Journal of Alpine Research / Revue de géographie alpine

Protected Areas in the Slovak Carpathians as a Contested Resource Between Metropolitan and Mountain Stakeholders

In Eastern Europe’s westernmost mountain region, the Carpathians, the Slovak State Nature Conservancy is preserving a unique biodiversity in line with directives of the European Union. This is being done in large protected areas (LPAs). In this paper, we discuss current challenges of LPA management with a particular focus on contradictions between local people’s views and nationally to internationally determined sectoral planning strategies. We take stock of the benefits LPAs offer local populations, analyse the reasons for conflict between conservation interests from outside the region and local people’s vital needs, and explore ways of uncovering, tackling, and solving land use conflicts at the interface of national or international conservation interests and sustainable local development. Slovak and Swiss universities (Banská Bystrica, Žilina, and Bern) and nature conservation partners adapted, tested, and analysed a transdisciplinary research approach to mitigate land use confli...

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