The Sierra de Guadarrama National Park was established in 2013, becoming Spain’s newest national park. At 34,000 hectares stretching across the populous regions of Madrid and Castilla y León, it is also the second-largest national park. There are a great variety of local stakeholders engaged in diverse activities such as outdoor sports, livestock farming, conservation, education and research. These multiple and sometimes competing uses and values create social tensions around how the park should be governed. Given different scales of decision-making, multiple uses and high visitation rate, management is complex.

This fact sheet provides an overview of the process researchers are engaged in for developing practical guidance to understand different visions, preferences, and tensions for protected areas management, and explore power relations between stakeholders. To guide decision-makers, a toolbox is being developed which includes:

  • A set of methods to collect context-based knowledge from multiple local stakeholders’ perspectives, knowledge, and values and support the facilitation of place-based processes that can foster inclusive conservation.
  • Methodological approaches to identify visions and build future scenarios for protected areas management that can be used in both face-to-face and remote events. Examples of these approaches are visualization/graphical tools embedded in interviews or workshops
  • Tools to address power dynamics and inequalities for promoting stakeholder participation and engage in collective action.
  • Activities to create understanding and trust between researchers and decision-makers, with the aim that scientific knowledge can reach conceptual and instrumental impacts on the policy domain.

We hope this will enable a movement towards better social engagement in conservation decision-making. Read here to find out more!