The beginnings of conservation of protected areas in the Valencian Community. The institutionalization of protection as a political tool
The official designation of protected areas in the Valencian Community (Spain) was initiated in the mid-1980s by the first government of the region through the creation of various classes of protection. The process was executed in an expeditious manner following the devolution of environmental management by the Spanish state in 1984. It was carried out in the absence of an adequate legal framework on the regional level; in the context of social mobilization in defence of the moves, as well as varying degrees of local opposition; and parallel to an extensive and expanding urbanization of the coastline. Into this context of legitimization of democratic political powers and shifting approaches to eco-system conservation was then added the concept of urgent protection, but without the sufficient resources and management tools to accomplish it. This paper presents the keys to understanding the initial processes of institutionalization of protected areas in the Valencian Community (Spain) through interviews with the holders of the principle political and managerial positions at the time.
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