About the Author(s)

Dorothy R. Queiros Email symbol
Department of Applied Management, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Queiro, D.R., 2022, ‘People Parks Win-Win Framework: Integrating components that can influence people-park relationships’, Koedoe 64(1), a1723. https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v64i1.1723

Original Research

People Parks Win-Win Framework: Integrating components that can influence people-park relationships

Dorothy R. Queiros

Received: 28 Mar. 2022; Accepted: 29 Aug. 2022; Published: 26 Sept. 2022

Copyright: © 2022. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Protected areas are often surrounded by impoverished communities. Biodiversity must be conserved while improving community well-being. Greater insight is required into what influences pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour in these communities. Much appears to rest on the relationships between protected area staff and local communities surrounding the parks, yet there is limited understanding of stakeholders’ perceptions and how to pragmatically achieve win-win solutions. With the current lack of a multidimensional framework to enhance understanding of this complex and dynamic relationships, this research aimed to construct a comprehensive integrated framework representing the components that can influence people-park relationships. The framework was constructed via a threefold approach, namely a broader literature review, a focused study of existing schemata and primary research regarding the attitudes and behaviour of three local communities bordering three different protected areas in South Africa. The resultant People Parks Win-Win Framework consists of four layers (each with its own components): ‘External context’, ‘Stakeholders’, ‘Community beneficiation’ and ‘Outputs’. Its unique arrangement focuses on beneficiation, inclusion of more stakeholders and their characteristics, the centrality of relationships and demonstration of outputs (how preceding layers can culminate in win-wins and how pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour fit into this). A simplified framework is also provided, for stakeholders to superimpose their own characteristics, benefits, influences and beneficiation principles. This research draws on the work of others as well as primary research to produce this multidimensional framework capturing the influences on people-park relationships with a focus on achieving both community well-being and biodiversity conservation.

Conservation implications: Win-wins for community well-being and biodiversity conservation are complex. Yet potential exists for tangible and intangible beneficiation, which can foster positive attitudes resulting in pro-conservation behaviour and robust reciprocate relationships between parks and neighbouring communities. To this end, the framework serves as a practical tool for protected area managers and stakeholders involved in the people-park relationships, which can be customised to particular contexts.

Keywords: benefits; biodiversity conservation; local community well-being; people-park relationships; People Parks Win-Win Framework; pro-conservation attitudes.


The conservation crisis, together with impoverished communities on the verges of natural protected areas, creates a major challenge. The natural environment globally is losing biodiversity, highlighting the urgency to conserve protected areas in order to halt this loss (Abrams et al. 2009; Allen et al. 2019). Ceballos et al. (2015:1) confidently conclude that there has been an ‘exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way’, with a devastating loss of ecosystem services looming. The crisis, however, can be lessened through rapid intensified conservation efforts, but this window of opportunity is quickly closing (Ceballos et al. 2015). At the same time, the majority of protected areas in Africa are surrounded by poor communities (Davies et al. 2014; Shackleton et al. 2010) and are experiencing increasing illegal harvesting of natural resources (Mutanga, Muboko & Gandiwa 2017). According to recent forecasts, by 2050, Africa’s population is expected to double and half of that population will be under 25 years of age (Baker 2015; United Nations 2021). These youngsters will also carry the majority of the unemployment burden (African Development Report 2015). In South Africa, where this research was conducted, the ‘triple problem’ of poverty, unemployment and inequality is commonplace (World Economic Forum 2019).

The dual crises of poverty and biodiversity loss are therefore two distinct but connected concerns in the 21st century (Davies et al. 2014; Nyaupane & Poudel 2011) – not only in Africa, but globally. This linkage has resulted in attempts to decrease poverty through management systems whereby local community livelihoods are incorporated into action plans and locals become involved in and support the conservation of biodiversity (Abrams et al. 2009; Davies et al. 2014; Stoll-Kleemann 2005). In South Africa, government is also increasingly highlighting the twofold achievement of peoples’ well-being and park conservation and the participation of local communities in this. For example, while comparing the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 (South Africa 2003) and the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004 (South Africa 2004) with the more recently released ‘Norms and Standards for the Management of Protected Areas in South Africa’ (South Africa 2016), the responsibilities placed on protected areas to improve human well-being are much more distinct. These include community welfare, development, education, communication, use of natural resources, access to the land and long-term economic benefits. With stakeholders within protected areas worldwide, as well as in Africa and South Africa, working towards improved involvement of neighbouring local communities and with governments keenly advocating this, the integration of these two agendas is becoming increasingly pressing, but proving more challenging and costly than anticipated (Adams 2013).

Yet this integration is essential as the future success of conserving wildlife and their habitats could depend on the attitudes and behaviour of communities living in and nearby protected areas (Snyman 2014; Tessema et al. 2007) and on the extent to which their lives are improved (Diedrich 2007; Hackel 1999). However, greater insight into what influences pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour is first required, that is, what causes local people to want to conserve and engage in pro-environmental behaviour? (Berkes 2004; Coria & Calfucura 2012; Imran, Alam & Beaumont 2014; Kiss 2004; Mbaiwa & Stronza 2010; Walpole & Goodwin 2001). Ferse et al. (2010:7) said: ‘A deeper understanding of what drives positive conservation behaviour and what hampers it, is needed’.

A great deal appears to rest on the relationships between protected area staff and the local communities surrounding the parks. In South Africa, despite growing literature regarding protected area management, there is still limited understanding of the perceptions of both park officials and local communities regarding these inter-relationships (Thondhlana & Cundill 2017). McCleave, Espiner and Booth (2006), who conducted a literature review of New Zealand case studies, highlight the significance of this issue but add that there is a scarcity of theory on people-park relationships. McCleave et al. (2006) warn that failing to recognise this important relationships can hamper effective management, cause the community to resent conservation and result in reduced social well-being and loss of tourism opportunities. Anthony (2021) who considers this relationships in the context of human-wildlife conflict and Mutanga et al. (2017) who investigate a range of influences on this relationship, contend that a deeper understanding of what affects people-park relationships is required. Stoll-Kleemann (2005), reporting on the international Governance of Biodiversity (GoBi) research project, which considered the integration of ecological and socio-economic approaches in improving protected area management, appeals for better relationships between protected areas and surrounding communities. These authors contend that pragmatic integration of the interests of both protected areas and neighbouring communities is an urgent requirement.

Pragmatic integration, however, requires achievement of the dual goals of biodiversity conservation and improvement in the well-being of communities bordering protected areas (Davies et al. 2014; Ferse et al. 2010). This is vital to impact positively on the biodiversity and poverty crises. Yet, as pointed out by Wali et al. (2017), there is much work needed on how to integrate biodiversity conservation with human well-being. In addition, solutions must be realistic, considering the very real constraints experienced by protected areas in South Africa, and elsewhere. This research refers to achieving this pragmatic integration as aiming for win-wins between parks and people.

Furthermore, answers to these problems need to be represented in a format that is useful to practitioners in nature conservation and community development, local communities and academics. However, following a review of existing frameworks (outlined later in this article), it would appear that a comprehensive integrated framework or schema such as this does not exist. Allendorf (2010) identifies this research gap:

The lack of a common framework limits not only our understanding, but also the development of future research areas and approaches to balancing conservation and sustainable development around protected areas (PAs). If we are to understand and address fundamental PA–people issues, we need a descriptive framework that enables the understanding of the relationships that people have with PAs and that facilitates comparisons among PAs. (p. 417)

Published in 2018, Stone and Nyaupane deliver a brief overview of different frameworks and models that link conservation, tourism and the livelihood of local people. They contend that existing frameworks:

[A]re based on simple static concepts and fail to capture the complexity and dynamic nature of the relationships … Moving forward in addressing this complexity, there is a need to overcome the development and reliance on simplified models of complex systems. (Stone & Nyaupane 2018:309)

Wali et al. (2017) also argue for more multidimensional tactics to address community well-being, arguing that economic indices alone are insufficient and exclude other interrelated components that also account for community well-being.

The aim of this research was therefore to construct a comprehensive integrated framework representing the components that can influence people-park relationships. This research forms part of a larger study carried out (Queiros 2020), wherein this framework was the final output. This article first outlines the research strategy used to construct the framework followed by examination of existing schemata. In the results section, the People Parks Win-Win Framework (PPWW) is introduced, followed by a discussion on its distinctiveness and the various layers and components. The article is then concluded.

Research strategy

Figure 1 depicts the threefold approach used to construct the framework: a broad literature review, a focused study of existing schemata and primary research conducted in South Africa regarding the attitudes and behaviour of three local communities bordering three different protected areas. Each approach contributed elements to the final framework. Existing schemata are discussed in detail as they inform the research gap. The current section briefly covers the design of the literature review followed by the methodology used in the primary research.

FIGURE 1: Threefold approach to construct the People Parks Win-Win Framework.

Design of the literature review

The literature review focused on the influences on pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour. The author sought to conduct a wide-ranging search so as to provide multiple lenses at the start of the research. This aligns with Maxwell (2013) who warns researchers to include concepts from beyond the traditional field of study. The language of the sources was restricted to English. Various keyword combinations were used in both Google Scholar and within the e-journals search engines of the University of South Africa’s library. The researcher consulted the work of different researchers worldwide in the fields of tourism, the natural environment, development and social studies. A wide range of models and frameworks related to communities or communities and conservation were also consulted. The majority of sources consulted were in the fields of protected areas, biodiversity conservation and local communities. Some focused entirely on these domains, while others incorporated different combinations of the following keywords: attitudes, behaviour, benefits, participation, poverty reduction and natural resource management. Some of this research was from the perspective of a particular approach, such as sustainable tourism development, ecotourism or one of the numerous different approaches to community-based conservation and/or tourism. The literature review was updated after the collection of primary data, in order to include newer research.

The findings from the literature review were clustered under the different foci of the research. A key investigation was the contrasting views on the different linkages between benefits and losses or costs, pro-conservation attitudes and pro-conservation behaviour. This included research where connections were made between benefits or costs and attitudes; research that had very specific links between benefits or costs and behaviour and between attitudes and behaviour; and studies that argue against the presence of links between benefits and pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour. A large section of the literature review documented the different benefits (tangible and intangible) received by local communities bordering protected areas as well as the losses or costs incurred by these communities because of proximity to a protected area (since these can influence attitudes and behaviour). Finally, ‘other factors’ that were not benefits but could influence pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour were also considered. Some examples include the presence of tourism, local participation, multiple livelihood strategies and building trust.

The literature review informed the questions posed to the participants in the primary research. The full literature review as per Queiros (2020) is beyond the scope of this article. However, the specific components from literature that were integrated into the framework, which is the focus of this article, are clearly discussed in the tables that form part of the discussion.

Primary research methodology

The primary research was qualitative as the researcher sought to explore the feelings, opinions and perceptions of the participants in their own words (Roulston 2014). While much conservation-related research is quantitative, this research was firmly positioned in the interpretivism or constructivism paradigm, which acknowledges the multiple subjective interpretations that individuals will have of their world (Creswell 2014). In the context of African society and community, it was vital to work with social systems, where individuals’ lived realities are constructed by both individuals and groups, and discovered via the interactions within these social groups (Bann 2001; Lune & Berg 2017). In this vein, and in order to hear the voices of the participants in ways with which they could identify, multiple methods were used to gather data. These methods were semi-structured individual interviews, focus group interviews, adapted nominal grouping technique and drawings (of the communities living area in contrast to the protected area). Atlas.ti, as a data software package for qualitative research, was instrumental in organising and analysing the large body of data.

Data were collected at three case study sites within South Africa between December 2015 and September 2017. Each case study site comprises the following: (1) protected area where a tourism venture exists and (2) the local community located closest to the protected area (as these are usually the communities most affected by the protected area). In other words, within each case study, two groups of people (constituencies) formed part of the research. Constituency 1 (C1) refers to the local community living closest to the protected area. Constituency 2 (C2) denotes the protected area: conservation authorities (e.g. reserve management), conservationists, as well as other stakeholders that are involved in managing the tourism venture. Participants were selected using non-probability purposive sampling. For C1, it was important that the group constituted a balance of participants in terms of age, gender and societal position.

The three case studies varied from each other in the sense that each protected area had differing management models and ownership structures and were at different stages in the level of improvement in human well-being offered to the neighbouring community. Using open-ended questions around several themes, the contrasting cases assisted the researcher in determining how very different contexts influence attitudes and behaviour related to conservation. This enabled the framework to be more comprehensive. The first case study site was Dinokeng Game Reserve and Kekana Gardens community (13 C1 participants; 4 C2 participants) in the Gauteng province. Dinokeng is a public–private partnership between provincial government and landowners, with the latter running various tourism establishments varying from budget to luxury. Regarding the level of improvement in human well-being for bordering communities, as a fairly new reserve opened in 2011 (Dinokeng 2017), reserve management and landowners are still developing different economic and social well-being programmes. Mkhambathi Nature Reserve and Khanyayo community (19 C1 participants; 5 C2 participants) in the Eastern Cape province formed the second case. Mkhambathi has been a nature reserve since 1982 (Queiros 2000). It is a provincial reserve on land owned by the surrounding local communities, and hence jointly managed by Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency and a community trust. Income from tourism is currently minimal, as only a few mid-range accommodation options still exist, but a private company is developing some luxury accommodation. Low tourism numbers affect benefit flow and employment possibilities, but reserve staff have been interacting with the community for several years and run various economic and social upliftment programmes. The third case study was Phinda Private Game Reserve and Mnqobokasi community (24 C1 participants; 5 C2 participants) in KwaZulu-Natal. This reserve was established in 1991, is managed by &Beyond and offers luxury tourism (&Beyond 2018). Some land is owned by local communities which rent it to &Beyond. Unlike the other two case studies, Phinda has a dedicated organisation, Africa Foundation, focusing on community involvement and beneficiation. The relationships between Phinda and the Mnqobokazi community is well established, with employment opportunities and economic and social upliftment programmes in place. Within the conservation and tourism realm, the model followed by Phinda is widely perceived as successful.

At each site, C2 participants had individual semi-structured interviews. For C1, at each case study site, participants self-divided into two groups. Each group had a focus group interview and a drawing session. For the adapted nominal grouping technique, both groups came together. The research was conducted with a translator, in the mother tongues of participants, which at the three case study sites were Sepedi, isiMpondo and isiZulu, respectively. Access to the communities was facilitated by the protected area management and enabled via permission from community leadership.

At each site, the same questions were asked to participants regarding the following themes:

  • The community’s knowledge and experience of the protected area.
  • The relationships between the community and the protected area.
  • Positive and negative changes that the protected area had brought to the community’s way of life.
  • Elements that could increase positive attitudes of the community towards the protected area.
  • The community’s responsibilities towards the protected area.
  • Benefits and losses incurred by the community because of living nearby a protected area.
  • Participants’ ideas of an ideal future in the context of being a community bordering a protected area.

For each case study, the data were transcribed and then coded inductively, creating a coding frame for each of the above-mentioned themes. After this, cross-case analysis took place to compare the findings across the three case studies, for each of these themes. Using this analysis, meta-themes were identified that captured the most pertinent influences on pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour across the three case studies. It was these meta-themes that helped to construct the framework.

As a result of the extent of the analysis (three case studies comprising 1217 coded quotes in total), followed by a cross-case analysis, the presentation and discussion of primary findings is beyond the scope of this article but can be found in Queiros (2020).

Existing schemata

In investigating existing schemata, two types were relevant to the people-park relationships – those representing the community and the conservation area and those focusing on the community only. Certain components from these existing schemata were then incorporated into the final framework.

Schemata that include the community and conservation area (C & C)

The ‘Theory of resource use’ by Firey (1960) was arguably the first model on protected area–people relationships and indicates the overlaps between the ecological, economic and social dimensions. Following on from that several authors included these components within more detailed models, such as Bennett (2016) and Ross and Wall (1999). Abel and Blaikie (1986) later developed a very detailed ‘Management model for national parks’. It focused on elephants and ivory and different habitats. A few people elements were also included, such as employment opportunities and roads. In 2006, McCleave et al. published the ‘Model of the New Zealand people-park relationships’ and what affects the relationships. The park and its neighbours are the core of the model, surrounded by three dimensions: lifestyle, recreation and place attachment; tourism; and interactions with the park management agency. This model applies more to developed countries and to parks with a well-established tourism product. It is therefore less applicable to impoverished communities, resource access, meeting basic needs and so forth. Of interest to an integrated model, however, is that the ‘stage of tourism development’ is included as a component that plays a part in relationships (and is hence included in the final framework). Another approach was that of Zube and Busch (1990) who proposed four models of ‘park-local population relationships’. Each model depicts a differing management approach that can encourage positive people-park relationships.

The following six schemas directly focused on both the community and the conservation area, with each one contributing to the final framework. Three of the models use a triangular structure. Nyaupane and Poudel (2011) created the model ‘Linkages among biodiversity conservation, livelihood improvement and tourism development’, which illustrates the two-way relationships between these three aspects. Their research used Appreciative Inquiry in three communities surrounding Nepal’s Chitwan National Park. Uni-directional arrows between the three aspects highlight different linkages, such as investments due to tourism development result in improved livelihoods. Ross and Wall’s (1999) ‘Ecotourism paradigm’ has a similar structure in the sense that it considers the balance and synergistic relationships between local communities, biodiversity and tourism. However, they also add ‘management’ to the centre of the model because it plays a pivotal role in maintaining balance via effective management. For example, a one-way arrow links management to the local community, with the mention of ‘Outreach programmes’ and ‘Enforcement of use zones’. Later, Tsaur, Lin and Lin (2006) adapted Ross and Wall’s (1999) framework. They represented ‘tourism’, ‘local community’ and ‘the resource’ as the three corners of a triangle, with bi-directional arrows connecting the corners and representing economic, social and environmental relationships.

The linked incentives model of direct linkage as a conservation strategy is the work of Salafsky and Wollenberg (2000). They had previously proposed three conservation strategies, namely no linkage, indirect linkage and direct linkage. It is the latter, as the ideal scenario, that became this model. Using a series of blocks with connecting arrows, it represents different connections between livelihood activities and conservation (labelled as ‘biodiversity’). In this model, to protect the environment, alternative livelihood options that support biodiversity are provided to communities inside the conservation area (who might be an internal threat) and to communities outside the park (as a possible external threat). As a result of the linkages of increased benefits received, capacity building and locals recognising the value of biodiversity conservation, the notion is that local people will act to conserve.

Mutanga et al. (2015a) designed a framework for assessing the relationships between a protected area and community. They also used an arrangement of blocks (but in columns) with ‘protected area (staff)’ and ‘community’ as the two outer columns linked by the middle column of ‘human–wildlife interface’. Their assertion is that conservation is enhanced if these relationships are positive. Mutanga et al.’s study is based on a literature review and demonstrates that the attitudes of both parties’ shape relationships. Four major factors play a role, namely the history of the protected area in the sense of forced relocation and a fences or fines approach; benefits and costs because of living near to a protected area; socio-demographic factors, for example, level of education and household size and income; and community involvement in conservation initiatives via Integrated Conservation and Development Projects.

Based on research in Myanmar and Nepal, the ‘Framework for the protected area–people relationships’ by Allendorf (2010) introduces the idea of layers within a framework. Allendorf selected universal terms that can be applied and compared across different cases. The inner layer represents people’s physical relationships with the protected area (how locals interact with and use the area and the impact of the protected area on them in terms of costs). This layer also represents their attitudes towards the protected area (including their perceptions of the area) and concerns whether they like or dislike the protected area. The middle layer relates to people’s perception of other entities, for example, management, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and government (which can perform a direct or indirect role). Finally, the outer layer concerns the broader context of the social, political, cultural, historical and economic realms and their linkages to the people-park relationships.

Lastly, Bennett’s (2016) article investigates research regarding perceptions and the contribution thereof to improving adaptive management and evidence-based conservation. He maintains that perceptions are often dismissed in conservation science, but are research-worthy because they provide valuable insights into how to ensure the support of the community and thereby long-term conservation. Bennett’s (2016) schema, in the form of a flow chart, therefore depicts the importance of knowing the perceptions regarding different facets (social, ecological, governance and management), which will then generate or undermine support for conservation. These perceptions are influenced by the social context and the individual context.

Schemata focusing on the community (C)

Four schemas with a community focus contained valuable elements for inclusion into an integrated framework. These are briefly discussed next.

The ‘Sustainable livelihoods framework’ was developed by Scoones (1998) and is a multifaceted tool for analysing sustainable rural livelihoods. It includes five key indicators, namely context, livelihood resources, institutional processes, livelihood strategies and sustainable outcomes. In different contexts, several livelihood resources are available that combine to form a particular livelihood strategy, which in turn influences sustainable livelihood outcomes. This is affected by different processes and organisational structures. The different options aligned with each of the five key indicators are located in the centre of the framework (Krantz 2001; Scoones 1998).

Garrod et al. (2001) in Garrod (2003) present the ‘Revised model of local participation in planning and managing ecotourism’. It has a different focus – outlining eight consecutive steps that can be followed to foster local participation and good planning and management in ecotourism projects. Originally developed for marine ecotourism in the European Union’s Atlantic region, this model has wider applicability to various ecotourism projects in different locations (Garrod 2003). Garrod argues that participation should be well integrated into these planning steps and not just be an ‘add-on’.

Quite different in structure, the Stool model was developed by Brook et al. (2009) for a project in Northern Canada. It depicts four critical supports (the legs of the stool) that are necessary in order to foster community-based wildlife health monitoring and research. These supports are collaboration, information and analysis, funding and education. The seat of the stool, being a local champion, is a key contribution of this model – coordinating, ‘holding’ the supports together and keeping participants engaged and informed.

Finally, based on a literature review of community-based tourism across rich and poor countries, Giampiccoli, Jugmohan and Mtapuri (2015) generated the ‘Community-Based Tourism E model’ (CBT E model). This model contains eight Es, which represent the fundamental pillars against which a community-based tourism project can be evaluated. They are endogenous (reliance on natural resources); environment (care thereof as well as physical infrastructure); education (to advance both skills and education); empowerment (economic, psychological, social and political); equity (in terms of distributing benefits and resources); evolving (continuous improvement and adaptation); enduring (long-term sustainability); and entrepreneurship (the support thereof) (Giampiccoli et al. 2015).

The research gap presented in the introduction revealed that a comprehensive integrated framework that captures the components that could influence people-park relationships does not exist. This section has examined some of the existing schemata. These schemata hold value and components thereof are built into the framework resulting from this research.

Results: The People Parks Win-Win Framework

By integrating existing schemata and existing literature with primary research findings, a newly synthesised framework was constructed. This section introduces the PPWW – a comprehensive integrated framework representing the components that can influence people-park relationships (Figure 2). Through the threefold approach, comprehensiveness and generalisability was increased and a tool was created that can be used by relevant stakeholders. Following the framework, its various layers, components and linkages are discussed via several tables. Its contribution to the field of nature conservation is also discussed.

FIGURE 2: People Parks Win-Win Framework.


The PPWW Framework provides a detailed overview of the different layers and the components within each layer that can influence people-park relationships. Four layers are set out, namely ‘External context’, ‘Stakeholders’, ‘Community beneficiation’ and ‘Outputs’ and each contain their own components. To demonstrate validity and reliability, four tables accompany the discussion to review the origin of each component and layer. The PPWW Framework can be used by stakeholders involved in the relationships between people and parks, as a practical tool to facilitate win-win situations for both communities and biodiversity conservation.

By representing multiple influences on this relationships between people and parks, the PPWW can assist in shaping protected area management strategies for varying people-park arrangements, ranging from benefit-sharing only to true co-management. The PPWW components neither operate in isolation nor as a complete package. It depends on the context of each protected area and its adjacent or resident community. Stakeholders (often from trans-disciplines) should adapt it to their own context, taking cognisance that all these components can impact the relationships between people and parks. Stakeholders also need to be aware that these relationships are complex and no single framework will entirely capture all impacting components.

The PPWW is a significant departure from other schemata for the following reasons:

  • It is specific to the components that emerged in this research via primary and secondary research.
  • Its arrangement and the detailed focus on beneficiation (and principles to follow in benefit distribution) is novel.
  • The PPWW incorporates multiple stakeholders and indicates that all can be involved in beneficiation with these relationships affecting the achievement of a win-win scenario.
  • As the characteristics of the stakeholders have considerable influence, they are included.
  • It concludes with an ‘Outputs’ layer, which suggests that preceding layers and components can culminate in the provision of benefits by stakeholders and represents the results this can have on community members – potentially leading to pro-conservation attitudes and behaviours and ultimately to a successful relationships between people and park. Moreover, what takes place in this final layer can feed back into preceding layers, creating a positive cycle.
  • Finally, the centrality of relationships in the framework differentiates it from other schemata. While relationships are inherent in some of the linkages represented in the schemata that focus on both the community and the conservation area, only Mutanga et al. (2015a) include the word ‘relationships’ within their framework, while Ross and Wall (1999) used it in the title of their framework. Furthermore, the current framework is different in showing that all layers and components influence relationships.

The discussion continues throughout Table 1, Table 2, Table 3 and Table 4. Each layer is numbered and main headings are in bold. Grey and white sections differentiate components from each other and linking arrows are indicated in italics.

TABLE 1: Layer 1 and components used to build the People Parks Win-Win Framework.
TABLE 2: Layer 2 and components used to build the People Parks Win-Win Framework.
TABLE 2 (Continues...): Layer 2 and components used to build the People Parks Win-Win Framework.
TABLE 3: Layer 3 and components used to build the People Parks Win-Win Framework.
TABLE 3 (Continues): Layer 3 and components used to build the People Parks Win-Win Framework.
TABLE 3 (Continues): Layer 3 and components used to build the People Parks Win-Win Framework.
TABLE 4: Layer 4 and components used to build the People Parks Win-Win Framework.

The key for Table 1, Table 2, Table 3 and Table 4 and their preamble is as follows:

C = Existing schemata that focus on the Community only.

C & C = Existing schemata that include Community and Conservation area.

PR = Primary Research.

LR = Literature Review.

Table 1 outlines the origin of each component within the ‘External context’ layer. As the outer layer, the ‘External context’ influences all other layers and components within the framework. The idea of layers of influence is borrowed from Allendorf’s (2010) ‘Framework for the protected-area–people relationships’ (C & C). People Parks Win-Win Framework uses its ‘Context’ layer as the outer layer, renaming it as ‘External context’. However, while Allendorf (2010) includes economic, historical, political, social and cultural within this outer layer, PPWW only uses the first three components. It integrates social and cultural within the next layer for ‘Stakeholders’. This is because the framework contains a dedicated layer for ‘Stakeholders’ and the ‘Social’ component is therefore better positioned alongside ‘Community’ as a stakeholder.

Table 2 considers the components within the ‘Stakeholders’ layer of PPWW. Allendorf (2010) (C & C) has a similar layer but labels it as ‘Entities’. People Parks Win-Win Framework includes ‘Community’ and ‘Tourism management’ as stakeholders, thus adding to what Allendorf included, namely ‘Park management’, ‘NGOs’ and ‘Government’. Table 2 also contains a sub-layer, entitled ‘Stakeholder characteristics’ (highlighted in brown) – included because the PR reveals that the specific characteristics/circumstances of each stakeholder can influence this relationships. The characteristics of the community influence their perception of benefits (vertical green text in framework), while the characteristics of the other stakeholders will influence the generation of benefits (vertical peach text in framework).

Table 3 contains the origin, context and discussion around the components in Layer 3, namely ‘Community beneficiation’. The LR revealed various schools of thought on the linkages between benefits and losses, pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour. Several authors establish a link between benefits and attitudes (Liu et al. 2014; Reimer & Walter 2013; Scanlon & Kull 2009; Strickland-Munro & Moore 2014) while others include lack of benefits or costs as influencing attitudes (Black 2015; Kideghesho, Røskaft & Kaltenborn 2007; Mehta & Heinen 2001). Some researchers extend receipt of benefits to changing attitudes and behaviour (Biodiversity Conservation Network 1999; Gadd 2005; Hulme & Murphree 1999; Kideghesho et al. 2007; Mbaiwa 2005; Ogunbode 2013; Shibia 2010; Tran & Walter 2014) and some contend that it is also a lack of benefits or losses that influence attitudes and behaviour (Burgoyne & Mearns 2017; Odindi & Ayirebi 2010; Thondhlana, Cundill & Kepe 2016).

Considered cumulatively, there is strong support in literature for the notion that benefits and losses influence attitudes, which in turn influence behaviour. In this PR, benefits and losses emerged as key in influencing attitudes and some links to behaviour were also found. Therefore, based on the importance of benefits, as emerging in the LR and PR, PPWW includes a layer dedicated to ‘Community beneficiation’. Some C & C schemata mention benefits (Mutanga et al. [2015a] include ‘Benefits and Costs’; Ross and Wall [1999] refer to ‘Outreach Programmes’; Salafsky and Wollenberg [2000] mention ‘Benefits’); and Nyaupane and Poudel (2011) list a few examples of benefits (such as jobs, education and infrastructure). However, PPWW’s focus on the main benefits is a departure from existing schema. Losses or costs incurred by the community are excluded because PPWW focuses on requirements for a win-win relationships.

It is important to observe that it is the presence of beneficiation and beneficiation principles that lead to the outputs (discussed in Table 4). The stakeholder characteristics of the community will influence their perception of benefits (vertical green text in framework) and the characteristics of park management, tourism management, external stakeholders and government will influence the generation of benefits (vertical peach text in framework).

The final section of the discussion (in Table 4) centres on the ‘Outputs’ layer, which suggests the outcomes that could be expected should enough of the components discussed in Table 1, Table 2 and Table 3 be in place.

Finally, for practitioners who would prefer a simplified framework on which they can superimpose their own characteristics, benefits, influences and beneficiation principles, Figure 3 provides the ‘Simplified People Parks Win-Win Framework’.

FIGURE 3: Simplified People Parks Win-Win Framework.


The biodiversity and poverty crises are realities and impact each other. In the African context, protected area management confronts very real constraints in terms of budgets and a limited number of staff, who need to accomplish a multitude of tasks. Communities bordering these parks are often impoverished and may not share the sentiment that these parks should be protected. The conservation of this crucial biodiversity thus depends on good relationships with surrounding communities and finding win-win solutions. Yet, there are gaps regarding what influences local communities to have, or not to have, pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour and regarding people-park relationships. Furthermore, an extensive framework that captures the multiple influences on this relationships did not exist.

The People Parks Win-Win Framework was constructed from literature, existing schema and primary research to illustrate the components that can influence the people-park relationships. The framework provides a more complex, multidimensional type of framework. It deviates from others in terms of its structure and arrangement; detailed focus on beneficiation; incorporation of more stakeholders, as well as their characteristics; strong focus on community well-being being equally important to biodiversity conservation; centrality of the people-park relationship; and inclusion of an output layer, which demonstrates how the preceding layers could culminate in a win-win scenario, and also how pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour fit into this.

While the primary research was carried out in the South African context, the literature and schemata that contributed to the framework come from various authors worldwide. The resultant framework has global applicability to other settings where people live side by side with parks and can be adapted to suit different contexts. It can be used by stakeholders to: understand the multiple forces at play regarding the people-park relationship; consider the range of benefits and customise these to their own context and particular constraints faced; and consider the other internal influences and beneficiation principles which can maximise a good relationships and contribute to win-wins. This framework could be a practical tool for protected area management, communities and other stakeholders when developing strategies and plans for the future. It may also be of interest to academics – testing, customising or adding to it.

Rode et al. (2016:46) suggest that ‘“win-win solutions” that can combine conservation and livelihoods benefits may not always be found, but that it is worth looking for them’. Win-wins are indeed a complex process involving negotiations between different stakeholders with different agendas and clarity in planning as well as implementation. With commitment from government, conservation agencies, tourism bodies and other stakeholders, as well as informed realistic expectations from local communities and recognition of their role and responsibilities, there is potential for tangible and intangible benefit provision within a healthy context. This could foster positive attitudes that could lead to pro-conservation behaviour and the instilling of robust reciprocate relationships between the park and the people living nearby – where communities benefit from the wildlife on their doorstep and are part of its conservation. The alternative of not investing in this crucial relationships and not ensuring a healthy sustainable flow of benefits (i.e. not looking for ‘win-win solutions’) could result in significant losses on both sides, with the final score being lose–lose.


The author would like to acknowledge the communities and protected area staff who participated in the primary research. She would also wish to thank the supervisors of her PhD in Environmental Management, Prof. Kevin Mearns and Prof. Ciné van Zyl for their invaluable guidance.

This article stems from the thesis of the author, titled ‘Towards pro-conservation attitudes and behaviour by local communities bordering protected areas in South Africa’ submitted to the University of South Africa in fulfilment of doctoral degree, available here: http://hdl.handle.net/10500/26663

Competing interests

The author declares that she has no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced her in writing this article.

Author’s contributions

D.R.Q. is the sole author of this article.

Ethical considerations

Ethical clearance was issued by the University of South Africa (Unisa) (reference number: 2015/CAES/016) and permission obtained from the participating reserves. Informed consent was obtained from each chief or community leader, protected area manager as well as all participants.

Funding information

Funding for this research was provided by the University of South Africa through its Academic Qualification Improvement Programme.

Data availability

The primary data analysed to construct the framework is available in Queiros (2020), but the original transcripts are protected by the ethics rules of the university.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any affiliated agency of the author.


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Crossref Citations

1. Governance of China’s Potatso National Park Influenced by Local Community Participation
Ting Ma, Lizhi Jia, Linsheng Zhong, Xinyu Gong, Yu Wei
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  vol: 20  issue: 1  first page: 807  year: 2023  
doi: 10.3390/ijerph20010807