The Socio-Economic Value of Protected Areas. The Bucegi Natural Park

Adriana GRIGORESCU, Madalina-Nicoleta FRINCULEASA, Razvan-Ion CHITESCU

Abstract


Natural ecosystems are extremely exposed to the ever-increasing changes in population growth and the expanded need for resources. The economic capitalization of their constituent elements makes their degradation and conversion more profitable than conserving them. Nevertheless, mankind is mindful of nature’s value, and over time has developed its policy and means of protection and conservation to help it integrate its actions so that they respect the paradigm of sustainable development. Most of the ecosystem’s functions are, also, economic. The process of determining the economic value of an ecosystem is a laborious approach that involves specific instruments that depend on many variables. These variables are induced by the innate/ natural transformations of the biogeographical environment or by particular situations generated by extreme phenomena. This study addresses the economic value of natural areas (with the example of the Bucegi Natural Park –B.N.P.) in a methodological context focused on international studies, with results in certain protected areas in Romania. The established report managed to provide an economic value obtained both from the revenues generated from the costs for visitors and jobs and through the capitalization of the non-commercial benefits. As an important element in our investigation, we took into consideration the pressures and menaces identified in protected areas. Natural activities (geological and geomorphological events, climate changes) and anthropogenic events (e.g. development of residential and commercial spaces, transport corridors and services, tourism activities) associated with negative elements (pollution, hunting and overfishing, degradation) involve costs. Dedicated by ever-changing legislation, inadequate financial support, and a faulty management approach, they tend to balance the scale against the benefits. The economic valorization of the components defining a protected natural area serves as an advantage for all involved parts. This must be performed within the limits of the actual legal framework but in the spirit of protection and respect for nature in all its’ forms.

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