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National Parks and Protected Areas and the Role for Employment in Tourism and Forest Sectors: a Swedish Case

Linda J. T. Lundmark, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Umeň University
Peter Fredman, ETOUR; Mittuniversitetet
Klas Sandell, Karlstad University; Stockholm University

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Abstract

The development of national parks and other protected areas has been widely promoted because of its potential for regional development in peripheral and sparsely populated areas. The argument is that the economic and social benefits seen in national parks in the USA and UK will also occur in the Swedish context in the form of an increased tourism-related labor market. Our aim was to analyze the possibility of such a development both in light of the policy visions of positive regional and local development and from the adversary point of view that protection of land is making it more difficult for 15 sparsely populated mountain municipalities in Sweden to prosper. We used a database covering the entire population of the area for 1991 to 2001. Our results show that factors other than the protected areas are connected to the development of a tourism labor market. The most positively correlated variables for change in tourism employment are population growth and proximity to ski lifts. Positive population development is also correlated to a positive change in the number of people employed in forest sectors. Thus, one of the main outcomes is that the assumed and almost automatic positive relation between nature conservation and tourism can is questionable.

Key words

employment; forest sector; forestry; GIS; restructuring in peripheral areas; tourism
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087