Local Community Participation in Italian National Parks Management: Theory versus Practice

F. Buono, K. Pediaditi, G.J. Carsjens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The need for participation of local communities in the management of protected areas (PAs) is widely acknowledged, and its implementation is viewed as an indicator of sustainable practice. Such participation is increasingly mentioned in the recent European Union (EU) policy and legislation, yet little statutory guidance and few minimum requirements are available. Italy, as an EUMember State, has committed itself to incorporate participation in PA management. However, to date, there has been no assessment of how participation has materialized in practice. This paper presents the results of an investigation of participatory practices focusing specifically on local community involvement in Italian National Park management. The investigation is based on a review of the stateof- the-art theory on participation in PA management, specifically addressing the following questions: what levels of participation are preferable, what methods should be utilized in order to enable effective PA management and who should participate? The results show a discrepancy between best practice theory and practice for the case of Italy. More importantly, the results indicate the need for the development of practical guidance and a common participation framework for PA management in Europe
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-208
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • protected area management
  • citizen participation
  • public-participation
  • nature conservation
  • stakeholder theory
  • decision-support
  • risk-assessment
  • network
  • implementation
  • perceptions


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