Social Impact Assessment in Eifel National Park
The Eifel National Park is one of 16 designated National Parks in Germany. It was established in 2004 on predominantly publicly owned land, including 33 km2 of former military training grounds. Postcards were sent to all households in 12 villages inside or near the Eifel National Park inviting them to participate in a pilot version of the SOCIAT survey. In total 333 responses were received, yielding a 5% return.
This information can allow National Park authorities to identify which communities have the most negative attitudes and perceptions towards the park and create targeted campaigns to increase support levels.
Attitudes, Engagement and Behaviour
Respondents were asked if their perception of the Eifel National Park has changed since the park was established.
- 34.5% stated that their perceptions for the national park is more positive since its establishment
- 11.4% reported that their perception is more negative.
- 73% of respondents believed that ‘most people’ or ‘everyone’ follow the rules and regulations for the protection of biodiversity in the National Park
- 91.2% of participants reported that they follow the smoking and open fires ban
- 87.6% follow a ban to forage mushrooms, berries or flowers
- Only 58.4% reported that they keep to designated paths most of the time
- 13.7% had been a member of a nature conservation non-Governmental organisation in the past 12 months
Respondents were asked if they are personally affected by the National Park.
- 55.9% claim that the park influences how they spend their spare time
- 9.3% state it affects them professionally, for example as hosts of holiday homes
- 28.5% report they do not see an impact on their personal lives
Respondents were also asked if they believed benefits to be equally distributed between locals and visitors
- 55.9% agreed that benefits were equally distributed
- 29.7% believed that benefits were mainly enjoyed by visitors
- Highest level of trust was expressed for the Eifel National Park Authority.
- The state government and the federal government were not trusted as much by respondents.
- Approximately 60% of the sample also mentioned that the area of the Eifel national park means a lot to them (place attachment).
- over 80% of the sample stated strong biospheric values
- 80% of respondents expect other users to behave responsibly when in Eifel national park