A tale of two protected areas: “value and nature conservation” in comparable national parks in Estonia and Russia


Henri Järv (Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia)
Anton Shkaruba (Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia)
Olga Likhacheva (Pskov State University, Russia)
Viktar Kireyeu (Saint Petersburg State University, Russia)
Raymond Ward (Centre for Aquatic Environments, School of the Environment and Technology, University of Brighton, UK)
Kalev Sepp (Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonia)


This study explores how local communities reflect on institutional frameworks and protected area governance in two NPs with similar nature values in Estonia and Russia, and aims to understand the role of value systems in these interactions. It is based on 50 in-depth interviews with a broad range of stakeholders, and a desktop analysis of relevant regulation and plans. Interview questions reflect on various aspects of well-being, awareness of NPs’ function and restrictions, related value aspects, and also covered basic personal data needed for the interpretation of interviews. The study reconfirms the pivotal role of social justice as a driver of wellbeing. In particular it articulates the significance of value systems playing the role of filters between governance inputs and specific management activities of communities, and underlines the vulnerability of such systems at a community level, most of all to the impacts related to various instances of “centralization” manifested through the choice of restrictive measures and top-down arrangements at the expense of transparency and inclusiveness (in Russia), as well as through the removal of governance autonomies from NPs and transferring monitoring and enforcement functions to local communities without clear mandates or sufficient capacity (in Estonia).


Land. 2021 (pending)