Christopher Serenari received a PhD in Forestry and Environmental Resources in Summer 2014. His research took place in Aysén, Chile, a large and remote administrative region of Chile. He explored how new Chilean legislation that opens up protected areas to commercial tourism and a proposed mass hydroelectric project will affect the Tamango National Reserve and the adjacent communities. The implications of these developments for species protection and community well being in Aysén are largely unknown at this time. Serenari’s research attempted to understand how reserve stakeholders perceive and internalize the value of the reserve in the wake of rapid development, and identify factors that will influence reserve management. Managers of the reserve are faced with reconciling the conflicting demands of visitors, policy, commercial tour operators, landowners, non-profit groups, and the species residing in and around the reserve. The case of Tamango National Reserve has relevance to Chile and other areas around the globe. As 1) neoliberal policies continue to promote protected area tourism, 2) private, public and community landholders embrace tourism as a profitable adjunct or replacement for certain livelihood activities, and 3) as domestic energy needs increase, protected area land managers and their adjacent communities will continue to seek balance between the needs of humans and species and attempt to mitigate any negative impacts.
Chris is currently a Human Dimensions Specialist at the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.