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SEEFOR 1 (2): 81-88
DOI: https://doi.org/10.15177/seefor.10-09  

Original scientific paper


Understanding Social Conflicts Between Forestry and Nature Protection Sectors: Case Study Velebit Mountain

Konrad Kiš 1*

1 Gotalovečka 9, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia

* Corresponding author: e-mail:  

KIŠ K 2010 Understanding Social Conflicts Between Forestry and Nature Protection Sectors: Case Study Velebit Mountain. South-east Eur for 1 (2): 81-88. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15177/seefor.10-09 

Cited by:        CrossRef  (2)        Google Scholar


Background and Purpose: The last couple of decades brought significant changes in forest and nature protection policy worldwide. Rising environmental awareness, over-utilization of scarce natural resources and global climate change set high goals for the forest and nature protection policy makers. This paper is about a case study of relations among various stakeholders on Velebit Mountain, a coast-by mountain in Central Croatia. Velebit Mountain is both: a nature protection area and a forest exploitation site, which raises various conflicts between these two sectors and major stakeholders. Purpose of this research was to investigate the relations among various interest groups and coalition parties, their opinions, aspirations and interests and, especially, the way to resolve issues or manage conflicts.
Material and Methods: This case-study research was conducted in form of interviews held with the representatives of each of the defined stakeholder groups within the target area, i.e. Velebit Mountain Nature Park. Interviews consisted of several groups of questions (introductory part, conflicts, conflict management and policy development), while stakeholder groups included "Croatian Forests ltd.", a state-owned company in charge of the management of state forests, Nature Park Velebit, National Park Paklenica, National Park "Northern Velebit", hunters' associations, private forest owners, fishermen associations, representatives of the local administration and mountaineers' associations. The questionnaire consisted of open-ended questions regarding various issues divided into these four groups. The data was analyzed by using the NVivo qualitative data analysis software. Theoretical framework used in this research was Walker and Daniels' Social Conflict Theory (1997, p.13) which describes types of conflicts, ways to address them and typical sources of occurring conflicts. 
Results and Conclusion: The results showed which the most salient conflict sources are, what are in stakeholders' opinions the most efficient means to manage them, what the best conflict management strategies would be and which are the best policy development options. As stated by the majority of stakeholders, the most salient conflict sources regard irregularities and lack of harmonization of laws, forest roads and entry gates, poaching and generally illegal hunters' activities, mountain paths and illegal logging. The interviewees stated that the most effective conflict management strategies are meetings, workshops, public debates and dissemination of information. Main policy development means are harmonization and implementation of laws, increased media attention, increased education and public awareness on the issues, public relations and increased cooperation among the stakeholders involved. Qualitative analysis of the coded text showed that the most emphasized aspects of conflicts regarded through the Walker & Daniels' conflict management triangle (1997, p. 22) are procedural (14 363 words), relational (8774 words), substantive (6 971 words) and cultural background (1 063 words). The most abundant aspect of conflicts is procedural, which means that the majority of conflicts pertain to the way issues are addressed. Most interviewees emphasized legislation and non-harmonization of laws as the most accentuated aspect of conflicts, meaning that the most parties have created relationships among themselves, are aware of the problems, but did not generate any concrete measures or ideas on how to manage them. The final conclusion can be made that there are no capacities on higher levels which actually have the executive and judicial power to alter things.

Keywords: conflicts, forestry, nature protection, conflict management, legislation, stakeholders, Velebit Mountain



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© 2015 by the Croatian Forest Research Institute. This is an Open Access paper distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0).