Decision-making toolbox for inclusive conservation in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

Fernando Román
Publicado: 03 Junio 2021
Última edición: 03 Junio 2021
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The Sierra de Guadarrama National Park covers 33,960 ha through the Central Mountain System of the Iberian Peninsula in the Madrid and the Castilla y León regions. The National Park includes glacial cirques, unique granite rock formations, alpine lakes, grasslands, and pine forests that contain rich biodiversity. The National Park has almost 2.5 million visitors per year and is used for sports and recreation activities. It also encompasses a variety of local stakeholders engaged in diverse activities such as extensive livestock, forestry, biodiversity conservation, education and research. This solution introduces a set of tools to help protected areas managers and practitioners enhance social engagement in conservation decision-making by identifying, navigating and balancing visions, tensions, and power relations between stakeholders. The toolbox has been created in the context of the ENVISION project to support the creation of socially inclusive policies and management actions in protected areas.


Europa Occidental y del Sur
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Bosque templado caducifolio
Bosques siempreverde templado
Ecosistema urbano
Ecosistemas de agua dulce
Ecosistemas de pastizales
Ecosistemas forestales
Humedales (pantano, turberas)
Pastizales templados, sabana, matorral
Piscina, lago, estanque
Río, corriente
Tundra, pastizal montano
Actores locales
Adaptación al cambio climático
Ciencia y investigación
Ciudades e infraestructuras
Comunicación y divulgación
Conocimientos tradicionales
Especies exóticas invasoras
Especies y la extinción
Fragmentación del hábitat y degradación
Geodiversidad y geoconservación
Gestión y planificación de áreas protegidas y conservadas
Gobernanza de las áreas protegidas y conservadas
Institucionalización de la biodiversidad
Manejo de bosques
Mitigación del cambio climático
No listado
Prevención de erosión
Provisión y manejo del agua
Salud y bienestar humano
Servicios ecosistémicos
World Heritage
Other theme
Drivers of change and visions
Urban and Disaster Risk Management
Territorial and spatial development
Calor extremo
Incremento de temperatura
Degradación de tierras y bosques
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Cambio estacional
Fuegos silvestres
Usos conflictivos / impactos acumulativos
Pérdida de ecosistemas
Especies invasoras
Contaminación (incluida la eutrofización y la basura)
Cambios en el contexto socio-cultural
Falta de capacidad técnica
Falta de conciencia del público y de los responsables de la toma de decisiones
Deficiente gobernanza y participación
Conflicto social y disturbios civiles
Sustainable development goals
ODS 3 - Salud y bienestar
ODS 10- Reducción de las desigualidades
ODS 11 - Ciudades y comunidades sostenibles
ODS 12 - Producción y consumo responsables
ODS 13 - Acción por el clima
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
ODS 16 - Paz, justicia e instituciones sólidas
ODS 17 - Alianzas para lograr los objetivos
Aichi targets
Meta 1: Aumento de la sensibilization sobre la biodiversidad
Meta 2: Valores de biodiversidad integrados
Meta 4: Producción y consumo sostenibles
Meta 5: Pérdida de hábitat reducida a la mitad o reducida
Meta 7: Agricultura, acuicultura y silvicultura
Meta 11: Áreas protegidas y conservadas
Meta 14: Los servicios ecosistemicos
Meta 15: Restauración de ecosistemas y resiliencia
Meta 17: Estrategias y planes de acción para la biodiversidad
Meta 18: Conocimiento tradicional
Meta 19: Intercambio de información y conocimiento


Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, Madrid and Segovia, Spain
Show on Protected Planet


The National Park’s authorities, in their endeavor to balancing conservation goals with human well-being, need to deal with a variety of perspectives, knowledge, and values from a wide range of actors. There are state administrations with intersecting governing competences in the area and stakeholders engage in diverse and often competing activities such as outdoor sports, extensive livestock farming, forestry, conservation, education and research. In turn, many visitors are attracted by the National Park proximity (less than 100km) to Madrid's large metropolitan area (over 6.5 M inhabitants) and the mid-sized city of Segovia (around 50,000 inhabitants). These multiple and competing uses create social tensions around how the park should be governed. This scenario raises the challenge of how different visions, values, knowledge and power relations between stakeholders can be considered for conservation governance and balanced for achieving positive conservation and well-being outcomes.


Protected areas’ managers and practitioners can directly benefit from the toolbox to practice socially inclusive conservation. Stakeholders and local communities may also benefit since these tools can facilitate their participation in decision-making.

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

The building blocks include a diversity of decision-making tools that can be combined for addressing different dimensions related to inclusive conservation. This set of tools aims to: 1) gather local knowledge and values (Building block 1), 2) elucidate visions and future scenarios for park management (Building block 2), 3) address power dynamics and promoting engagement in collective action (Building block 3), and 4) strengthen the science-policy interface for socially inclusive governance (Building block 4). These tools can be used in an individual and complementary basis to support the creation of socially inclusive policies and management actions in protected areas worldwide. This set of tools can also be complemented and combined with other approaches and techniques that have been applied in other case study areas of the ENVISION project ( More information about these tools can be found in the PANORAMA solutions for Utrechtse & Krommerijn (The Netherlands), Västra Harg (Sweden), and Denali National Park and Preserve (United States).


Part of the research findings related to participation has served as practical guidance to understand participatory mechanisms and support some strategies/actions included in the participation and volunteering subprogram of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park developed by the protected area managers and decision-makers. Specifically, the set of decision-making tools detailed in the building blocks (1 - 4) were considered of interest by them based on their potential applicability within the protected area. As the subprogram has just been initiated, we do not yet have an understanding whether all of these tools will be utilized.


In addition, over 100 people have been actively engaged in our research activities. Through such activities, they have reflected and learned about different stakeholders' visions, preferences, tensions, responsibilities and power relations to move towards better social engagement in conservation decision-making.


Judit Maroto

Judit Maroto studied Forest Engineering and a Master of Science in ecosystem restoration. She has dedicated herself to environmental conservation throughout both research and management activities. She currently works at the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park management unit in the region of Castilla and León (Spain). As a staff member of the National Park, she is responsible for the day-to-day management of this protected area. Among her functions, she is in charge of the participation and volunteering subprogram of the National Park. From the beginning of the ENVISION project, she has been involved in our research activities as a member of our local knowledge alliance, has taken part in regular meetings with us, and has participated in diverse dissemination activities related to the ENVISION project (e.g. video and webinars). In addition, she has participated in: 1) semi-structured interview aimed to get a better understanding of formal and informal participatory mechanisms implemented in the National Park; 2) participatory scenario planning exercise with local stakeholders to deliberate collectively about plausible and desired futures/visions for the National Park; and, 3) workshop with decision-makers and experts on protected areas management to analyze the main challenges and opportunities of the current participatory setting within the protected area, define management strategies for facilitating social engagement in management, and assess research tools that might be useful to support more socially inclusive conservation approaches. Feedback from her and other experts on protected areas management has facilitated that our research might better respond to some of the management needs and challenges of the National Park. This facilitates research applicability into the management cycle to craft participatory mechanisms and management actions in an inclusive manner. In May 2021, she confirmed the usability of our findings to reinforce the development of the participation and volunteering subprogram of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, so these are being considered to support such subprogram. We hope that our recent science-policy collaboration can continue in the future so that research can support the creation of socially inclusive models of governance in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park and other protected areas. 

Contribuido por

Imagen de mdlopezrod_40135

María D. López Rodríguez Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) - Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)

Other contributors

Isabel Ruiz Mallén
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Elisa Oteros Rozas
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Hug March
Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Veronica Lo
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Miguel Ángel Cebrián Piqueras
University of Göttingen
Tobias Plieninger
University of Göttingen
Christopher Raymond
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Judit Maroto
Management Unit of Sierra de Guadarrama National Park