The establishment of the European Natura 2000 network has introduced a new paradigm in the management of the relationship between human communities and natural ecosystems. Thus, Natura 2000 try to connect biodiversity conservation with natural resources use into sustainable way. This change has had important implications for human communities and different stakeholders who have aggressively reacted to it, especially due to lack of considering of private propriety rights.
In Romania, the Natura 2000 network had a major spatial impact. In the past 15 years, Romania`s protected areas increased from 4% to 23% of the national territory. The newly established Natura 2000 sites included large areas covered by forests, water bodies, agricultural lands, as well as rural communities.
This growth has affected the forests, water bodies, agricultural lands or rural communities as a result of not being effectively managed at local and regional level. Besides of several protected areas have management structure, the lack of compensations followed by the uncertainties related to their management have driven intractable environmental conflicts. These conflicts could have more efficient management if level of regional European funds for biodiversity conservation are well oriented.
Our study aims to assess the characteristics of the environmental conflicts affecting the Romanian Natura 2000 network in order to identify the main deficiencies in their management. Media content analysis was conducted to gather information on the number, types, drivers, actors, causes, effects and other aspects linked with environmental conflicts. The analysis covers news published between 2005 by 2017 news websites of national, regional and local coverage. Data was analyzed using spatial analysis in order to highlight regional differences.
Findings are expected to shed light on the significant differences between different regions in terms of environmental conflicts characteristics. The regional disparities are significant both quantitatively and qualitatively and have huge impact on planning. Furthermore, such regional disparities become important when implementing the socio-ecological model promoted by the Natura 2000 network.
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