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Browsing by Subject "participation"

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  • Kettunen, Anni (2019)
    Environmental problems are usually complex in nature, encompass uncertainties and affect multiple actors and groups of people in multiple ways. Hence, managing these problems requires transparent decision making that takes into consideration diverse values, perceptions and knowledge of those groups. Decisions that are made in a participatory decision-making process are more likely to express public values and local knowledge than decisions made in top-down management processes. Collaboration has become a ubiquitous concept within the context of participatory planning and environmental management. It is used in describing a wide array of participatory approaches and it is often used as a tool in managing wicked problems. However, participatory approaches do not guarantee better success in solving environmental problems. Hence, it is crucial to deliberate what kind of approach is used and what kind of situations it suits. This master’s thesis examines Metsähallitus’ participatory natural resource planning (NRP) process through the concept of collaboration. The study encompasses two mutually supporting parts: a case study about Metsähallitus’ natural resource planning process for Southern Finland 2017-2022 and an equality analysis encompassing altogether four cooperation groups from natural resource planning processes. The aim of the study is to find out how trust building, commitment, social capital and stakeholders’ opportunities to influence decision-making were realized in the NRP process of Southern Finland. In addition, aspects of equality in natural resource planning are examined. Data of the case study consists of seven qualitative semi-structured interviews. Data is analyzed according to the principles of qualitative content analysis. Data of the equality analysis consists of six NRP cooperation groups’ participant lists and the data is analyzed with quantitative content analysis. Based on the results, opportunities to participate actualize most efficiently in the operational level of the cooperation group. The methods used and facilitator’s contribution enhance the realization of equality within the cooperation group. Stakeholders reported a few defects concerning equal processing of values and interests. For example, topics regarding forestry overweighs other topics. The representativeness of stakeholders was considered good. Representatives of public agencies are most frequently participating of all stakeholder groups. Every fifth participant was a woman. What comes to social capital, one of the main results was increased mutual understanding among stakeholders that resulted from learning from each other in the process. Stakeholders’ perceptions of their opportunities to influence decision-making were labeled partly by contentment and realism, but partly by a low level of expectations. Opportunity to influence in decision-making is a remarkable factor for commitment and motivation to participate. The context of NRP-process also affects the planning and its results, but further research on this topic is needed and I propose this as one future research topic. More research is also needed to evaluate on how one of the main principles of collaboration, sharing decision-making power, affects natural resource planning and its results, if adopted.
  • Saalismaa, Nina (2000)
    The study analyses the needs and expectations of different people and different interest groups affected by conservation schemes, and examines the possibilities of taking the local opinions into account in the management of protected areas. Theoretically, the study relies on those approaches that aim to link the issues of nature protection with the questions of social sustainability and the livelihood requirements of local people. The study explains how the concept of protected areas has changed during the history and how the discourses on protected areas are linked to North-South issues. Protected areas management was long based on the concepts of strict protection developed in the first protected areas. The amount of protected areas in the world has increased significantly during the past decades. Together with population growth this has led into a situation where the majority of protected areas are inhabited by humans. Consequently, the participation and rights of local people have become important topics in protected areas discourse. The issue is studied in detail through a case study of Miraflor protected area in Nicaragua. The study describes how the protection scheme of this particular area has been constructed and how the local attitudes toward protection have evolved from past to present. The research sets the case of Miraflor into the broader context of conservation and sustainability, in order to make suggestions on management in inhabited protected areas. The case study in based on qualitative research methods, such as thematic interviews, participant observation and written documentation. There are almost 5000 inhabitants in Miraflor, and the area is into a large extent under agricultural use. Land in Miraflor is in the hands of private landowners, as it is in most of the other protected areas in Nicaragua. The difficult economical and social situation of small-scale landowners and landless people has left them little choice between nature conservation and livelihood. While institutional attention to the zone has increased more local people have started to be in favour of the protection of the area. However, they expect support from the state and other institutions in bearing the costs of protection. Some of the important reasons for the acceptance of protection lie in the potential benefits associated to protection, such as new rural development projects, employment possibilities and tax exemptions. The protection of inhabited protected areas cannot be achieved with mere restrictions. Instead, local people have to be offered feasible and attractive possibilities to change their natural resource use practices so that both human needs and nature conservation objectives are fulfilled.