ABSTRACT

Heinen, J.T.; Roque, A., and Collado-Vides, L., 2017. Managerial implications of perceptions, knowledge, attitudes, and awareness of residents regarding Puerto Morelos Reef National Park, Mexico.

This study explores the perceptions of local residents of Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico, concerning Puerto Morelos Reef National Park using semistructured and key informant surveys. Collectively, the data provide qualitative and quantitative information regarding attitudes, knowledge, and awareness of park regulations and natural resources, as well as opinions about the formation and management of the protected area. The results show large differences in knowledge and awareness based on location of households within the community. Demographic indicators including education level, nationality, and length of community residence significantly correlate with perceptions about marine protection. There was a significant relationship between awareness of economic growth provided by the protected area and the level of support for protection, but many residents–particularly newer residents, those living farther inland, and those of lower educational levels—were unaware of the park, its resources, or its management. Further understanding of the relationships between social indicators and resource management is needed for conservation of important coastal resources. The results suggest that much more public outreach and education are needed within the region.

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