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Parks and Conservation: A Special Collection


Ann Brower, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

INTRODUCTION: Parks come in many forms, sizes, and with a multitude of descriptions, whether natural, semi-natural or entirely modified and shaped by human hands; for recreation, conservation, protection or a combination of all the above. Given this diversity, people can interact with parks in many ways. Governments (or states) may acquire, hold, co-govern and dispose of parklands, designate their uses to the public, or might leave an "untouched" piece of nature as a "wild" place in which management is thought to be invisible. Parks might exclude pastoral agriculture, or they might not. Parks might even be celebrated for their history of pastoralism. The US "Yellowstone model" of a national park is only one model, albeit prominent.


What Drives Environmental Decisions in a Contested, but Loved, Landscape?

Ann Brower, Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Abstract: This case reviews the policy settings contributing to the landscape changes in New Zealand’s majestic Mackenzie Basin and examines possible drivers of the environmental decisions creating the changes. This case creates a systematic way to examine decisions affecting environments and natural resources in other countries. It concludes that science, economics, party politics, public pressure, and the law each has a role. But none is as influential as we might expect. One thing seems clear in identifying environmental challenges to the Mackenzie: environmental decisions themselves seem the greatest threat and the strongest driver of landscape change. Read more...

Shale Resources, Parks Conservation, and Contested Public Lands in North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park: Is Fracking Booming?

Miriam R. Aczel, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Karen E. Makuch, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Abstract: This case study analyzes the potential impacts of weakening the National Park Service’s (NPS) “9B Regulations” enacted in 1978, which established a federal regulatory framework governing hydrocarbon rights and extraction to protect natural resources within the parks. We focus on potential risks to national parklands resulting from Executive Orders 13771—Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs [1]—and 13783—Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth [2]—and subsequent recent revisions and further deregulation. Read more...

More than "The Public": A Case Study of Resident Inclusion in Decision-Making at Point Reyes National Seashore​

Megan Foster, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, USA

Laura Alice Watt, Department of Geography, Environment, and Planning, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, California, USA

Abstract: The recent controversy over commercial uses on parkland at Point Reyes National Seashore (PRNS) has inspired this case study, which seeks to explore the integration of park residents into decision-making processes of the United States National Parks system. Specifically, this research evaluates the tensions between the various users at PRNS and explores the potential impact of a citizen’s advisory commission at PRNS in terms of increasing interactions between the National Park Service (NPS), park residents, and the public. To carry out these objectives, this case study compares recent interactions at Point Reyes with those that took place during previous decades when an active citizens advisory commission was in place. This case study finds that the advisory commission at Point Reyes played a vital role as an intermediary, which facilitated productive interactions between the key local community, residents, and NPS. Read more...

Planning, Conservation, and Education in the Pinelands National Reserve​

Daniel Moscovici, Stockton University, Pinelands National Reserve, New Jersey, USA

Caitlin Clarke, Stockton University, Pinelands National Reserve, New Jersey, USA

Abstract: The Pinelands National Reserve is one of the most integrated regional planning regimes for conservation in the world. Environmental protection is overlapped by the State Pinelands Area, the Pinelands National Reserve, and the New Jersey Pinelands Biosphere Reserve (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Stockton University, a 4-year state university with an 800-hectare campus operates within this mix of preservation and working landscape. In the Environmental Studies program, faculty engage students in the outdoor classroom to study the complexities of balancing development and conservation. This case highlights the creation of the first National Reserve and a University within the protected area and focuses on students analyzing species and habitat to encourage native cavity nesting animals to return and breed in the Pinelands. Readers will be able to navigate the complexities and opportunities of working in a protected area and apply these lessons in the classroom. With this case study, instructors, researchers, and students will be able to apply the symbiotic relationship between protected region and university to other areas of the world. Read more...

Bears Ears National Monument: Politics, Controversy, and Potential Remedies​

Samantha Creadon, North Central College, Naperville, Illinois, USA

Erin C. Bergren, North Central College, Naperville, Illinois, USA

Abstract: Bears Ears National Monument (BENM), a site with extraordinary cultural, scientific, and recreational values, was established by President Barack Obama of the United States in 2016. One year later, the monument’s area was reduced by 85%. Due to backlash from stakeholders, such as the indigenous, scientific, and environmental communities, and multiple options have presented themselves to resolve the conflict. This paper provides a thorough but condensed knowledge of the ongoing and proposed efforts to maintain the original boundaries of the BENM. Read more...

Leveraging Stakeholders to Cover Budgetary Shortfalls in U.S. National Parks: Lessons from the 2018/2019 Government Shutdown and Joshua Tree National Park

Challie R. Facemire, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona, USA

Abstract: Joshua Tree National Park is a remarkable desert ecosystem made iconic by the famed Joshua trees that dot the landscape. In 1994, a majority of Joshua Tree’s holdings were designated as “wilderness” (a legal status in the U.S.). Subsequently, Joshua Tree was buffeted by deleterious anthropogenic forces and suffered from severe budgetary constraints. Read more...

The Ecological Politics Surrounding the Downsizing and Downgrading of Public Park: A Reflection on the History of Change of the Harare Gardens in Zimbabwe

Abraham R. Matamanda, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Innocent Chirisa, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Fortune Mangara, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Munyaradzi A. Dzvimbo, Department of Development Studies, Lupane State University, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Abstract: The study of protected area downgrading and downsizing (PADD) in Africa has largely been confined to rustic and nature reserves outside urban boundaries. This study addresses the gap in research practice and puts a focus on urban public parks, a reference to Harare Gardens, located within central Harare. The case study of this important park engaged the political ecology lenses as a basis for understanding the significance of public parks in urban environments. Read more...

Wildlife Crossing Design Influences Effectiveness for Small and Large Mammals in Banff National Park

Lauren Stewart, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Bryson Russell, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Evan Zelig, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Gaurang Patel, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Kaitlin Stack Whitney, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, USA

Abstract: Banff National Park (BNP) is Canada’s oldest national park and a very popular one, with both year-round residents and millions of annual visitors. In turn, this means there are several busy road and rail transportation routes throughout the park. These factors can have a number of negative effects on local wildlife. The wildlife crossing structures of the Trans-Canada Highway in BNP have become a key conservation tool to conserve biodiversity in the park and beyond. As the first large-scale operation of highway mitigation of its kind in North America, it is a perfect case for understanding the conservation value of highway overpasses and underpasses for a variety of wildlife species including both large and small mammals.. Read more...

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