Anthropocentric Versus Bio-Centric Views of Parks and Protected Areas: A Comparison of Perspectives from Austria—Germany, Brazil and United States.

Monday, 11 July 2016
Location: Dachgeschoss (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Robert BURNS, West Virginia University, USA
Arne ARNBERGER, Universität für Bodenkultur; Institut für Landschaftsentwicklung, Erholungs- und Naturschutzplanung, Austria
Jasmine MOREIRA, Ponta Grossa State University, Brazil
Eick VON RUSCHKOWSKI, Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) e.V., Germany
One can view peoples’ perspectives of parks and protected areas along a continuum ranging from anthropocentric to bio-centric. Those who fall toward the anthropocentric end tend to view parks and protected areas as places in which to recreate, while those on the bio-centric end of the scale often see the same settings as places to be preserved; where human recreation activities should not be allowed.  Understanding this can be related to how a person feels a setting should be managed; where we often use zoning techniques in an attempt to meet the desired leisure experiences of various users and user groups.  What then are the drivers of this anthropocentric or bio-centric paradigm?  This discussion will focus on the perceptions of people from three distinctly different geographic regions; Austria-Germany, Brazil and the United States. Von Ruschkowski et al. (2013) Burns, Arnberger, and von Ruschkowski (2010) and Burns and Moreira (2013) suggested several reasons for these varying viewpoints, which will be discussed during the session.  A typology of underlying sociological reasons will be discussed, based on empirical research conducted by the presenters.  Arnberger et al (2012) suggested that peoples’ affinity toward parks and protected areas may be a predictor of support for positive attitudes toward parks.  The role of national legislation and its impact on how people perceive parks should be used will also be discussed.  The overall discussion will be a synthesis of a body of work that seeks to explain behavior from a social and political perspective.