Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Social and Environmental Changes Affecting Everglades National Park in South Florida, U.S.A
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Over the last few decades, urban expansion and population shifts have modified the existing landscape throughout the U.S. Protected areas and development are compatible lenses, yet stakeholders’ involvement in decision-making is often missing from environmental governance. We examine how stakeholders living and working in proximity to Everglades National Park (EVER) perceive environmental and social changes to the park and community park relations. EVER was selected as a study site for several reasons: proximity to urban areas, rich biological diversity, largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., International Biosphere Reserve, World Heritage Site, and prominence as a tourist destination for the region. Forty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with neighborhood groups, representatives from gateway communities, and conservation organizations. An analysis of the interview data generated six research themes: loss of native species, urban development, a shortage and contamination of water, hurricanes, climate change, and increased recreation use. The results of this study add to the literature by providing a better understanding of the relationships stakeholders have with national parks. The results will provide useable knowledge that may help stakeholders and public land managers design strategies related for sustainable plans for the park and its surrounding communities.
author list (cited authors)
Schuett, M. A., Choe, Y., & Matarrita-Cascante, D.