Governance Issues in Protected Areas: The Case of Peneda-Gerês National Park
The increasing attention that protected areas have received from various players ranging from tourists, firms, and government entities, has highlighted the need to promote appropriate governance mechanisms. These are essential to promote and develop those areas enabling an alignment between various stakeholders with diverse agendas. This research draws attention to this key issue, focusing on the classified Peneda-Gerês National Park (PGNP), considered one of the top 10 in Europe. In order to do so, we employ game theory. This methodology is appropriate for strategic decision-making and enables a deeper understanding of the impacts of different governance mechanisms and their outcomes. This paper will contribute, on a theoretical level, to advancing the use of this methodology to study governance decisions in classified areas. In order to do so, diverse settings are modeled to illustrate different governance solutions employed to manage Peneda-Gerês National Park, highlighting the strategic interplay between the key stakeholders and the outcomes attained. Our results demonstrate that the degree of alignment between the various municipalities will have a direct impact in terms of performance, as well, as show the mechanisms which contribute. Additionally, our findings contribute, in practical terms, to showing how important it is for the public entities involved in the management and care of Peneda-Gerês National Park to cooperate and align their interests to ensure success. Moreover, the study refers to Peneda-Gerês National Park, but the results attained are applicable to different contexts in terms of National Park management and promotion.
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