Balancing rural development and nature conservation: Lessons from Kosterhavet Marine National Park

When Kosterhavet Marine National Park (KHNP) was established in 2009, it enclosed an entire existing island community – known for over a century for its values to tourism and small-scale fishing – with the strongest nature protection designation under Swedish legislation.

KHNP's main objective is to protect the area's unique marine environment, as well as to ensure the survival of its cultural heritage.

This makes it an interesting example of an MPA in which local rural development co-exists with robust nature conservation, and it provides useful lessons about the parameters necessary to achieve sustainable use of an MPA.

The collaborative model for planning, designing and managing KHNP, involving local stakeholders in regular dialogue, helped resolve initial conflict and make the national park a force of unity, innovation and cooperation in the region.

The innovative and collaborative institutional arrangement for governing and managing the park is generally seen as a key driver for local buy-in and MPA legitimacy. While challenges and untapped opportunities remain, local stakeholders agree that the economic and social benefits of Sweden's first and only marine national park have greatly surpassed its costs.

This abstract is part of Chapter 16 of the "Marine Protected Areas: Science, Policy and Management" book published in October 2019. Access Chapter 16, authored by IEEP's Mia Pantzar, here, and Chapter 17, authored by IEEP's Daniela Russi, here.