Towards a Participatory Integrated Assessment Approach for Planning and Managing Natura 2000 Network Sites
Managing protected areas implies dealing with complex social-ecological systems where multiple dimensions (social, institutional, economic and ecological) interact over time for the delivery of ecosystem services. Uni-dimensional and top-down management approaches have been unable to capture this complexity. Instead, new integrated approaches that acknowledge the diversity of social actors in the decision making process are required. In this paper we put forward a novel participatory assessment approach which integrates multiple methodologies to reflect different value articulating institutions in the case of a Natura 2000 network site in the Basque Country. It integrates within a social multi-criteria evaluation framework, both the economic values of ecosystem services through a choice experiment model and ecological values by means of a spatial bio-geographic assessment. By capturing confronting social and institutional conflicts in protected areas the participatory integrated assessment approach presented here can help decision makers for better planning and managing Natura 2000 sites.
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