The potential conflicts as well as synergies between the conservation of nature in national parks, Natura 2000 areas, or other forms of on-site conservation, are rarely studied with respect to the marginal (additional) change of regional and local development brought about by conservation policies. This chapter presents empirical evidence on the linkages between Natura 2000 areas and local development in Austrian municipalities. The main result of the empirical analysis is that Natura 2000 is only a minor or even undetectable factor in regional development. Municipalities develop, for instance, according to their location, the territorial capital, the proximity to markets, and infrastructure capital. Natura 2000 rarely influences regional development with one exception; the establishment of Natura 2000 areas might indeed promote tourism. However, as Natura 2000 sites are often overlapping with other categories of protected areas such as national parks, their separate role in development still remains elusive. The main policy conclusions drawn from the results are that protected area management has to develop a coherent and complementary regional strategy to build up networks with all stakeholders (including authorities), and design joint destination marketing policies to attract more visitors while, at the same time, conserving biodiversity effectively.
Part of the book: National Parks