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Cambridge Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance

New paper in Conservation Letters by C-EENRG fellows Nikoleta Jones and Andreas Kontoleon, C-EENRG researcher Vassilis Gkoumas, and co-authors James McGinlay and Jens Holtvoeth (University of Cambridge), Angela Jones (Snowdonia National Park Authority), Chrisovalantis Malesios (Agricultural University of Athens), and Panayiotis Dimitrakopoulos (University of the Aegean) explores social and ecological impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on protected areas. 

During the first wave of the COVID‐19 pandemic, management authorities of numerous Protected Areas (PAs) had to discourage visitors from accessing them in order to reduce the virus transmission rate and protect local communities. This resulted in social and ecological impacts and added another layer of complexity to managing PAs. This paper presents the results of a survey conducted in Snowdonia National Park in Wales that captured the views of over 700 local residents on the impacts of COVID‐19 restrictions and possible scenarios and tools for managing tourist numbers. Lower visitor numbers were seen in a broadly positive way by a significant number of respondents while benefit sharing issues from tourism also emerged. Most preferred options to manage overcrowding were restricting access to certain paths, the development of mobile applications to alert people to overcrowding and reporting irresponsible behavior. The findings are useful for PA managers and local communities currently developing post‐COVID‐19 recovery strategies.

Read and download the full paper: Jones, N., McGinlay, J., Jones, A., Malesios, C., Holtvoeth, J., Dimitrakopoulos, P. G., Gkoumas, V., & Kontoleon, A. (2021). COVID-19 and protected areas: impacts, conflicts and possible management solutions. Conservation Letters, e12800.