Local reactions concerning Serbia’s Obedska Bara Nature Reserve
The attitudes and awareness of local residents toward protected areas have been at issue during the last several years. Understanding the awareness and attitudes of people toward protected areas and their integration into management strategies is a key factor in developing successful management plans for long-term conservation of these areas. The goal of this study is to examine the attitudes of local residents toward the Obedska Bara Special Nature Reserve in Serbia, in order to evaluate and ensure the appropriate implementation of protective measures. The field data collection used 218 indirect communications with respondent questionnaires in the villages of Obrež, Ašanja, Kupinovo, Grabovci, and Ogar on random sampling. The questions were divided into two main categories: general questions (gender, age, education, employment, income) which gave socio-economic structure, and questions about the reserve. The second category of questions was used for assessment of awareness of people about the protected area, their attitudes toward protection, attitudes toward tourists, and their proposals for sustainable development of this protected area. Respondents were aware of the presence of the protected area (almost 100%) and a high percentage of them knew its boundaries. They had a positive attitude regarding protection, but they were not satisfied with protected area management because they felt excluded from protected area issues and they were in some cases in conflict of interest with the authorities of the protected area. They also had a positive attitude toward tourists despite the small benefits. The respondents thought that in future tourism could provide sustainable development of this protected area.
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