Life in a Protected Area - From the Perspective of Residents and Visitors

09. Oct 2023.

As part of the "Together for the Environment" project, Young Researchers of Serbia conducted a comprehensive study on "The Needs of Local Population for Access to Information Regarding the Management of Protected Areas."


The research covered eight protected areas, including national parks such as Tara, Đerdap, Fruška Gora, and special nature reserves like Suva Planina, Obedska Bara, the Gradac River Gorge, Palić-Ludaš, and Veliko Ratno Ostrvo. Data was collected during June and July 2023, and through analysis, essential information was obtained, shedding light on the lives of people in these protected areas in Serbia, whether it is a privilege or a limitation, and to what extent.

This is the first comprehensive study of its kind in Serbia, involving 600 processed surveys and 24 in-depth interviews, revealing specific needs of the local population with permanent or temporary residence in these protected areas. Apart from uncovering interesting aspects of people's lives in these areas through concrete examples, the research hinted at potential solutions and opportunities for establishing more direct and efficient communication with managers. It also explored ways in which citizens can connect and engage in environmental care issues collaboratively.

"The perception and relationship with the management are directly correlated with the assessment of personal well-being. The more satisfied citizens are with their lives and personal achievements, especially in terms of household standards, the higher the likelihood they will show interest in actively participating and collaborating with the managers of protected areas," is one of the research conclusions.

Attitudes vary, from critical ones stating that "only purported care is taken, and nothing is transparent or according to rules; much more is destroyed than planted," to more constructive ones focusing on "the possibility of establishing a balance between nature conservation and the development of the region, but under the condition of thoughtful, careful, and gradual actions."

Hereyou can view the summarized results of the research, which draw attention to the fact that we all have a responsibility towards species, habitats, and protected areas. They also emphasize the necessity and possibility of finding a sustainable way to preserve such areas.