changes in management models and policy regimes. This includes

i) four slightly different models for transferring the formal responsibility for national park management from the national to the local level of government which are currently tested in four different National Parks in Southern Norway (Setesdal Vesthei/Ryfylkeheiane; Blåfjella/Skjækerfjella; Forollhogna; Dovrefjellområdet),

ii) policy change processes as to including local actors more in national park management but still to maintain the formal management responsibility at the national level of government – a process that resulted in the designation of Breheimen as a National Park (i.e. a top-down process), and finally

iii) Nærøyfjord, designated as World Heritage Site in a process initiated by local actors (i.e. a bottom-up process).

These examples mirror the multitude of processes going on in Norway, indicating that there is a need for inventories (data collection), evaluation and comparison. To include an international perspective, we will also add one case study from Austria, Hohe Tauern National Park, which has received attention as an innovative management model and compare it with an example of the ‘normal’ model for National Park management in Norway, for which we have chosen Jostedalsbreen National Park.

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