Research papers

Stakeholders’ perception towards ecosystem services provided by forests: comparison among three Balkans countries


Abstract


The stakeholders’ involvement in forest management is a key point to facilitate the exchange of information between decision makers and the local community, to reduce conflicts between forest users, and to increase social acceptance of decisions made. The aims of the present study are to identify the stakeholders’ preferences towards ecosystem services provided by forests and to analyze the impacts of forest management practices on ecosystem services in the Balkan region. To achieve these aims a face-to-face survey was conducted in three study areas in the Balkans: Shkrel district in Albania; Rugova valley in Kosovo; Knjazevac municipality in Serbia. The three study areas are in a rural context and they are characterized by strong linkages between the local community and natural resources. The questionnaire – provided as a digital application – was administered to a representative sample of stakeholders in each pilot area. The stakeholders were selected among four main groups of interest: public administrations; environmental NGOs, tourism promoters, and private actors of forest-wood chain. The results show that for the Balkan respondents the most important ecosystem services are supporting services (lifecycle maintenance, habitats protection), followed by provisioning services (wood for manufacturing, fuelwood, water supply).


Keywords

public participation; stakeholders’ involvement; questionnaire survey; Rugova valley (Kosovo); Shkrel district (Albania); Knjaževac municipality (Serbia)

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12899/asr-2172

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