Socio-Economic Effects of National Park Governance and Management: Lessons from Post-Socialist Era Estonia

Henri Jarv, Raymond Ward, Janar Raet, Kalev Sepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the significant increase in protected territory globally, there is a common understanding that the designation of protected areas alone does not guarantee their effectiveness nor halt the loss of biodiversity. In addition to biodiversity conservation, protected areas are expected to perform a number of other functions, such as provide ecosystem services and improve local socio-economic conditions. Therefore, the need to strive towards mixed, decentralized conservation management and stakeholder involvement is increasingly emphasized. Although there is limited research, it has been noted that protected areas have not served wider objectives effectively enough. The current study provides insight concerning socio-economic effects of different governance and management practices of protected areas based on perceptions of residents and stakeholders of five national parks of Estonia. It was found that conservation status has an important impact on local socio-economic conditions largely depending on governance and management practices, resulting in both, positive and negative effects. It was concluded that the centralization of nature conservation and the abolition of protected area administrations have led to a gradual distancing of nature conservation from local conditions and the population, causing concern about the preservation of the living environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1257
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund Estonian University of Life Sciences ASTRA Project “Value chain-based bio-economy.”

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • national parks
  • socio-economic effect
  • governance of protected areas
  • local communities
  • cultural landscapes
  • management of protected areas
  • Estonia
  • post-socialist
  • Europe
  • Cultural landscapes
  • Post-socialist
  • Governance of protected areas
  • National parks
  • Local communities
  • Management of protected areas
  • Socio-economic effect


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