A social representation approach to facilitating adaptive co-management in mountain destinations managed for conservation and recreation

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 2016, 24 (2), pp. 227 - 244
Issue Date:
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© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Mountain destinations are often managed not only to support tourism and recreation but also to maintain a range of sensitive ecological processes and services. Resource use and management activities in mountain destinations are manifestations of various representations of mountain landscapes that may contribute to tension and conflicts, or collaboration and learning between stakeholders of mountain destinations. Adaptive co-management (ACM) that adopts a social learning model to forge collaborative natural resource management provides one approach to managing complex and dynamic social-ecological systems in mountain destinations. Social representations (SR) theory, as a theory of social knowledge and social change, offers one theoretical lens with which to gain insights into the representations that different stakeholders ascribe to mountain landscapes and to assist in developing functioning ACM. The utility of SR theory for ACM arrangements is examined using a case study that explores the representations of the mountain landscape within Yushan National Park (YNP) in Taiwan from the perspectives of three resource user groups: committed mountaineers, professional guides, and mountain tourists. The study findings are used to demonstrate how the processes of representations and dialogical antinomies embedded in representations can impede or facilitate stakeholder interactions in ACM.
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